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Two Essays on Livelihood Susceptibility and the Economics of Inland Fisheries

Grantham, Ruby Weate (2015) Two Essays on Livelihood Susceptibility and the Economics of Inland Fisheries. MSc by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This dissertation comprises two parts, they are linked in their recognition that fisheries, as an ecosystem service of inland surface waters, are poorly understood and undervalued. The first chapter explores how the distribution of livelihood strategies and assets may determine household sensitivity and adaptive capacity to hydrological change in the Lower Mekong Basin. Using an index-based approach relative susceptibility scores were calculated for 2,703 households living within close proximity of the Mekong River. The findings suggest that policies aimed at reducing vulnerability to hydrological change in the Lower Mekong Basin should account for geographic context. Further, the study highlights how policies may be able to strategically target the most susceptible households but that poorly designed policies have the potential to exacerbate vulnerability. In the face of high uncertainty surrounding hydrological change in the Lower Mekong Basin, our assessment of susceptibility should help inform precautionary water management policies and provide baseline information needed for more comprehensive vulnerability assessments in the future. The second chapter of this dissertation presents a structured review of inland fisheries economic research. Bibliographic databases were searched for suitable peer-reviewed articles. The selected studies (n=75) were analysed for coverage, valuation methodologies, and value metrics. The findings provide an overview of trends in study design and current understanding of inland fisheries economics and highlights knowledge gaps and methodological shortcomings. The study highlights the need for a greater quantity of inland capture fisheries economic research that covers a representative sample of ecosystems and fishery types globally. Best practice recommendations are made. These aim to ensure future inland capture fisheries research generates economically credible and comparable values. Economic valuation can inform the sustainable management of inland capture fisheries and ensure they are recognised in trade-off analysis and decision-making. Both studies provide valuable contributions to inland fisheries research. The extensive data coverage of the first study is unprecedented for the assessment of household vulnerability to hydrological change in the Mekong Basin. As far as I am aware, the second study is the first review of inland fisheries literature that explicitly focused on an overview of economics research. This dissertation has highlighted that the management of inland fisheries has environmental, economic and social implications, and that for these to be accounted for in decision-making processes fisheries must be economically valued to capture the value of the fishery as fully as possible, i.e. to include use and non-use values of all beneficiaries. This presents a vast challenge. Ultimately, unless future research strategically addresses the economic research shortcomings identified in this dissertation, inland fisheries will continue to be overlooked in decision-making and their sustainable management will be crippled by our lack of understanding.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > Environment (York)
Depositing User: Miss Ruby Weate Grantham
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2016 15:49
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2016 15:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11729

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