The influence of economic factors in the change of fishing strategies of anchored FAD fishers in the face of declining catch, General Santos City, Philippines

Macusi, Edison D.; Katikiro, Robert E.; Babaran, Ricardo P.


Decline in tuna fish stocks due to weak enforcement of regulations on fishing effort poses a challenge to the sustainability of tuna fishery. Intervention programs to address this problem require an understanding of the operational behaviour of the fishers and how various socioeconomic factors may impact fishers decisions to continue or discontinue their fishing efforts. A semi-structured interview questionnaire was developed to find whether fishers are willing to keep, change their fishing strategies or exit the fishery if their regular catch will decline by half. Boat captains, assistant boat captains and crew from General Santos City, Lupon, Mati City and Governor Generoso in the Philippines (n=293) were purposively selected for interviews. Results show that fishers from General Santos City with ancillary industries and Lupon with fewer economic development are more willing to adapt or change their fishing strategies. The catch value or price was found to have a strong influence on the likelihood that anchored FAD tuna fishers will adapt or change their fishing strategy when their catches decline. Fishers whose catch fetched a price of PhP 151.00 (US$ 3.48) and above Php 200 (US$ 4.61) have 80% probability to change their fishing strategy. The proportion of catch sold also had a high influence on the decisions to adapt in the fishery with fishers selling 36% and 73% of their catches have 100% and 70% probability to adapt. The results suggest a reluctance to exit the fisheries even when tuna fishing is no longer economically viable, fishers opt to adapt.