• The drivers and dynamics of fisher behaviour in Irish fisheries

      Davie, S. (Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, 2013)
      It is widely acknowledged within the scientific community that a single species approach to European mixed fisheries can result in species-specific advice inconsistent with multi-species management objectives. Within the reformed Common Fisheries Policy a move toward mixed fisheries and ecosystem based management is encouraged. The overall objective of this research was to improve understanding of the complex targeting behaviour undertaken by commercial fishers. Whereby, improved understanding will enhance the ability to predict the responses to future mixed fisheries management measures and changing economic conditions within the Irish fishing industry. Irish métiers (groups of homogeneous fishing trips) highlight the complexity of fishing activities within the Irish fleet, having identified 33 otter trawl métiers and 19 in the remainder of the fleet. Métier dynamics identified over compensation to introduced management, resulting in effort displacement and increased temporal specific fishing pressure. Therefore were deemed as appropriate base units for all subsequent analyses. Two economic variables, operational fishing cost and trip landings value, considered to represent important drivers were developed. This lead to application of a general additive model to estimate and predict fuel consumption estimates according to fleet segment definitions. A linear mixed effects model with random vessel effect was developed as a method of standardising value generating an index of value per unit effort. This identified kilowatt fishing days as the most appropriate effort measure. The final investigation stage successfully amalgamated the knowledge gained into the formulation of novel Markov transition probability for a multinomial model to predict fisher métier strategy choice. This is to be incorporated into management strategy evaluation, aiding the assessment and possible impacts of future management proposals on the Irish fleet and commercial stocks around Ireland. Developments presented will benefit the progression toward optimising sustainability within a mixed fisheries approach to management through incorporation of economic considerations.