University of Cape Town
Gammage et al 2023 Social Vulnerability Indicators_TRIATLAS.pdf (5.95 MB)

Understanding drivers of fishing pressure in South Africa's Western Cape: Development of a first set of social vulnerability indicators for comparability around the Atlantic Ocean

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posted on 2023-10-31, 14:12 authored by Louise GammageLouise Gammage, Astrid Jarre, Iris C Jarre, Catherine Ward

Social well-being and vulnerability indicators for fishing-dependent coastal communities provide an essential tool for understanding the drivers of fishing pressure together with the impacts of fishery regulations. They can aid multi-scalar decision-making at various governance levels. As a first step in developing such indicators for the southern Benguela social-ecological system, we followed the methodology developed by NOAA to formulate a second prototype set of indices for the western and southern coasts of South Africa’s Western Cape province, excluding the City of Cape Town metropolitan area. Using available South African Census data, we present six social vulnerability indices and an assessment of 110 fishing communities according to these indices. Three numerical indicators associated with Population Composition, Personal Disruption, and Poverty are employed to provide a narrow description of social vulnerability. To achieve a more comprehensive assessment of social vulnerability, pressure from gentrification is integrated, encompassing three supplementary numerical indicators pertaining to Labour market conditions, Housing characteristics, and Retiree migration. Each index was developed using principal component factor analysis on a set of relevant variables, with the corresponding index representing distance from the mean factor loading. To assess fishing engagement and reliance, we developed two qualitative indicators related to economic and social/cultural importance.

This report provides an overview of how we implemented the methodology and developed the indicators, specifying the variables used before discussing the results. Importantly, we investigate the subtleties associated with potential factors influencing fishing activities in the context of the Western Cape's biogeographical regions in the southern Benguela. Our findings reveal that the drivers of fishing vary between the west and south coasts, which can be attributed to historical differences in the fisheries in these regions. Finally, we explore nuances of the results as they relate to the communities and are relevant to further developments of the prototype, including lessons learned from its implementation, data availability, and data suitability. We further discuss implications for multi-scalar decision-making, and considerations for joining with indicators developed for natural subsystems in the context of integrated ecosystem assessments.


Tropical and South Atlantic climate-based marine ecosystem predictions for sustainable management

European Commission

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Marine and Antarctic Research Centre for Innovation and Sustainability (MARIS), Department of Biological Sciences; University of Cape Town