Mismanagement affects communities on multiple levels and can create a negative feedback loop, sending the health of communities into a downward spiral:
Environmental Stability – The negative environmental effects are local and regional. The most common risks include:
- Overfishing – Depletion of fish populations to a point where they can no longer regenerate.
- Damage to ecosystems – Fishing practices that damage ecosystems, such as blast fishing, can cause irreparable damage.
- Downstream affects – depletion of fish stocks and/or ecosystem damage also impacts other species such as coral, birds, and sea mammals that rely on those resources.
Depletion of natural resources takes the food and income source away from local communities which can lead to both economic and social turbulence.
Economic Stability – Declining fish populations brings hard times for a community that relies on their catch for food and income. In an effort to meet their needs, fishermen may resort to more aggressive fishing techniques which in turn results in less fish and the need for even more aggressive fishing. Declining fishery production can also negatively impact land-based resources – leading to higher rates of deforestation – as community members look elsewhere for sources of food and income.
An inability to rely on the primary resource your family depends on for food and income causes considerable stress within the community.
Social Stability – The pressures to make ends meet in a struggling economy translates into more crime and a lower quality of life.
Many small-scale fisheries are already suffering from social and environmental issues that are symptoms of mismanagement.