The portfolio effect in a small-scale fishery reduces catch and fishing income variability in a highly dynamic ecosystem

PLoS One. 2022 Aug 5;17(8):e0271172. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271172. eCollection 2022.

ABSTRACT

It is an increasingly accepted idea that biological diversity stabilizes ecosystem processes and the services they provide to society. By reducing biomass fluctuation, biodiversity could mitigate the impact of changing environmental conditions on rural incomes as long as people exploits a diverse set of natural assets. This effect is analogous to the risk-spreading function of financial portfolios. This paper presents evidence of the portfolio effect for an open-access artisanal fishery in an estuarine ecosystem, located in a Colombian Biosphere Reserve. Using catch statistics from 2002 to 2018, we evaluate the contribution of catch diversity to the stabilization of fishing income. We find that changes in catch composition are related to seasonal and interannual variations in salinity conditions. The portfolio effect arises from asynchronous fluctuations of fish species due to fluctuating environmental conditions. Catch diversification, instead of specialization, help achieve resilient fisheries.

PMID:35930546 | PMC:PMC9355173 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0271172

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