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Edited by Jon C. Lovett and David G. Ockwell
Chapter 8: The Price of Fish and the Value of Seagrass Beds: Socioeconomic Aspects of the Seagrass Fishery on Quirimba Island, Mozambique
8. The price of fish and the value of seagrass beds: socioeconomic aspects of the seagrass fishery on Quirimba Island, Mozambique1 Fiona R. Gell Introduction Marine resource use is an important component of the local economy in many tropical coastal areas. The importance of marine resources to a community depends on the geographic and economic situation of the area: the level of development, the role of tourism and the availability of alternative sources of income (Ruddle, 1996a). In areas near international airports and large cities, marine resources can be exported to an international market or sold to tourists and can fetch high prices. In more isolated places without a developed transport infrastructure, marine resources may only be used on a subsistence level in the immediate local area and thus have a much lower economic value (White et al., 1994; Lindén and Lundin, 1996; Birkeland, 1997). However, in such isolated places the local value of marine resources is high because they are often the most important source of income and animal protein. To manage marine resources it is important to assess the ecological status of the habitats and organisms that are being exploited. It is also important to assess how local people use marine resources and their role in the local economy. As the socioeconomic structures of coastal communities develop and change, the intensity with which marine resources are exploited also changes. In the past this generally happened on a local or perhaps national level. However, at the beginning of...
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