From reef to table: Social and ecological factors affecting coral reef fisheries, artisanal seafood supply chains, and seafood security

John N. Kittinger, Lida T. Teneva, Haruko Koike, Kostantinos A. Stamoulis, Daniela S. Kittinger, Kirsten L.L. Oleson, Eric Conklin, Mahana Gomes, Bart Wilcox, Alan M. Friedlander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Ocean and coastal ecosystems provide critical fisheries, coastal protection, and cultural benefits to communities worldwide, but these services are diminishing due to local and global threats. In response, place-based strategies involve communities and resource users in management have proliferated. Here, we present a transferable community-based approach to assess the social and ecological factors affecting resource sustainability and food security in a small-scale, coral reef fishery. Our results show that this small-scale fishery provides large-scale benefits to communities, including 7,353 ± 1547 kg yr-1 (mean ± SE) of seafood per year, equating to >30,000 meals with an economic value of $78,432. The vast majority of the catch is used for subsistence, contributing to community food security: 58% is kept, 33.5% is given away, and 8.5% is sold. Our spatial analysis assesses the geographic distribution of community beneficiaries from the fishery (the "food shed" for the fishery), and we document that 20% of seafood procured from the fishery is used for sociocultural events that are important for social cohesion. This approach provides a method for assessing social, economic, and cultural values provided by small-scale food systems, as well as important contributions to food security, with significant implications for conservation and management. This interdisciplinary effort aims to demonstrate a transferable participatory research approach useful for resource-dependent communities as they cope with socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0123856
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 5 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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