Moniz, António and Kovács, Ilona and Vicente, Duarte and Ramos, Ana R. (2000): Fisheries Development and Fisheries Dependent Communities in Portugal: Socio-Economic Change and Strategic Planning. Published in: David Symes (ed.): Fisheries Dependent Regions, London, Fishing News Books (February 2000): pp. 143-153.
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The socio-economic subsystem encompassing fisheries may be defined as including not only the harvesting sector but also several related activities occurring both upstream (shipbuilding, gear manufacture) and downstream (processing, distribution and trade). But these closely interrelated economic activities can also be set within a much broader system which would include the ecological, institutional and political influences which frame economic behaviour. The value of this broader conceptualisation is that it treats fisheries not as an isolated and independent economic activity but as part of a more holistic and complex system. This broader perspective is of particular significance when attempting to examine the concept of regional dependence. The socio-economic subsystem for fisheries is dominated by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). And Peniche emerges as one of Portugal’s most important fishing ports whether measured in terms of the volume of landings or the total numbers of fishermen. It also has one of the highest levels of fisheries dependence of all coastal municipalities in Portugal with over 20% of its workforce currently engaged in fisheries related employment, faces a daunting and uncertain future. The social fabric of fisheries dependent communities also suffers serious damage; once again, the technocratic approach to management has no solutions to offer. It is essential, therefore, to turn away from the existing approach and to develop instead new forms of intervention; in short, to provide a new vision. This implies change not only to the policy process but also in the attitudes of the social actors and in the preoccupations of fisheries related research. An integrated approach is required based on participative action and the development of an integrated information network.