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What strategic choices do fishermen make?

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- 104 - What strategic choices do fishermen make? Verkempynck Ruben 1,2,3 , Koen Mondelaers 1 , Hans Polet 3 and Ludwig Lauwers 1,3 1 Social Sciences Unit, Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115/2, 9280 Merelbeke, Belgium E-mail: [email protected] 2 Fisheries and Aquatic Production, Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Ankerstraat 1, 8400 Ostend, Belgium 3 Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium Fishermen make crucial choices each time they put out to sea. What fish do I want to catch, where will I find fish, how will I catch this fish, or, am I even allowed to fish? It is obvious that fishermen rely on a number of criteria that they perceive from their environment, personal experience and ambition when making their choices. In this paper we define and identify métiers (ICES, 2003; Davie & Lordan, 2011) in the Belgian fisheries fleet and consider them as the strategic choices a fisherman can make. Every fisherman has a limited set of métiers from which he will choose the most favourable one at that time. The technical characteristics of the fisherman’s vessel and the personal experience of the fishermen determine this set of métiers. We see that fishermen with similar vessels still often have a different set of métiers. Disregarding personal experience this means that these differences in the set are métiers that fishermen with similar vessels potentially could conduct. Policy-makers, the market and the fisheries sector, itself propose and design various measures to make the Belgian fisheries fleet more sustainable. Every fisherman can choose his next métier from a limited set of métiers based on certain conditions and criteria. These conditions and criteria are directly or indirectly determined by the market and policy-makers. It is clear that the over

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