Graying of the fleet: Perceived impacts on coastal resilience and local policy

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  • Commercial fishing is deeply embedded in the economy and culture of many communities on the Oregon coast. Recent economic, environmental, and regulatory changes impacting fisheries have exacerbated the need to investigate the relationship between the commercial fishing industry and their host communities. The objective of this study is to examine the impact of the ‘graying of the fleet’ phenomenon (e.g., the increase in the average age of commercial fishermen) on community resilience in two coastal communities in Oregon. Utilizing qualitative research methods, the occurrence of the graying of the fleet in Oregon, factors contributing to this phenomenon, and implications for fishing community resilience are examined. Data consisted of interviews with commercial fishermen (n = 48) and community leaders (n = 17). Findings indicate graying is perceived as occurring by members of the fishing industry, but is not a concern for community leaders. Members of the fishing community and local community leaders agree that regulatory changes and shifting societal norms have resulted in notable impacts to commercial fishing fleets and their host communities. Participants identified the important cultural role of the commercial fishing industry to community identity and sense of place, and expressed concerns that changes in tightening fisheries management could detract from this culture. Implications of the relationship between perceptions of graying of the fleet, fisheries policy and community resilience are discussed.
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  • 96
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