RCUK-SEA: Using Nexus Thinking to Empower Community-Based Management of Mangrove Fisheries

Lead Research Organisation: Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Department Name: Plymouth Marine Lab

Abstract

Malaysia formally recognises the national and international value of its mangrove resources and has awarded them extensive protection. Nevertheless, the total area of mangroves continues to decline and mangroves are threatened by environmental degradation as natural resources are traded-off against population growth and economic development. The solution to mangrove degradation no longer lies in resource protection, but in fostering understanding that mangroves are embedded within a context of complex interactions of multiple uses involving stakeholders with different interests, i.e. the mangrove nexus.

Mangroves support highly productive fisheries, but mangrove destruction has severely affected the livelihoods of fishermen who are known to be among the most economically disadvantaged in Malaysia and many other developing countries. While efforts are made at many scales by different stakeholders against mangrove fishery loss, there has been a tendency for them to work in isolation with little communication between them. Opportunities for mangrove dependent fishing communities to engage in the management of the resource on which they depend have been limited.

Through an application of nexus thinking, this project will improve understanding of the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between the mangroves, their associated fishery and their users, in the context of human and environmental change. The Klang Islands mangrove forest will be used as a case study. This forest (ca. 15,000ha) forms part of a larger tract of mangrove forest stretching over 100km along the coast of the state of Selangor. The coastline maintains some of the most productive cockle and coastal fisheries in Malaysia. To support the continued and sustainable use of the Klang Islands fishery and the communities dependent upon them, this project has three aims: 1) to progress the application of nexus thinking to the sustainable management of Klang Island fishery resources; 2) to set the foundations for community-based fishery management in the Klang Islands mangrove system, 3) develop a programme of environmental education emphasising the importance of mangroves.

Working with three project partners (Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association, Department of Fisheries, Selangor and Wetlands International) these aims will be achieved through a series of stakeholder workshops, supported by student projects and effective knowledge exchange. The project will initiate communication between stakeholders (fishermen, government, industry and NGOs) and begin a process of empowerment that will encourage fisheries dependent communities to directly participate in fishery resource management. This will directly support the mission "Creating a developed, independent and progressive fishermen community" outlined by the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia. It will also contribute to strengthening the participation of stakeholders and cooperation between planning and implementation agencies, one of four objectives identified for the implementation of coastal zone management since the Ninth Malaysia Plan. To ensure that this project legacy can be capitalised upon, the structure and mechanisms for ongoing community engagement projects will be established (e.g. appointment of appropriate local community heads, creation of lines of communication between local fishermen associations and local government, identification of roles for project partners).

Planned Impact

This project aims to initiate long-term change within the Klang Islands mangrove fishery resource management in support of "Creating a developed, independent and progressive fishermen community" as outlined by the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia. To achieve this, the project will improve understanding of the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between the different uses and users of the mangroves and the associated fishery resources. In the medium-term, it will foster inclusive decision-making, build trust between the resource users and managers, and empower local fisher folk to participate in mangrove fishery resource management. In so doing, the project will evaluate opportunities for long-term livelihood diversification, seek to build resilience to future shocks and hazards, identify solutions that will increase food provision and the resilience of the economic activities in mangrove areas, and initiate a programme of environmental education that aims to increase the value perceived by society for mangrove-based fisheries products.

The Klang Islands fishers and their associated communities will be the main beneficiaries from this project. It is anticipated that other beneficiaries will include: state governmental departments of Selangor (Fisheries and Forestry), environmental NGOs (e.g. Wetlands International), local businesses (e.g. port authorities, tourism representatives), representatives of local fisheries associations (e.g. Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association) and other users of the mangrove (e.g. aquaculture and agriculture).

All stakeholders will benefit from clear, independent scientific information that will improve their understanding of the mangrove fishery nexus; how this may change as a result of projected climate change, future urbanisation and industrial growth; and the trade-offs between different uses and possible actions aimed at ensuring sustainable exploitation. Stakeholder interactions will initiate the co-design of community-based management for the Klang Islands mangrove fishery. Early participation of stakeholders in the design and development of project activities (workshops and student projects) should facilitate stakeholder ownership, co-design of outputs and ensure that generating impact is an integral component of the research programme.

Key outputs from the project will include: 1) Diagrammatic representation of the mangrove nexus including information on mangrove use, users, values and drivers of change; 2) Non-technical summaries of workshop and student project outputs, including guidance for community empowerment in fisheries management and identification of key knowledge gaps; 3) Facilitated dialogue between different stakeholder groups and open channels for future communication; 4) Established structure and mechanisms for on-going community engagement projects (e.g. appointment of appropriate local community heads, lines of communication between local fishermen associations and local government, identification of roles for project partners); 5) Education and dissemination materials; 6) Science engagement day at local school and 7) Access by stakeholders to academic advisors.

Physical project outputs will be made widely available (and translated as necessary) digitally and as hard copy. A project website will summarise the project aims, activities and progress, and provide a hub through which reports can be accessed. Regular updates to the webpage and through social media will be used to maintain interest. Links will be made to partner websites to extend the outreach of these communication materials. On inception, a short press release will be issued outlining the project and its activities, with further press releases throughout the project. In addition, a programme of popular articles in local newspapers as well as interviews with local radio and TV stations will be pursued in Malaysia. Similar opportunities will be sought in the UK

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title NetComFish film 
Description A four minute film has been created by the NetComFish team to highlight the importance of the mangroves in the Klang Islands, the threats that they face and how local communities and businesses can be part of the solution for mangroves in the area. The general public are the target audience for this film. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact We have only just completed the film and have yet to start sharing it widely. We will use it in our follow-on project NexAMS as an engagement tool. 
 
Description This project has now been completed. Key findings indicate that fisheries yields have been decreasing around the Klang islands, in part due to loss of mangrove habitat. We have also found that dependence upon fisheries by members of local communities is decreasing and many do not see a future in the sector. Mangroves still play an important role for communities, contributing to their well-being through a multitude of ways ranging from meeting basic needs to playing a role in cultural practices of communities on the Klang Islands. The contribution to well-being, however, varies according to community ethnicity and level of dependence upon the mangrove.

All stakeholders are interested in protecting the mangroves and, through workshops and focus groups, envisioned a future where mangroves were maintained and restored in some areas, although there was a general acceptance that mangroves would be lost to retail and residential development. In some cases, alternatives to fisheries livelihoods were being examined e.g. through eco-tourism activities.

While we originally anticipated that community-based management could be an option for future mangrove management, community members that we engaged with did not show a desire to lead local mangrove management. This led us to explore alternative models of collaborative management, potentially led by local or state government, with participation by local communities but also businesses, given their potential to significantly affect the extent and condition of mangroves on the islands.

In addition to the research component of this project, the NetComFish team has also engaged with schools on the Klang Islands, taking students through a range of activities to help increase their understanding of the importance of mangroves. We also developed a mangrove activity book for students and a mural was painted at school to remind students of the importance of mangroves. To coincide with World Mangrove Day, we also held a one day mangrove festival on one of the Klang Islands, and provided transport to enable participants to join from other islands. The day included awareness raising activities (e.g. demonstrations of cooking with mangrove products, a mangrove model wave tank), mangrove related competitions (drawing, model making, photography, poetry) and discussions. A video has also been produced to highlight the importance of mangroves, the threats that they face and what local people and businesses can do to create a future with mangroves.

To encourage change at a policy level, a policy brief has been developed and shared with stakeholders to gather feedback. A number of stakeholders have been extremely supportive of this effort and will work with the NetComFish team in their follow-on project (NexAMS) to ensure that the brief reaches the hands of decision-makers who can act upon the information that it contains.
Exploitation Route We have a commitment by various stakeholders who have engaged with NetComFish to take forward the policy brief and use it to raise awareness and potentially create policy change relating to mangroves at the State level. All awareness raising materials (e.g. policy brief, posters, school activity book, video) will be shared with stakeholders who have participated in NetComFish workshops and will be available for download on the NetComFish website and other selected locations.
Sectors Construction,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://netcomfish.wixsite.com/netcomfish
 
Description The stakeholders that we have engaged through workshops have been keen to be involved and showed considerable enthusiasm for trying to bring about policy change relating to mangroves in the state of Selangor (in which the Klang Islands are located). To enable us to capitalise on this momentum, the NetComFish team has successfully submitted a proposal for follow-on funding, with the ideas within the proposal co-developed with key stakeholders. Discussions have also been stimulated between the NetCoFish team and one of the property developers in the Klang Islands. They have since commissioned the NetComFish team to produce a book to highlight the flora and fauna of the Klang Islands mangroves.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description NC-ODA ACCORD uplift (GCRF under-spend)
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 08/2019
 
Description Nexus Action for Mangroves in Selangor, Malaysia: protection through value creation for community-public-private partnerships (NexAMS)
Amount £149,391 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 09/2021
 
Description NetComFish 
Organisation University of Malaya
Country Malaysia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The PML team has supported the preparation of workshops with stakeholders and coastal communities in Malaysia, the design of two MSc student projects and the supervision of these two students. They have also: - delivered training and capacity building activities with the UM team - led the analysis of workshop and focus group outputs - contributed to the design of the mangrove festival, development of the NetComFish video and policy brief - led the development of the first project paper submitted for publication and the successful submission of the proposal for follow-on funds from the Newton Fund Impact Scheme - secured additional funding from the ACCORD project (with input from the UM team) for a project exploring potential mangrove replanting sites in the Klang Islands
Collaborator Contribution The University of Malaya team has been responsible for the design, organisation and facilitation of stakeholder and community workshops and focus groups as well as the mangrove festival. They host the two MSc students and are responsible for their day to day supervision. The UM team has also: - been responsible for communicating with local policy-makers and relevant research networks about the project and have engaged with the Malaysia media to promote the project's activities. - participated in training and capacity building activities, the analysis of workshop and focus group outputs - contributed to the development of the NetComFish video and policy brief. - contributed to the development of the first project paper submitted for publication and the proposal submitted to the Newton Fund Impact Scheme (especially in terms of ensuring support from key stakeholders). - been responsible for the development and delivery of a school education programme focusing on mangroves and they have actively promoted the project at academic events held in the SE Asia region. - secured funding from a local developer through their CSR programme to develop a book on the flora and fauna of the Klang Islands.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary team involving natural science (biology and ecosystem services sciences) and social science, planning and governance. Outputs include five stakeholder workshops and focus groups in coastal communities in the Klang Islands, Malaysia, a newsletter article, as series of scoping interviews with stakeholders and community members, engagement with the Penang Inshore Fishermen's Welfare Association (PIFWA) and interest by a local development company in supporting the project via its CSR fund. In addition the project has produced: - a policy brief encouraging more effective management of mangroves and recommendations for how this can be achieved - education materials aimed at primary school children - a project video about the importance of mangroves aimed at the public - a project website, detailing the activities undertaken by the project One of the key outcomes of the projects is increased stakeholder interest and participation in the project, evidenced by the support given to the successful proposal submitted to the Newton Fund Impact Scheme for follow-on funds.
Start Year 2017
 
Description 24th Biological Sciences Graduate Congress 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation was made on the interdependencies between mangroves and fisheries production in the Klang Islands, Malaysia, based on findings from the NetComFish project. The event was attended by academics and postgraduate students from across Malaysia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Asia Research News article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact An article introducing the project and the outcomes of the first workshop was published on the Asia Research News website
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://researchsea.com/html/article.php/aid/11321/cid/3/research//university_of_malaya/nexus_thinki...
 
Description Fifth NetComFish worksop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The final NetComFIsh workshop was convened to showcase NetComFish research findings regarding collaborative mangrove management in Klang Islands to local stakeholders; collect feedback and comments on the draft policy brief and identify routes for disemination; and discuss opportunities for collaborative management of the Klang Islands mangroves including all relevant bodies. 16 stakeholders from local and state government and NGOs. Extremely useful feedback was offered on the policy brief as well as on the process for ensuring the policy brief reaches the correct stakeholders. There was considerable enthusiasm to take this work forward and many participants subsequently wrote letters of support for our applications for follow-on funding for this work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description First NetComFish workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact We organised a workshop with stakeholders who have an in interest in the mangroves and/or their associated fishery in the Klang Islands. The purpose was to understand the inter-relationship between the different uses and pressures on the mangroves and to identify additional stakeholders with whom the project should interact. The workshop has been used to shape later activities in the project and to engage with a wider set of stakeholders including industry and businesses as well as local coastal communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://netcomfish.wixsite.com/netcomfish
 
Description Fourth NetComFIsh workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This workshop was convened to present the key findings from earlier workshops, focus groups and interviews and by other key experts to illustrate the importance of mangroves; the impact of mangrove loss, and how mangroves are included in people's visions for the future. It also aimed to identify barriers to engagement in mangrove related activity and management and gather feedback on potential policy/management options identified by the NetComFish team. The workshop was attended by 24 participants from local and state government, NGOs, fishers committees and community representatives. The workshop led to the creation of a draft policy brief and increased interest in the NetComFish project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description IMCC presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation entitled "Multi-stakeholder participation in planning for mangrove for the future in Klang Islands" was given at the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress at Kuching, Sarawak (24-29 June 2018). Discussion was held subsequently on mangroves and urban coastal development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Kosmo! newspaper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Following our mangrove festival in July 2019, the event was featured in the Kosmo!, a Malay language daily newspaper, on the 14th August in an article entitled "Tanggungjawab memelihara 'hutan di antara laut dan darat" (The responsibility of maintaining the 'forest between sea and land').

It was featured at this URL: http://https:www.kosmo.com.my/k2/infiniti/tanggungjawab-memelihara-hutan-di-antara-laut-dan-darat-1.954034, but Kosmo! was closed in October 2019 and the URL is no longer active.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Lightning talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Lightning talk (3 minutes) entitled "Do Mangroves really matter to local coastal communities? A Stakeholder perspective from the Klang Islands, Malaysia" covering the key findings of NetComFish at the Third International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat at Kuala Lumpur (12-14 Nov 2018). This led to discussion about the role of mangroves in urban development and engagement of communities in mangrove restoration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Mangrove, Macrobenthos and Management 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A poster presentation was given at the Mangrove, Macrobenthos and Management conference (1-5 July, 2019) at Joyden Hall, Singapore, highlighting the key findings from the NetComFish project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Oriental Daily newspaper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Following our mangrove festival in July 2019, the event was features in the Oriental Daily, an Chinese language daily newspaper in Malaysia under the title: Guardian that guard coastal area on the 21st September. The article helped to raise awareness about the importance of mangroves.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.orientaldaily.com.my/news/education/2019/09/21/307216
 
Description Pulau Indah Mangrove Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact To raise awareness about mangroves in the Klang Islands, share findings from the NetComFish project and support World Mangrove Day, a mangrove festival was held on Pulau Indah, Klang Islands, Malaysia. Approximately 400 people attended the day where they took part in mangrove related activities including drawing, photography, poetry and cooking competitions; discussions about mangroves and fisheries; cooking with mangrove products demonstrations; and mangrove awareness raising activities. This event was officiated by the Department of Forestry who subsequently have supported a successful proposal for follow-on funding for this project. Other participants at this festival also supported our proposal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://netcomfish.wixsite.com/netcomfish
 
Description School engagement programme: mangrove awareness raising 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The University of Malaya NetCOmFish team engaged with three schools in the Klang Islands (SK Sungai Judah, Pulau Carey, SK Pulau Indah, SJK [C] Hwa Lien, Pulau Ketam) to raise awareness among pupils and staff about the importance of mangroves. Approximately 100 students were engaged in each school. An activity book was created and given to each pupil, this was accompanied by practical activities and creative activities. A mural was painted at each school to remind students of the day and how important mangroves are to their local communities. Participants reported increased knowledge about mangroves following the activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Second NetComFish workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A second workshop with stakeholders relevant to the Klang Islands mangroves and associate fishery was conducted to examine stakeholders' and coastal community members' aspirations for the future of the mangroves. The outcomes will be used to fine-tune future stakeholder engagement and direct the remainder of the project activities. One outcome is that one of the development companies involved with the removal of the mangroves on one of the Klang Islands has invited the project team to work with them to see how mangroves can be integrated within their future development activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Society and the Sea Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Three presentations given on the preliminary findings of NetComFish, focusing on the Klang Islands, Malaysia and covering (1) the links between mangroves and fisheries; (2) links between mangrove ecosystem services and well-being, and (3) on visions for the future of mangroves by communities and stakeholders. Discussion had on empowerment and engagement of communities in mangrove restoration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description The Star News 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Following our mangrove festival in July 2019 and a presentation and interview with NetComFish UM co-I Amy Then, a write-up appeared in The Star News, an English language daily newspaper in Malaysia under the title "Finding right avenue to save mangroves". The article helped to raise awareness of the importance of mangroves.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2019/09/25/finding-right-avenue-to-save-mangroves
 
Description Third NetComFish workshop: Research training 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact As part of the NetComFish project, training was offered to two Blue Communities partners from the University of Malaya, together with another researcher and two postgraduate students from the University of Malaya during a visit to PML in July 2018 (all members of the NetComFish team). Training covered effective questionnaire development, qualitative data analysis using Nvivo and an introduction to multicriteria analysis. The skills developed will be used in future NetComFish and Blue Communities activities as well as in other research projets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018