Human Ecology

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 515–526 | Cite as

Different but Similar? Exploring Vulnerability to Climate Change in Brazilian and South African Small-Scale Fishing Communities

  • Ivan Machado MartinsEmail author
  • Louise Carin Gammage
  • Astrid Jarre
  • Maria A. Gasalla


Small-scale fisheries face similar challenges and constraints, including marginalization, spatial competition, unequal power relations, limited participation in decision-making processes, and climate stressors. We compare the vulnerability of small-scale fishing communities under pressure from climate change in the southern Cape in South Africa and the South Brazil Bight in Brazil using a standardized vulnerability framework to identify the differences and/or similarities between the fishing communities in both countries. In Brazil, high dependence on fishing and attachment to place increased the vulnerability of the fishers; in contrast, in South Africa strong dependence on markets to buy food threatened food security of the fishers. These findings provide noteworthy insights into the regional vulnerability of fishing communities in both countries; additionally, the results support the development of local climate change mitigation plans and provide examples for similar communities that are likely to experience climate stressors in other regional locations.


Small-scale Fisheries Climate change Vulnerability Management Southern cape, South Africa, South Brazil bight, Brazil 



We thank CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) for the scholarship for the first author (IMM) and FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) for the research grant to MAG and IMM. The support of the South African Research Chair in Marine Ecology and Fisheries, funded by the South African Department of Science and Technology and administered by the South African National Research Foundation, to LCG and AJ is gratefully acknowledged. All authors thank the GULLS project (Belmont Forum research initiative) for the opportunity to interact, and for collating part of the data underlying this study. We express our sincere gratitude to all fishers who kindly collaborated with the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10745_2019_98_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivan Machado Martins
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Louise Carin Gammage
    • 3
  • Astrid Jarre
    • 3
  • Maria A. Gasalla
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Fisheries Ecosystems Laboratory (LabPesq), Oceanographic InstituteUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Faculdade São LucasCaçapavaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Cape Town Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Institute of Advanced Studies (IEA)University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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