Using a modified Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) framework, this paper assesses progress towards sustainability over time with a case study of the demersal trawl fishery of Oman, which has been transformed and turned into the coastal fishery after the trawl ban. A multi-criteria decision analysis method is used for ranking the years and deciding on the best performing year under five alternative scenarios related to the core components involving humans and the environment. Under the environment component, the year 2001 stood out as the best across all scenarios. The combined results also echoed the same in four out of five scenarios. With reference to progress towards sustainability during the study period, no clear positive year-to-year trend was observed from the overall results. The analysis of the S2 scenario revealed that the closed fishing season during 1998–2001 yielded a positive spill-over effect on the local economy. The results from a comparative analysis indicated that the strengths (weaknesses) of the year 2001 were predominantly associated with the environment (human) component, and thereby, reflecting a comparatively higher conservation outcome in the year 2001. The findings from the comparative analysis would guide fishery managers in designing appropriate strategies for improving weaknesses of the preferred option and reducing the inter-scenario risk by combining positive features of the second-best option. The framework outlined in the present paper can be used to guide the sustainability assessment of other local fisheries (for instance, the lobster, abalone, and shrimp fisheries) including the recently developed coastal fishery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas