Gnansounou, S.C.; Abdul-Kareem, R.; Castro Gbedomon, R.; Valère Salako, K.; Apollinaire Mensah, G., and Glèlè Kakaï, R., 2022. Impact of Covid-19 on coastal fishing and stakeholders' response strategies in Benin, West Africa. Journal of Coastal Research, 38(2), 279–288. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

Coastal fishing is of immense importance in Benin in terms of livelihoods and seafood provision. Yet it is a vulnerable sector that can quickly become unstable, particularly in the presence of external shocks. This study focused on the impact of Covid-19 outbreak on coastal fishing in two coastal communities in Benin and examined the effectiveness of the response strategies put in place by stakeholders. Data were collected following the exploratory sequential mixed method. The approach included in-depth interviews (n = 16) and quantitative surveys (n = 200). The weekly frequencies of fish collection before and during the pandemic were collected and analysed as count data using a Generalized Linear Model with Poisson error distribution. Information on stakeholders' responses and their alternative livelihoods were also collected and analysed using simple likelihood of probability. Findings showed a large disruption of fish collection due to the pandemic, with less educated fisherfolks and those with underlying health conditions more affected (p = 0.030 and p < 0.001, respectively). More than half (60%) of the surveyed fisherfolks declared that they do not have any alternative livelihoods to sustain their lives in the wake of the pandemic, whereas 15% were engaged in Cyperus articulatus collection, 12% in commercial motorbike riding, 8% in fuel-wood collection, and 5% in agriculture-related activities. Furthermore, 88% of the respondents indicated that they received no help from any stakeholder, whereas 12% agreed that they received face masks. This study provides baseline information to trigger research and field actions to strengthen the fishery industry in Benin in order to withstand disasters like Covid-19. It also makes some suggestions to be considered for small-scale fishery sustainability following the current and future pandemics.

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