Marine fisheries in Costa Rica have become characterized by overexploitation, ineffective centralized management and increased conflict among fishing sectors. Despite high economic and socio-cultural importance of small-scale fisheries, no formal mechanisms existed until recently to facilitate the participation of fishers in management. Marine Areas for Responsible Fishing (Áreas Marinas para la Pesca Responsable, AMPR) were legally recognized in 2009 as a co-management approach, enabling the designation of spatial management areas to be implemented collaboratively by artisanal fishers and government agencies. In this paper, we examine property and access relations shaping this emerging participatory management model using case studies primarily from the Gulf of Nicoya region. The policy demonstrably improves upon some aspects of management, for instance, by allowing artisanal fishers to determine gear restrictions within designated areas. However, the model lacks other attributes of more successful co-management scenarios, particularly exclusive access. The fugitive nature of resources further complicates property relations over these fisheries. The cases explored also illustrate broader institutional and systemic issues that preclude effective participatory management. Lessons from the region are used to propose significant shifts to the management of small-scale fisheries in Costa Rica.
Community-based and Participatory Management
Globally, marine protected areas (MPAs) have been relatively unsuccessful in meeting biodiversity objectives. In order to be effective, they require some alteration of people's use and access to marine resources, which they will resist if they do not perceive associated benefits. Stakeholder support is crucial to ecological success of MPAs, and support is likely to depend on their capacity to adapt to and benefit from MPAs. We examined the influence of social adaptive capacity (SAC) on perceived benefits of MPAs in Siquijor, Philippines, in the Coral Triangle. This region has significant biodiversity and is home to over 120 million people, many of them dependent on marine resources for food and income. It is a hotspot for MPAs, most of which are managed under decentralized governance systems. We collected data from 540 households in 19 villages with associated MPAs. We evaluated the influence of multiple SAC variables on perceived benefits using decision trees and qualitatively analyzed this relationship with respect to types and recipients of benefits. Our models revealed the key role of social capital, particularly trust in leadership, in influencing perceptions of benefits. Further, path analysis revealed that perceptions of distributional equity were a key mechanism through which social capital affected perceived MPA benefits. Identifying approaches to building social capital and equity within communities could lead to more effective management of MPAs requiring fewer resources than other approaches such as enforcement. Future research could build understanding of the influence and defining characteristics of different types of social capital and its distribution within communities on successful outcomes of MPAs and other marine resource management approaches.
This paper describes how relational place-making, with its focus on power dynamics, networked politics, and non-market, locally-valued characteristics, provides a useful framework for managers to better design fishing community policies. Social data, while becoming more common in fisheries management analyses, are typically restricted to quantitative measures that often cannot adequately summarize dynamics within fishing communities. In contrast, detailed ethnographic research and the theoretical framework of relational place-making can provide a useful methodology through which to gather social data to understand resource-dependent communities and the effects of fisheries management policies in these places. Relational place-making describes the process through which physical spaces are transformed into socially meaningful places, and how these understandings are contested and negotiated among different groups of actors. These contested narratives of place, called place-frames, can interact with economic development efforts to help create (or fail to create) sustainable communities. To better understand the efficacy of a specific fisheries policy, the community development quota (CDQ) program, we conducted 6 months of ethnographic research in the rural, Native communities of St. George and St. Paul, Alaska. In both communities we found that local place-frames centered on local empowerment and control. In St. George, local place-frames conflicted with place-frames advanced by CDQ employees, and locals were unable to align place-making goals with local economic realities. In St. Paul, local residents and CDQ employees shared a place-frame, allowing them to accomplish numerous local development goals. However, differences in place-frames advanced by other political entities on the island often complicated development initiatives. This study supports previous research indicating that policies and development projects that increase local power and self-determination are most successful in furthering community sustainability and well-being. This study indicates that relational place-making can illuminate local goals and desires and is therefore of great utility to the fisheries management decision-making process.
Even though global interest in mangrove research has increased in recent years, unveiling their immense ecological and economic roles, very little work has been done to investigate the primary driving factors motivating long-term community-based mangrove restoration and management on local scales. In Ghana, policy makers and coastal management practitioners have recently embraced the concept of community-based and co-management of coastal and marine resources. Community-based and co-management approaches require that key stakeholders, most notably the resource users themselves, play significant roles and responsibilities in the management process. However, there is little evaluation of the process in Ghana to assess the success or otherwise, particularly of the few and long standing examples of community-based approaches in coastal resource management. With special reference to an over two decade old community-based mangrove forestry programme along the Volta estuary of Ghana, this paper provides concepts for examination of the ecological and socioeconomic factors influencing mangrove restoration and management by fishers, fish mongers, farmers and their socioeconomic groupings. Participatory GIS mapping and the use of orthophotos generated for the period 1974–2011 provided additional information on temporal evolution of the extent of mangrove areas restored and managed by local stakeholders. Socioeconomic assessment of mangrove products utility was done through questionnaire interviews. The results indicate that livelihoods and economic benefits are the primary factors that motivate local stakeholders' participation in mangrove restoration and management. Mangroves provisioning services, markets and low livelihoods diversification are major drivers of mangrove resources exploitation. The study has shown that mangroves resources can be sustainably exploited, restored and managed if local customary rules are enforced and institutional arrangements put in place to mediate mangrove exploitation and regeneration rates. Such an approach if well developed, could promote coastal resources conservation with high economic returns for the users.
Management of common-pool natural resources is commonly implemented under institutional models promoting devolved decision-making, such as co-management and community-based management. Although participation of local people is critical to the success of devolved commons management, few studies have empirically investigated how individuals’ participation is related to socioeconomic factors that operate at multiple scales. Here, we evaluated how individual- and community-scale factors were related to levels of individual participation in management of community-based marine protected areas in Indonesia. In addressing this aim, we drew on multiple bodies of literature on human behaviour from economics and social science, including the social-ecological systems framework from the literature on common-pool resources, the theory of planned behaviour from social psychology, and public goods games from behavioural economics. We found three key factors related to level of participation of local people: subjective norms, structural elements of social capital, and nested institutions. There was also suggestive evidence that participation was related to people’s cooperative behavioural disposition, which we elicited using a public goods game. These results point to the importance of considering socioeconomic factors that operate at multiple scales when examining individual behaviour. Further, our study highlights the need to consider multiscale mechanisms other than those designed to appeal to self-interested concerns, such as regulations and material incentives, which are typically employed in devolved commons management to encourage participation. Increased understanding of the factors related to participation could facilitate better targeting of investments aimed at encouraging cooperative management.
Conservation commonly requires trade-offs between social and ecological goals. For tropical small-scale fisheries, spatial scales of socially appropriate management are generally small—the median no-take locally managed marine area (LMMA) area throughout the Pacific is less than 1 km2. This is of particular concern for large coral reef fishes, such as many species of grouper, which migrate to aggregations to spawn. Current data suggest that the catchment areas (i.e. total area from which individuals are drawn) of such aggregations are at spatial scales that preclude effective community-based management with no-take LMMAs. We used acoustic telemetry and tag-returns to examine reproductive migrations and catchment areas of the grouper Epinephelus fuscoguttatus at a spawning aggregation in Papua New Guinea. Protection of the resultant catchment area of approximately 16 km2 using a no-take LMMA is socially untenable here and throughout much of the Pacific region. However, we found that spawning migrations were skewed towards shorter distances. Consequently, expanding the current 0.2 km2 no-take LMMA to 1–2 km2 would protect approximately 30–50% of the spawning population throughout the non-spawning season. Contrasting with current knowledge, our results demonstrate that species with moderate reproductive migrations can be managed at scales congruous with spatially restricted management tools.
This paper empirically examines whether and how experiencing climate-related disasters can improve the rural poorfs adaptation to climate change through community-based resource management. Original household survey data in Fiji capture the unique sequence of a tropical cyclone and the establishment of community-based marine protected areas as a natural experiment. The analysis reveals that household disaster victimization increases its support for establishing marine protected areas for future safety nets. Under Fijian traditional consensual institutions, social learning from disaster experience among community members facilitates their collective decision-making for conservation to enhance community resilience to climate shocks.
This research develops a methodology to evaluate public support for fishing regulations, comparing existing regulations designed without much public input, to possible alternative regulations based fishers' ecological knowledge (FEK) and preferences. First, a survey and open-ended interview was completed with 42 fishers in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (33% of the total number of currently registered commercial fishers on island) regarding general matters of fishery health and productivity, with heightened focus on the management of a mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis) spawning aggregation. The interview results suggest that fishers view management tools in terms of spatial and temporal parameters, and how much those regulations influence gear selection. Fishers respond primarily to socioeconomic pressures, but recognize and support ecological goals of regulations, particularly those that provide protections to important stocks throughout their spawning season. A Discrete Choice Model (DCM) was developed based on the results of the fisher surveys and was administered to 182 individuals, including 54 residents of St. Croix and all 42 fishers interviewed. Eight DCM options were presented to respondents who selected their regulatory preference in a pair-wise fashion. In seven of eight pairs, public respondents selected fisher-preferred, FEK-based regulatory frameworks. These results suggest FEK can be used to develop fishery regulations that will meet management goals, and be broadly supported by both members of the fishing community and the general public. In this manner, ecosystem-based management frameworks can be improved by incorporating fishers and their FEK, particularly for small-scale fisheries.
Natural resource-related conflicts can be extremely destructive and undermine environmental protection. Since the 1990s co-management schemes, whereby the management of resources is shared by public and/or private sector stakeholders, have been a main strategy for reducing these conflicts worldwide. Despite initial high hopes, in recent years co-management has been perceived as falling short of expectations. However, systematic assessments of its role in conflict prevention or mitigation are non-existent. Interviews with 584 residents from ten protected areas in Colombia revealed that co-management can be successful in reducing conflict at grassroots level, as long as some critical enabling conditions, such as effective participation in the co-management process, are fulfilled not only on paper but also by praxis. We hope these findings will re-incentivize global efforts to make co-management work in protected areas and other common pool resource contexts, such as fisheries, agriculture, forestry and water management.
Tropical coastal communities face the impacts of climate change with increasing frequency and severity, which exacerbates existing local threats to natural resources and the societies that depend on them. Climate change presents a unique opportunity to reconsider how community-based planning is used to (1) improve overall climate knowledge, both through communicating climate science and incorporating local knowledge; (2) give equal consideration to the social and ecological aspects of community health and resilience; and (3) integrate multisector planning to maximize community benefits and minimize unintended negative impacts. This article describes a tool developed to respond to these opportunities in Micronesia and the Coral Triangle region, Adapting to a Changing Climate: Guide to Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) and Management Planning. It discusses challenges and lessons learned based on the process of the tool development, training with local communities and stakeholders, and input from those who have implemented the tool.