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Rules and Sustainable Resource Use: Case Studies of Small-Scale Fisheries in the Northern Gulf of California, Mexico

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Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Author: Cinti, Ana
Date: 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/9112
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): fisheries
resource management
Abstract: "Understanding how institutions affect or shape fisheries performance is an important part of providing practical insights for the development of management strategies that promote sustainable fishing. In the Gulf of California there is widespread evidence of declines in fish stocks upon which small-scale fisheries depend and these declines are largely attributed to policy failures. Using methods commonly used in social sciences, I investigated the formal and informal rules regulating resource use by small-scale fishers from two fishing communities in the Northern Gulf of California (NGC), Bahía de Kino and Bahía de los Ángeles, Mexico, and their effects on fisheries sustainability. Some of the main results are summarized below: a) The percentage of fishers holding fishing rights and actually using them to report and commercialize catch was quite small in both communities (fishing rights are usually in the hands of absentee operators); b) Current policies and policy changes do not reach the fishers in a direct and formalized way in any of these communities, and these policies are shaped with no participation of local fishers; c) Current policy tools show poor performance in practice and have been ineffective (at the moment) in promoting sustainable fishing practices by fishery stakeholders. Neither community has been able to manage their resources sustainably. Results also suggest some potentials that could lead to more sustainable fishing practices in both communities: d) The presence of informal rights (fishers’ sense of ownership) over the fishing grounds in the surroundings of their home communities. Generally, local fishers do not conform to or enforce the individual boundaries of the fishing rights they hold (or work under), but they do care about and defend an area that they perceive as belonging to their community as a whole, particularly when there are 'outsiders' coming in. e) The presence of strong support from the fishers for implementing improved regulatory measures for local fisheries. Specific recommendations for each case study are provided with the aim of enhancing rules legitimacy and improving management outcomes."

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