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The Role of Cooperation for Improved Stewardship of Marine Social-Ecological Systems in Latin America

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Villasante, Sebastián; Österblom, Henrik
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 20
Date: 2015
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/9769
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Central America & Caribbean
South America
Subject(s): marine ecology
social-ecological systems
Abstract: "Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries are among the worlds’ richest in marine biodiversity. Fish stocks in these regions are important for fishing communities, and fishing activities engage several million people. These fisheries depend on the natural services provided by a diverse range of marine social-ecological systems, but many LAC fisheries are in a degraded state, and concerns about overexploitation are widespread. With most fishery resources fully exploited or overexploited, opportunities for development lie primarily in restoring depleted stocks and using stocks more efficiently. The papers published in the Special Feature 'Cooperation, Local Communities, and Marine Social-Ecological Systems: New Findings from Latin America' present a range of experiences with ecosystem stewardship in the region and highlight promising perspectives for the future. The Special Feature consists of papers that deal with new findings from case studies which show how cooperation is key for building resilience in LAC fisheries. These case studies illustrate the effects of different types of cooperation and the roles of diverse stakeholders (fishers, scientists, environmental nongovernmental organizations, and national administrations, among others) in different countries of the region. Combined, these papers describe social processes, leadership, and institutional and organizational changes of relevance for stewardship of marine social-ecological systems in Latin America. The field of resilience research is still in an explorative phase in the region, and our ambition with this Special Feature is that the new discoveries presented may stimulate additional research in this field, including increased international cooperation with LAC scientists."

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