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Sustainability in a Newfoundland Fishing Community Petty Harbour: Managing the Commons

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Silk, Victoria
Conference: Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities, the Eleventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Conf. Date: June 19-23, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2128
Sector: Fisheries
Region: North America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
fisheries--case studies
coastal resources
Abstract: "The sustainability of single resource dependent communities is one of the more critical issues facing people throughout the world. The focus of this paper is a community that managed its fishing commons on a local level since the late 1600's, and continued, to the best of its ability, to retain a measure of control and governance of a diminishing resource up until 1992 when the Northern cod (Gadus morhua) moratorium was declared. Commons theory as understood predominately through the work of Garret Hardin (1968) has been employed by states throughout the world to rationalize privatization of fish resources in expectation that it would generate stewardship of the resource. In fact, the opposite has occurred, the net result being degradation of fish stocks globally. Industrial interceptor fleets that employ high impact 'track and catch' technologies are now being blamed for the demise of fish stocks throughout the world, and coastal communities with historical economic attachment to fish resources have been severely undermined. "In this paper I examine common property theory, the role that it played in fisheries modernization, and the impacts on single resource dependent fishing communities. I then examine the contributions that social capital and indicators of sustainability have made to local management of common property in the past, and the implications of this for regeneration of fish stocks and coastal fishing community economies. Using Petty Harbour as a case study, I will present preliminary results of recently conducted field work that involved a mail out survey questionnaire and oral interviews with local fishers. The questionnaires were designed to provide measures of social capital and indicators of sustainability in an effort to locate an explanation to the community's high level of activism and protectionism of its fish resources. I expect to find a positive correlation between social capital and activism, and that the as indicators of sustainability, sense of ownership and leadership will provide an explanation to the mobilization of social capital. In conclusion I argue that single resource dependent communities with historical that have provided protection of the commons through the use of low impact technologies and self-governance schemes are uniquely positioned to play a role in the regeneration of fish resources and revitalization of coastal fishing communities."

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