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Solutions to the 'Tragedy of the Commons': Sea Urchin Management in St. Lucia, West Indies

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Smith, Allan H.; Berkes, Fikret
Conference: Designing Sustainability on the Commons, the First Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Duke University, Durham, NC
Conf. Date: September 27-30, 1990
Date: 1990
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/700
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): fisheries
tragedy of the commons--case studies
sea urchin
Abstract: "Possible solutions to the commons problem have rarely been investigated systematically by the use of biological data on the sustainability of the resource. The edible sear urchin (Tripneustes ventricosus) resource of St. Lucia is highly prized but vulnerable to over-exploitation because of its shallow water distribution. We examined sustainability in three study areas. The resource was depleted in the study area in which access was free and open. It remained sustainable in the other two areas in which there were access controls. In one case, the area was under government control as a marine reserve, a measure that enjoyed local support; in the other, there was a locally practiced 'closed season' and community-based management of access into the bay. The results indicated that both government controls and informal, community-level controls can lead to successful resource management outcomes."

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