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The challenges of local governance: Gear-based fragmentation in the Dominican fishery of Buen Hombre

Michael Cox, Margaret Wilson and Tyler Pavlowich

Marine Policy, 2016, vol. 63, issue C, 109-117

Abstract: The Dominican fishing community of Buen Hombre is struggling to reconcile its fishing activities with the state of the coral reef ecosystem on which it depends. The ecosystem is showing signs of deterioration, and this seems to be resulting in large part because of the fishing activities of the Buen Hombre fishermen. The institutional arrangements of the fishermen themselves, and of relevant external organizations, have not kept pace with important technological and demographic changes that have affected the community. This paper presents the results of an analysis that unpacks these processes via a statistical analysis of fishermen behavior and a social network analysis of the “cofishing” network that these fishermen constitute. The statistical analysis shows that gear choice is very important in explaining the amount of fish caught, both as a direct factor and as a mediator of other factors such as membership in the local fishermen's association. The social network analysis complements this result by demonstrating that gear choice also serves to segment the fishermen into separate groups, with few direct linkages between them. The resulting gear-based fragmentation of the community is seen to have negative implications for the ability of the fishermen to act collectively to conserve their fishery. The paper concludes with some thoughts and suggestions for how the community might move forward, including expanding the membership of the fishermen's association and strengthening ties between fishing groups as well as ties between the community and relevant governmental agencies.

Keywords: Common-pool resources; Fisheries; Community-based natural resource management; Social network analysis; Dominican Republic (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2015.09.029

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Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:63:y:2016:i:c:p:109-117