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Gone fishing? Intergenerational cultural shifts can undermine common property co-managed fisheries

Nicholas Wehner, Jordan Tam, Kai M. A. Chan, Terre Satterfield, G.G. Singh and Stefan Gelcich
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Nicholas Wehner: OCTO (Open Communications for The Ocean)

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Abstract: Conventional common property thinking assumes that a central goal of management is to maintain social-ecological systems in a healthy and resilient state, including maintaining the ability of communities to harvest across time and generations. Little research has been done, however, on how common property systems are affected by demographic shifts, the social status of emerging livelihoods, and the employment aspirations of users for their offspring. An empirical case study from Chile (well known for its common property fisheries) suggests that major socio-cultural shifts are now occurring, with a lack of entry by new fishers and an aging population of existing ones. These types of social and cultural changes are increasingly common through globalization and worldwide economic development, and pose significant policy challenges across broad classes of common property systems. The Chilean case reveals that community adaptive capacity can come at the expense of social-ecological common property systems, and highlights the need to consider the broader context of ‘slow’ social variables.

Date: 2018-02-03
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DOI: 10.31219/

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