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Social connectivity and adaptive capacity strategies in large-scale fisheries

Iratxe Rubio, Basque Centre for Climate Change BC3; Future Oceans Lab, CIM-Universidade de Vigo, Spain
Jacob Hileman, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Elena Ojea, Future Oceans Lab, CIM-Universidade de Vigo, Spain


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Large-scale fisheries are important social-ecological systems that are increasingly being threatened by global climate change. Adaptive capacity is key for moving fisheries onto climate resilient pathways, however, implementing policies to improve adaptive capacity is challenging given the many diverse stakeholders involved in fisheries. Previous research suggests social networks are integral to adaptive capacity because social connectivity can enable, or constrain, knowledge and information sharing. We examine the network of communication among stakeholders in the Basque tropical tuna freezer purse seine fishery in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. We use cluster analysis, descriptive statistics, and exponential random graph models to assess whether different types of actors, occupying different network positions, value similar adaptive capacity strategies. The results indicate that many actor types are frequently connected within the fishery. Preferences for adaptive capacity strategies vary within and across actor types, and the preferences of highly central actors are generally more homogeneous and narrowly focused. All actors agree on the importance of the social organization domain from adaptive capacity, while fishing industry representatives tend to have the most holistic perspective on adaptive capacity overall. We discuss the implications of these findings as they relate to policies for supporting adaptive capacity and climate resilient fisheries.

Key words

adaptative capacity; global climate change; governance; social network analysis; tropical tunas

Copyright © 2021 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087