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Resilience, Social-Ecological Rules, and Environmental Variability in a Two-Species Artisanal Fishery

Marshall Duer-Balkind, Department of the Environment, Washington, DC; School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
Kasey R. Jacobs, NOAA Coastal Management Fellow at the Puerto Rico Coastal Zone Management Program, San Juan, PR; School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
Burak Güneralp, Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
Xavier Basurto, Duke Marine Lab, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Beaufort, NC, USA


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Social-ecological resilience is an increasingly central paradigm for understanding sustainable resource management. In this study, we aimed to better understand the effect of environmental variability on the resilience of fishery systems, and the important role that social institutions and biophysical constraints play. To explore these issues, we built a dynamic model of the pen shell fishery of the indigenous Seri people in the Gulf of California, Mexico. This model included the dynamics of the two dominant species in the fishery (Atrina tuberculosa and Pinna rugosa), several institutional rules that the Seri use, and a number of ecological constraints, including key stochastic variables derived from empirical data. We found that modeling with multiple species, rather than the standard one-species model, uncovered more of the resilience that is present in the system. We also found that it is the combination of several social-ecological rules working in conjunction with the endogenous environmental variability that helps ensure the resilience of the system.

Key words

artisanal fisheries; common-pool resources; environmental variability; Gulf of California, Mexico; multi-species; resilience; social-ecological systems; stochasticity; system dynamics

Copyright © 2013 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