Untangling the drivers of community cohesion in small-scale fisheries

Alexander, Steven M., Bodin, Örjan, and Barnes, Michele L. (2018) Untangling the drivers of community cohesion in small-scale fisheries. International Journal of the Commons, 12 (1). pp. 519-547.

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Sustainable fisheries require strong management and effective governance. However, small-scale fisheries (SSF) often lack formal institutions, leaving management in the hands of local users in the form of various governance approaches (e.g. local, traditional, or co-management). The effectiveness of these approaches inherently relies upon some level of cohesion among resource users to facilitate agreement on common policies and practices regarding common pool fishery resources. Understanding the factors driving the formation and maintenance of community cohesion in SSF is therefore critical if we are to devise more effective participatory governance approaches and encourage and empower decentralized, localized, and community-based resource management approaches. Here, we adopt a social relational network perspective to propose a suite of hypothesized drivers that lead to the establishment of social ties among fishers that build the foundation for community cohesion. We then draw on detailed data from Jamaica's small-scale fishery to empirically test these drivers by employing a set of nested exponential random graph models (ERGMs) based on specific structural building blocks (i.e. network configurations) theorized to influence the establishment of social ties. Our results demonstrate that multiple drivers are at play, but that collectively, gear-based homophily, geographic proximity, and leadership play particularly important roles. We discuss the extent to which these drivers help explain previous experiences, as well as their implications for future and sustained collective action in SSF in Jamaica and elsewhere.

Item ID: 53666
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1875-0281
Keywords: cooperation, ERGM, fisheries governance, fisheries management, social capital, social network analysis
Funders: National Science Foundation (NSF), MISTRA, Swedish Research Council, FORMAS, Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CE)
Projects and Grants: NSF grant #DBI-1052875, NSF Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Grant #1513354
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 07:47
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 50%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441002 Environmental sociology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830299 Fisheries- Wild Caught not elsewhere classified @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 40%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 40%
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