Transformation Towards Cooperative Governance Arrangements in Small-Scale Fisheries — Moving Out of the Patron-client Trap
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Transforming marine social-ecological systems, particularly small-scale fisheries (SSF) towards sustainable governance is critical for food security, poverty alleviation and sustainability. However, achieving such transformations is a major challenge. Many SSF around the world are self-governed through patron-client relationships (PCs) where fishers work with fishbuyers to commercialize their catch. These informal arrangements which are very persistent have often been associated with overexploitation of the resource. In this paper we explore opportunities for an intentional transformation of an SSF towards more sustainable cooperative self-governance through financial and social interventions. We apply an agent-based model of a prototypical SSF that synthesizes a vast body of knowledge about SSF in Mexico to analyze the dynamics of self-organization in a fishing community. Our explorations reveal that financial support during the formation of a cooperative is not sufficient for their establishment in a community dominated by fishbuyers. It requires repeated support also in form of trust-building measures to strengthen cooperatives such that they can cope with fluctuations in resource abundance and free-riding of their members. The combination of financial with social interventions increases the likelihood that cooperatives survive over longer periods of time, particularly under a stochastic social and ecological environment and become the dominant form of social organization. The findings indicate that it is necessary to understand the interplay between social (e.g. the dynamics of trust) and ecological (e.g. resource dynamics) dynamics in order to identify the type and frequency of interventions needed to enable a transformation of a locked-in social-ecological system.
Fishing cooperatives, Social-ecological systems, Mexico, Interventions, Innovations, Self-governance
Other Natural Sciences Ecology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject Sustainability Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128601OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-128601DiVA: diva2:915876
FunderMistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchEU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme