Illegal behavior among fishermen is often explained using models that abstract from the moral and the political realm. These same models may also abstract from the institutional realities of law making and the behavioral realities of small businesses and families. Illegal behavior may be a result of situations where policy shifts are more rapid than the adjustments in consumption and production decisions by resource users. These divergences between what governments would like to see, and what resource users are actually capable of doing, are accentuated in situations where alternatives are limited among users, and where public decision-making is more centralized. The regulation and exploitation of the Olive Ridley sea turtle in Mexico is an example of the relationships between public management objectives of conservation and development of economic opportunity, legislative evolution and inertia, and industrial development. However, providing for economic needs of local communities in the past has played a large role in shaping the path of exploitation seen in recent years. The fact that institutional evolution has a history introduces temporal complexity to the management problem. An examination of the legal, industrial, and customary record may be in order for Mexico, to obtain clues about what should be done in the future.
Keywords: legislation, conservation, sea turtle, bio-economomics, local communities, Mexico.
Trinidad, H. and J. Wilson. The Bio-Economics of Sea Turtle Use in Mexico: History of Exploitation and Conservation Policies for the Olive Ridly (Lepidochelys olivacea). In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.