Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Cooperation and Conflict Dynamics in Small-Scale Fisheries Public Deposited

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  • Small-scale fisheries account for at least 40 percent of global fisheries catch, 90 percent of the people employed along capture fisheries value chains operate in small-scale fisheries, and 45 million women participate in small-scale fisheries globally. The past few years have brought warnings from policymakers and resource managers about risks to the peace and stability posed by fisheries conflicts. Collaborative environmental governance studies tell us that processes of cooperation and conflict work in tandem and one way to reconcile perspectives of cooperation and conflict involving natural resources is to focus on what small-scale fisheries actors are doing and why. A challenge with addressing how non-cooperative violent behaviors emerge in SSF is the lack of available data. This dissertation : 1) provides context and synthesizes literature from fisheries conflict research and fisheries cooperation research and provides recommendations for envisioning a unified framework that bridges the two subsequent chapters, 2) explores cooperation and conflict dynamics in the small-scale fisheries of Puerto Rico by presenting and applying a new framework that created the Fisheries Conflict and Cooperation in Puerto Rico Database (FCC-PR-D) via NexisUni media report content analysis in conjunction with social network analysis to understand where, when, and how trends emerge in the small-scale fisheries of the small-island U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, and 3) applies the framework in 2) alongside semi-structured interview content analysis with women practitioners in the small-scale fisheries of Southwest Puerto Rico, to answer the question: what role have women played in fisheries cooperation and conflict in the Southwest region of Puerto Rico from 2010- early 2020? From 2010-2019, a total of 35 fisheries conflicts and 133 fisheries cooperation events were identified. The primary drivers of all fisheries conflict events in Puerto Rico were maritime crime, an actual or perceived decline in fish populations, ecosystem change, cross national actors, poverty, marginalization, and strategic location of fisheries. The primary drivers of all fisheries cooperation events were an actual or perceived decline in fish populations and ecosystem change. Of all the cooperation events coded, nearly three quarters fell under meetings, third-party support, or negotiation requests. While half of the fisheries conflict events fell under fines, permit denials, or negotiations halted. social network analysis revealed a gap in direct cooperation networks between regional environmental managers and fishers, suggesting an opportunity for stronger co-management agreements; there is potential for these agreements to be incentivized by existing links between fishers and university actors and NGOs. Furthermore, while reports suggest only 1% of active Puerto Rico fishers are women [1], ~18% of fisheries cooperation and conflict events involve at least one woman actor from 2010-2019. 20 fisheries conflict events and 17 fisheries cooperation events, extracted from semi-structured interviews with women (n=3) in Southwest Puerto Rico found that the three primary drivers of fisheries conflict described in the interviews were limitations on access to fishing grounds, weak governance (especially lack of public participation), and an actual or perceived decline in fish populations. The three primary drivers of all fisheries cooperation events were the supply or demand from markets, gender marginalization, and increased gear efficiency. Women are key actors and leaders in cooperation amongst other fisherwomen, fishermen, and local government figures in the region. The methods utilized in this research are cost effective and reproducible with moderate training and direct fisheries resource managers to priorities that need the greatest attention. The approach is readily complemented by qualitative approaches such as semi-structured interviews to further deconstruct low-level conflicts not always reported by media outlets.
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