Environmental adaptation, political coercion, and illegal behavior: Small-scale fishing in the Gulf of California.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/187441
Title:
Environmental adaptation, political coercion, and illegal behavior: Small-scale fishing in the Gulf of California.
Author:
Vasquez-León, Marcela.
Issue Date:
1995
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation examines the shrimp industry in the Gulf of California from a political ecology perspective. The interaction between fishermen and their marine environment is explored, as well as the historical factors that led to vastly different types of fishermen in the communities of Guaymas and Empalme. Some have specialized in the harvesting of shrimp; others are diversified, multiple species fishermen. Some are highly industrialized offshore shrimpers; others are small-scale fishermen, more modest in their technology but more resilient when facing the current crisis in the shrimp industry. The underlaying causes of this crisis are explored by looking at state development policies, the assumptions behind fisheries management, and the configuration of markets. These have all emphasized specialization in the production of shrimp while ignoring the high interannual variability characteristic of shrimp populations. The end result: an overcapitalized, overexpanded industry and a possible overexploitation of shrimp stocks. Rather than addressing the root causes of the crisis, recent policies have instead transferred rights to the offshore fishery from cooperatives to private investors. At the same time there has been a concerted attack against small-scale producers. It is believed that by getting rid of this sector, catch per boat in the offshore sector will increase and overall "efficiency" will be improved. I compare industrialized trawlers and the small-scale sector and argue that the latter is currently producing high quality shrimp at lower monetary and ecological costs. But small-scale fishing is not equated with sustainability. Instead, differences among small-scale fishermen are analyzed. I contend that those who belong to traditional fishing families and have access to collective knowledge about the marine environment that has accumulated through generations, are better able to deal with a highly unpredictable environment and minimize risk. Those who do not have access to this knowledge have specialized in the harvesting of shrimp. I argue that a strategy of diversification is both more profitable in the short-term and sustainable in the long-run. Avoidance strategies among small-scale fishermen in response to externally imposed regulations are also examined. Fishermen are analyzed as individual profit maximizers and as community members who break the rules to serve collective interests. Just as individuals act collectively to deal with an unpredictable environment, they also act collectively to effectively challenge the institutions of rule-making.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Shrimp industry -- Environmental aspects -- California, Gulf of Mexico.; Shrimp industry -- Political aspects -- California, Gulf of Mexico.; Environmental sciences.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Anthropology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
McGuire, Thomas R.; Park, Thomas K.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleEnvironmental adaptation, political coercion, and illegal behavior: Small-scale fishing in the Gulf of California.en_US
dc.creatorVasquez-León, Marcela.en_US
dc.contributor.authorVasquez-León, Marcela.en_US
dc.date.issued1995en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the shrimp industry in the Gulf of California from a political ecology perspective. The interaction between fishermen and their marine environment is explored, as well as the historical factors that led to vastly different types of fishermen in the communities of Guaymas and Empalme. Some have specialized in the harvesting of shrimp; others are diversified, multiple species fishermen. Some are highly industrialized offshore shrimpers; others are small-scale fishermen, more modest in their technology but more resilient when facing the current crisis in the shrimp industry. The underlaying causes of this crisis are explored by looking at state development policies, the assumptions behind fisheries management, and the configuration of markets. These have all emphasized specialization in the production of shrimp while ignoring the high interannual variability characteristic of shrimp populations. The end result: an overcapitalized, overexpanded industry and a possible overexploitation of shrimp stocks. Rather than addressing the root causes of the crisis, recent policies have instead transferred rights to the offshore fishery from cooperatives to private investors. At the same time there has been a concerted attack against small-scale producers. It is believed that by getting rid of this sector, catch per boat in the offshore sector will increase and overall "efficiency" will be improved. I compare industrialized trawlers and the small-scale sector and argue that the latter is currently producing high quality shrimp at lower monetary and ecological costs. But small-scale fishing is not equated with sustainability. Instead, differences among small-scale fishermen are analyzed. I contend that those who belong to traditional fishing families and have access to collective knowledge about the marine environment that has accumulated through generations, are better able to deal with a highly unpredictable environment and minimize risk. Those who do not have access to this knowledge have specialized in the harvesting of shrimp. I argue that a strategy of diversification is both more profitable in the short-term and sustainable in the long-run. Avoidance strategies among small-scale fishermen in response to externally imposed regulations are also examined. Fishermen are analyzed as individual profit maximizers and as community members who break the rules to serve collective interests. Just as individuals act collectively to deal with an unpredictable environment, they also act collectively to effectively challenge the institutions of rule-making.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectShrimp industry -- Environmental aspects -- California, Gulf of Mexico.en_US
dc.subjectShrimp industry -- Political aspects -- California, Gulf of Mexico.en_US
dc.subjectEnvironmental sciences.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairMcGuire, Thomas R.en_US
dc.contributor.chairPark, Thomas K.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSheridan, Thomas E.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest9624146en_US
dc.identifier.oclc707939422en_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.