Chavez Carrillo, Isis Ivania, Partelow, Stefan ORCID:, Madrigal-Ballestero, Roger, Schlüter, Achim ORCID: and Gutierrez-Montes, Isabel (2019) Do responsible fishing areas work? Comparing collective action challenges in three small-scale fisheries in Costa Rica. International Journal of the Commons, 13 (1). p. 705. DOI

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Costa Rica is supporting Marine Areas of Responsible Fishing (AMPRs) to enable small-scale fishing communities to apply for exclusive harvesting and management rights within spatially delimited areas under a co-management policy framework. Communities need to self-organize their own fishing association and develop a fishing management plan (POP) to apply. Seven AMPRs have been established in the Gulf of Nicoya, but many face collective action challenges to develop and achieve common goals and implementation. In this article, we conduct a qualitative comparative analysis by applying the Social-Ecological System Framework (SESF) as a tool to identify the social and ecological conditions influencing collective action and co-management in three AMPRs in the Gulf of Nicoya, and we compare the similarities and differences between them Our results show that all three AMPRs face collective action challenges for different reasons. Nonetheless, some commonalities exist. Common drivers motivating collective action include the desire to restrict certain types of fishing gears due to perceptions of resource scarcity and high dependence on local resources. Monitoring and sanctioning mechanisms, the presence of effective leadership and the economic heterogeneity of actors all positively influence collective action in two cases. However, in all three cases, there are more variables hindering collective action such as mistrust among actors, internal conflicts, non-rule compliance, lack of governmental support and resource unit mobility. Our findings suggest that AMPRs are a promising and potentially effective governance strategy because they can empower marginalized small-scale fishing communities and bring them into national development processes. However, there is an evident need for more state and local community investment into capacity building for self-organization and deliberation processes that can better enable the development of mutually accepted goals and implementation tools such as communication and enforcement strategies. Maintaining the perceptions among local communities that AMPRs are an acceptable and legitimate form of governance is a key challenge for continued collective action and achieving associated conservation goals. This research shows that adapting governance institutions to fit the social-ecological context of each AMPR is critical for success, despite the perceived similarity between the AMPRs.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Social Sciences > Institutional and Behavioural Economics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
ISSN: 1875-0281
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 13:07
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 12:59

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