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The Impact of Resource Scarcity on Bonding and Bridging Social Capital: the Case of Fishers’ Information-Sharing Networks in Loreto, BCS, Mexico

Saudiel Ramirez-Sanchez, Oceans Policy and Planning Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Evelyn Pinkerton, Simon Fraser University

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Abstract

Fishers often rely on their social capital to cope with resource fluctuations by sharing information on the abundance and location of fish. Drawing on research in seven coastal fishing communities in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, we examine the effect of resource scarcity on the bonding, bridging, and linking social-capital patterns of fishers’ information-sharing networks. We found that: (1) fishers’ information sharing is activated in response to varying ecological conditions; (2) resource scarcity is an ambiguous indicator of the extent to which fishers share information on the abundance and location of fish within and between communities; (3) information sharing is based on trust and occurs through kinship, friendship, and acquaintance social relations; (4) friendship ties play a key and flexible role in fishers’ social networks within and between communities; (5) overall, the composition of fishers’ social networks follows a friendship>kinship>acquaintance order of importance; and (6) the function of social ties, internal conflict, and settlement histories moderate the effects of resource scarcity on fishers’ social capital. We conclude by arguing that the livelihoods of fishers from Loreto have adaptive capacity for dealing with fish fluctuations but little or no proactive resilience to address resource-management issues.

Key words

Baja California Sur; bonding and bridging social capital; fishers’ information-sharing networks; resilience; social network analysis
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087