Volume 70

Integrating Property Rights into Fisheries Management: The Case of the Managed Access Program in Belize

Wade, E;A.Spalding
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Date: November, 2017

Pages: 35-37

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Merida, Yucatan

Country: México


Decreases in fish stocks, biodiversity loss, and destruction of marine ecosystems have contributed to the calls for fisheries reform over the past decade (Caddy 1999). With the ultimate goal of supporting the sustainability of the fisheries sector, fisheries reforms have adopted a variety of approaches, including the promotion of community co-management of the resources, changing social norms and behaviors, revising outdated fisheries regulations, as well as fostering incentives for sustainable behaviors through the implementation of rights-based fisheries systems (Caddy 1999, Lubchenco et al. 2016). These reforms all have in common that they recognize the complexities and multiple dimensions of the fisheries socio-ecological system, and take into account concerns beyond the resource itself. Indeed, fisheries managers and policy-makers around the globe are increasingly looking for effective solutions to address social, economic, and ecological challenges within the industry. Belize is no exception to this trend and has recently been focusing on developing new mechanisms for supporting fisheries sustainability through the implementation of a Managed Access Program (MAP), based on a Territorial User Rights for Fishing (TURF) approach (Nguyen Thi Quynh, etnal. 2017). TURFs operate as a spatial form of property rights which grants individuals access and fishing rights to harvest resources within a specified area(Nguyen Thi Quynh et al. 2017). The TURF approach is heavily debated in the literature about property rights in fisheries (Aburto et al. 2013, Arnason 2007, Atapattu 1987, Criddle et al. 2001, Mansfield 2001, Osherenko 2006) and focuses on overcoming the challenges experienced in open access fisheries. Evidence has shown that the implementation of TURFs reduces the ‘race to fish’ or competition for resources (Hilborn et al. 2005). In turn, TURF systems have received recogni-tion for increasing economic value for catch, incentivizing sustainable behavior and reducing overfishing (Aburto et al. 2013).

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