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Adaptive Capacity of Fishing Communities at Marine Protected Areas: A Case Study from the Colombian Pacific

Moreno-Sánchez, Rocío del Pilar, Maldonado, Jorge Higinio
Ambio 2013 v.42 no.8 pp. 985-996
case studies, conservation areas, fisheries, household surveys, social capital
Departing from a theoretical methodology, we estimate empirically an index of adaptive capacity (IAC) of a fishing community to the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). We carried out household surveys, designed to obtain information for indicators and sub-indicators, and calculated the IAC. Moreover, we performed a sensitivity analysis to check for robustness of the results. Our findings show that, despite being located between two MPAs, the fishing community of Bazán in the Colombian Pacific is highly vulnerable and that the socioeconomic dimension of the IAC constitutes the most binding dimension for building adaptive capacity. Bazán is characterized by extreme poverty, high dependence on resources, and lack of basic public infrastructure. Notwithstanding, social capital and local awareness about ecological conditions may act as enhancers of adaptive capacity. The establishment of MPAs should consider the development of strategies to confer adaptive capacity to local communities highly dependent on resource extraction.