, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 985–996 | Cite as

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

  • Rocío del Pilar Moreno-Sánchez
  • Jorge Higinio Maldonado


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.


Resilience Coastal–marine resources Community involvement Colombian Pacific 



This study was done as part of the project “Socioeconomic monitoring in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (ETPS)—Walton Family Foundation (WFF)” chapter Colombia, carried out by the Group of Studies on Environmental and Resource Economics at Universidad de los Andes, under the supervision of Conservation International CI and funded by the Walton Family Foundation WFF. We thank Maria Claudia Diaz Granados, from CI, for her support at the different stages of this research. We also thank Margoth Figueredo, survey supervisor, for assuring high-quality surveys from the Bazán community. The project had German Augusto Pachón-Gantiva as associate researcher and we recognize his contribution. We are grateful to the Bazán community for the support to the field work and, particularly, to the Community Council and its leaders. This paper has benefited greatly from the constructive comments of three anonymous referees. Any remaining error is authors’ responsibility.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 168 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rocío del Pilar Moreno-Sánchez
    • 1
  • Jorge Higinio Maldonado
    • 2
  1. 1.Conservation strategy fundBogotáColombia
  2. 2.Facultad de Economía – CEDEUniversidad de los AndesBogotáColombia

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