Supporting Enhancement of Stewardship in Small-Scale Fisheries: Perceptions of Governance Among Caribbean Coral Reef Fishers

  • Rachel A. TurnerEmail author
  • David A. Gill
  • Clare Fitzsimmons
  • Johanna Forster
  • Robin Mahon
  • Angelie Peterson
  • Selina Stead
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 19)


Small-scale fishing livelihoods dependent on Caribbean coral reefs face an uncertain future with global climate change and mounting anthropogenic pressures threatening ecosystem integrity and resilience. In the context of future threats to coral reefs, improved governance is critical to enhance the efficacy of coral reef management. Recent research places increasing emphasis on identifying governance arrangements that enable participation and engagement, with the improved ‘social fit’ of institutions expected to engender stewardship among fishers. However, few studies have examined the perspectives of resource users in relation to a wide range of articulated principles for good governance processes. This study contributes to an improved understanding of how fisher perceptions relate to diverse governance arrangements in the Wider Caribbean Region. We quantify perceptions among 498 reef-dependent fishers in relation to principles of ‘good governance’ in 12 communities across four Caribbean countries: Barbados, Belize, Honduras, and St. Kitts and Nevis. We describe perceptions relating to two underlying governance themes – institutional acceptance (reflecting principles of legitimacy, transparency, fairness, and connectivity) and engagement in reef governance (reflecting principles of accountability and inclusiveness). In addition, we identify socio-demographic factors associated with each set of perceptions and explore the implications for future governance of small-scale Caribbean reef fisheries. The findings suggest that an understanding of heterogeneous perceptions within small-scale fisheries can inform more targeted interventions to improve the fit of governance arrangements for different groups. Governance may be more effective if perceptions are used to identify areas in which to pursue greater engagement of resource users in stewardship.


Stewardship Governance Institutional acceptance Engagement Coral reef fisheries 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel A. Turner
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • David A. Gill
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 2
  • Clare Fitzsimmons
    • 6
  • Johanna Forster
    • 7
    • 6
  • Robin Mahon
    • 2
  • Angelie Peterson
    • 2
  • Selina Stead
    • 6
  1. 1.Environment and Sustainability InstituteUniversity of ExeterCornwallUK
  2. 2.Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES)University of the West IndiesCave Hill CampusBarbados
  3. 3.National Socio-Environmental Synthesis CenterUniversity of MarylandAnnapolisUSA
  4. 4.Moore Center for Science/Conservation InternationalArlingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyGeorge Mason UniversityVAUSA
  6. 6.School of Marine Science and TechnologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  7. 7.Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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