Exploring the Governability of Small-Scale Fisheries in Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Under the Buen Vivir Principle

  • María José Barragán-PaladinesEmail author
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 19)


Fisheries in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are a very complex, diverse, and dynamic sector. Unfortunately more often than not, policies and practices applied to govern fisheries have proven to be inappropriate. Small-scale fisheries in mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands face multiple challenges mostly linked to the limited governability of the fisheries systems. By using empirical evidence based on triangulation of qualitative open-ended surveys and intensive literature review, this chapter explores the fisheries sector in Ecuador through the lenses of the Buen Vivir standpoint, which is the guiding principle of Ecuador’s National Development Plan. Under the interactive governance approach, which is used as the primary analytical framework, this chapter examines the challenges encountered in governing small-scale fisheries in both the Ecuadorian mainland and Galapagos Islands. This chapter highlights the coincidences and mismatches between the two normative instruments simultaneously operating in these two regions. Main findings confirm the existence of incongruities between the Buen Vivir-inspired national development path and the policies and practices taken to address small-scale fisheries issues. Yet, common grounds between both instruments exist, and they may serve to pave the road for a comprehensive governance model for the national fisheries systems. We suggest that by implementing a comprehensive overarching national policy framework for fisheries, the Buen Vivir principle – ruling the national development plan – would be better illustrated. By doing such, the overall governability of fisheries in Ecuador would improve, and thus the sustainability of small-scale fisheries and the viability of fishing communities in both regions would be fostered.


Small-scale fisheries Governability Ecuador Galapagos Islands Buen Vivir 



The author is grateful to the TBTI project and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada for the funding provided to conduct this research. Thanks to the three reviewers whose useful comments and feedback provided to early versions of this chapter greatly enhanced the quality of this publication. Thanks to one of them for the relevant additional literature generously provided. Thanks to the editorial team for their help in improving the writing style of the chapter.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Development and Knowledge Sociology-Social Science DepartmentLeibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)BremenGermany

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