Drivers of Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Coastal Fishing Communities of Tabasco, Mexico

  • Octavio Tolentino-Arévalo
  • Marianna Markantoni
  • Alejandro Espinoza-TenorioEmail author
  • Maria Azahara Mesa-Jurado
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 19)


Global climate change will become an additional source of stress on coastal fishing communities. Therefore, adaptation to climate change is becoming a key feature for the development of sustainable livelihoods in these socioecological systems and has become a priority for governments. Analysing and highlighting the factors that influence the adaptive capacity of communities in these contexts have become an urgent matter for governments to overcome foreseeable threats. In this study, a qualitative bottom-up approach was used to explore the conditions affecting the drivers of adaptive capacity of three small-scale artisanal fishing communities dealing with the oil industry and threatened by climate change in Tabasco, Mexico. Information about the adaptive capacity of these communities was obtained through semi-structured interviews and was analysed using a set of proxy indicators: (1) flexibility and diversity, (2) capacity to organize, (3) learning and knowledge, and (4) access to assets. The analysis confirmed that adaptive capacity is highly context-specific but also revealed that multiple ways of adaptation are conditioned by historical social agreements and geographic location, as well as defined by adverse conditions that force individuals to diversify their income sources. Our findings emphasize the need to analyse adaptive capacity on a local scale to better inform policymakers and improve adaptation policies’ design. Reducing the negative impacts of climate change in fishing communities in Tabasco is possible, but social, economic, and cultural changes must first occur on different levels ranging from the government to the communities themselves.


Climate change Adaptive capacity Small-scale fisheries 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Octavio Tolentino-Arévalo
    • 1
  • Marianna Markantoni
    • 1
  • Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio
    • 2
    Email author
  • Maria Azahara Mesa-Jurado
    • 2
  1. 1.Scotland’s Rural CollegeEdinburghScotland
  2. 2.El Colegio de la Frontera SurVillahermosaMexico

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