“Marine Areas of Responsible Fishing”: A Path Toward Small-Scale Fisheries Co-Management in Costa Rica? Perspectives from Golfo Dulce

  • Luc FargierEmail author
  • Hans J. Hartmann
  • Helena Molina-Ureña
Part of the Estuaries of the World book series (EOTW)


This chapter analyzes participatory management processes of small-scale fisheries in two Pacific embayments of Costa Rica, a centralized state of Central America where fisheries management is traditionally “top-down”, data deficient, and poorly adapted to local biological and socio-economic conditions. We provide an historical overview of coastal activities governance and fisheries national context, and describe different participative approaches to small-scale fishery management. The Marine Area of Responsible Fishing (Área Marina de Pesca Responsable, or AMPR), created in 2008, is a management tool developed by the Costa Rican government to effectively involve fishers organizations in small-scale fisheries management. In this paper, we compare participative management initiatives associated with AMPRs in the Golfo Dulce and Golfo de Nicoya (Palito and Tárcoles), and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Cahuita and Marino Ballena National Parks. Based on our analysis, we recommend ten measures to improve the small-scale fisheries co-management process. Among these, five recommendations stand out: (1) increase the participation of artisanal fishers in the development of collective choice rules; (2) allocate costs and benefits of management measures among artisanal fishers; (3) improve local leadership; (4) improve understanding and transparency of the management process; and (5) formalize and implement strategic fisheries management plans.


Small-scale fisheries Marine area of responsible fishing Co-management Costa Rica Tropical Eastern Pacific fisheries 



This research was partially supported by GEF (Global Environmental Fund) project N° 3340 Good practices and portfolio learning in GEF transboundary freshwater and marine legal and institutional frameworks, University of Costa Rica research projects by CIMAR N° 808-B0-038 Fishing communities from the South Pacific of Costa Rica: participative processes towards fishery resource co-management, and 808-A7-135 Spatio-temporal variability of fish communities in Golfo Dulce and surrounding waters, Costa Rica, UCR Golfito campus facilities, University of La Rochelle and LIENSs research grants to H. J. Hartmann and V. Duvat-Magnan, the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Technology (Ph. D. national research fellowship to L. Fargier) and the Acroporis Foundation (Paris, France). We are indebted to Bo Bricklemyer Jr., Richard Paisley, Glen Hearns and Susan Bazilli for facilitating much of the project’s impetus and administration, to Fabien Monteils for stimulating discussions and to Virginie Duvat-Magnan for critical and fruitful participation and advice throughout the process. We deeply appreciate the feedback and participation of fishers and fishworkers from Golfo Dulce, members of FENOPEA, represented by their corresponding fishers association officers (Victor Julio Rocha, Manuel Ramón Loaiza, Benancio Martínez Sanabria, William Mata, Juan Jiménez, Emiliano González, Cirilo Quintero, Juan Eduardo Barroso, Maximiliano Guerrero) and other non-associated fishers (the Sanabria family). From Tárcoles and Palito, we would like to thank David Chacón and María Eugenia, Gabriel Cruz, Esteban García, Osvaldo Sequeira and Liliana Martínez. We especially acknowledge the Loaiza family for sharing their home to Luc Fargier. Other people that helped in the data gathering or participatory processes are Iván Pérez Rubio, Annabelle Espinoza Ovares, Georgina Moreira Quesada, Sonia Vargas, Ana Lucía Gutiérrez Espeleta, Thomas Poirout, Zoé Glénard, Sarah Fery, Jean Baptiste Livenais, Mickael Mora Arias, Erick Vindas. The authors would like to sincerely thank the thorough anonymous reviewers for their comments that helped improve the manuscript. Thanks also to our families, friends& BGB. Welcome Natty! We would finally like to salute Macho Pulpo, Tchuss and Nicolas.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luc Fargier
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hans J. Hartmann
    • 1
  • Helena Molina-Ureña
    • 2
  1. 1.UMR 7266 LIENSs (Research Center for Coasts, Environment and Societies)Université de La Rochelle (ULR)La RochelleFrance
  2. 2.CIMAR (Research Center in Marine Sciences and Limnology)Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)San JoséCosta Rica

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