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Social networks and fisheries the relationship between a charter fishing network, social capital, and catch dynamics

Social networks and fisheries the relationship between a charter fishing network, social capital, and catch dynamics

North American Journal of Fisheries Management 28(2): 447-462

Interactions among fishery stakeholders can play an important role in mediating against the negative social and ecological consequences of fishery resource use. A number of studies have suggested that individual fishers draw on social relationships to access resources (e.g., fishing-related information) embedded in social systems. Investment in social relationships can enable fishers to better locate and catch their target species, and group enforcement of norms can be used to protect the target resource from overexploitation. We employed observational and survey data collection techniques in assessing the relationship between the social network, social capital, and catch success of charter captains targeting salmonine fishes in a southeast Lake Michigan port. Using KliqueFinder software, we identified the structure of the social network within which charter captains communicated extensively and selectively about finding and catching their target species. We found that factors related to social capital helped inform captains' decisions about when to communicate, whom to communicate with, and whether to provide reliable information. Most captains, regardless of catch success, were cognizant that how they interacted with others affected their access to information and considered factors related to social capital when choosing to engage in informational exchanges. Captains whose catches exceeded the fleet's average catch were key communicators, holding relatively central positions within the social network. We integrate our findings with those of several other well-documented cases to discuss the application of social network and capital theories to contemporary fisheries issues, as well as the potential advantages of viewing fisheries through a social network perspective.

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Accession: 033419166

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DOI: 10.1577/m07-016.1

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