21 Sep 2015
Fisher’s Perceptions of Long-Term Coastal Exploitation and Tourism Development at Holbox Island
Human Perceptions of Coastal Exploitation and Landscape Use in Mexico's Caribbean Islands with Growing Tourism Economies
Document long-term coastal exploitation in the North Coast of Quintana Roo through interdisciplinary research that integrates fishers’ traditional knowledge. Our results will provide guidelines for developing policies focused on sustainably managing coastal resources in this region.
Overfishing is a dire problem for artisanal fisheries globally. The status of many artisanal fisheries worldwide is unknown because of scant long-term and current data. A historical perspective has helped to broaden some fisheries manager’s views regarding potential limits to sustainable fisheries as a function of population size, culture, technology and area exploited; and understanding recovery times for marine populations.
This perspective is timely for the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, since overexploitation of coastal fisheries and large-scale tourism has anthropized and disrupted the long-term relationship native people had with the sea. Here, fishing and maritime commerce has existed since Pre-Columbian times.
This project will document current and past coastal exploitation in the Yum Balam Natural Protected Area, which harbors Isla Holbox and the Mesoamerican Coral Reef. Our methods include an interdisciplinary approach to data collection that integrates ecological, historical, and archaeological data on coastal exploitation, together with traditional fishers’ knowledge, collected through surveys.
Although ecotourism exists in the region, large-scale tourism and increasing fishing effort represent future regional threats. Our results will be open-access through an online repository and will provide guidelines for developing policies focused on sustainably managing coastal fisheries and landscapes in the Yum Balam Natural Protected Area. We will disseminate our results with the Isla Holbox and Chiquila fishing communities by developing informative workshops in collaboration with the Yum Balam Natural Protected Area office.