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From policy instruments to action arenas: toward robust fisheries and adaptive fishing households in southwest Nova Scotia

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The coastal fishing community of Barrington, Southwest Nova Scotia (SWNS), has depended on the resilience of ocean ecosystems and resource-based economic activities for centuries. But while many coastal fisheries have

The coastal fishing community of Barrington, Southwest Nova Scotia (SWNS), has depended on the resilience of ocean ecosystems and resource-based economic activities for centuries. But while many coastal fisheries have developed unique ways to govern their resources, global environmental and economic change presents new challenges. In this study, I examine the multi-species fishery of Barrington. My objective was to understand what makes the fishery and its governance system robust to economic and ecological change, what makes fishing households vulnerable, and how household vulnerability and system level robustness interact. I addressed these these questions by focusing on action arenas, their contexts, interactions and outcomes. I used a combination of case comparisons, ethnography, surveys, quantitative and qualitative analysis to understand what influences action arenas in Barrington, Southwest Nova Scotia (SWNS). I found that robustness of the fishery at the system level depended on the strength of feedback between the operational level, where resource users interact with the resource, and the collective-choice level, where agents develop rules to influence fishing behavior. Weak feedback in Barrington has precipitated governance mismatches. At the household level, accounts from harvesters, buyers and experts suggested that decision-making arenas lacked procedural justice. Households preferred individual strategies to acquire access to and exploit fisheries resources. But the transferability of quota and licenses has created divisions between haves and have-nots. Those who have lost their traditional access to other species, such as cod, halibut, and haddock, have become highly dependent on lobster. Based on regressions and multi-criteria decision analysis, I found that new entrants in the lobster fishery needed to maintain high effort and catches to service their debts. But harvesters who did not enter the race for higher catches were most sensitive to low demand and low prices for lobster. This study demonstrates the importance of combining multiple methods and theoretical approaches to avoid tunnel vision in fisheries policy.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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The ecology of the plankton communities of two desert reservoirs

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In 2010, a monthly sampling regimen was established to examine ecological differences in Saguaro Lake and Lake Pleasant, two Central Arizona reservoirs. Lake Pleasant is relatively deep and clear, while

In 2010, a monthly sampling regimen was established to examine ecological differences in Saguaro Lake and Lake Pleasant, two Central Arizona reservoirs. Lake Pleasant is relatively deep and clear, while Saguaro Lake is relatively shallow and turbid. Preliminary results indicated that phytoplankton biomass was greater by an order of magnitude in Saguaro Lake, and that community structure differed. The purpose of this investigation was to determine why the reservoirs are different, and focused on physical characteristics of the water column, nutrient concentration, community structure of phytoplankton and zooplankton, and trophic cascades induced by fish populations. I formulated the following hypotheses: 1) Top-down control varies between the two reservoirs. The presence of piscivore fish in Lake Pleasant results in high grazer and low primary producer biomass through trophic cascades. Conversely, Saguaro Lake is controlled from the bottom-up. This hypothesis was tested through monthly analysis of zooplankton and phytoplankton communities in each reservoir. Analyses of the nutritional value of phytoplankton and DNA based molecular prey preference of zooplankton provided insight on trophic interactions between phytoplankton and zooplankton. Data from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) provided information on the fish communities of the two reservoirs. 2) Nutrient loads differ for each reservoir. Greater nutrient concentrations yield greater primary producer biomass; I hypothesize that Saguaro Lake is more eutrophic, while Lake Pleasant is more oligotrophic. Lake Pleasant had a larger zooplankton abundance and biomass, a larger piscivore fish community, and smaller phytoplankton abundance compared to Saguaro Lake. Thus, I conclude that Lake Pleasant was controlled top-down by the large piscivore fish population and Saguaro Lake was controlled from the bottom-up by the nutrient load in the reservoir. Hypothesis 2 stated that Saguaro Lake contains more nutrients than Lake Pleasant. However, Lake Pleasant had higher concentrations of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus than Saguaro Lake. Additionally, an extended period of low dissolved N:P ratios in Saguaro Lake indicated N limitation, favoring dominance of N-fixing filamentous cyanobacteria in the phytoplankton community in that reservoir.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011