The underlying dynamics of inequality remain key interactions to be captured in today´s fishery management models. Environmental variability amplifies inequality and poverty in fishery livelihoods. Inequality in small-scale fisheries is often influenced by social and commercial relationships. The dynamics between environmental variability and relationships on inequality in fisheries are not included in models for fisheries management. Here we show that driven by oceanographic variability multi-level links between target species, traders and fishers, determine inequality outcomes in the Mexican Humboldt squid fishery. We demonstrate that development programs based on models ignoring these multi-level links can increase inequality between fishers and traders. Traders cooperate to set prices for fishers in the historical center of the fishery. Squids migrate in the transition from La Nina to El Nino years introducing traders to new commercial contexts where they are unable to set prices. Increasing domestic demand to develop the squid fishery, reinforces existing inequalities, because traders capture the benefits in the current commercial context. Our results demonstrate the mechanisms through which distribution of benefits are catalyzed by both commercial relationships and oceanographic variability and thus affect inequality and poverty in fisheries. Development programs informed by models for fisheries management that assume away multi-level links can lead to adverse inequality outcomes. We anticipate our model to be a starting point to expand existing fishery models with the interactions between social and commerical context of fishers and environmental change.
Methods: Dynamic Systems Modeling/Bio-economic Modeling
People: Laura Elsler, Maja Schlüter
Funding: MuSES, Mistra, GRAID
Keyword: multi-level interactions, social-ecological model, trade relationships, complexity, inequality in fisheries, fisheries sustainability, seafood trade, international markets, fisheries collapse