Illegal fisheries, environmental crime, and the conservation of marine resources.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The illegal harvest of marine species within exclusive economic zones can have a strong impact on the function of local ecosystems and livelihoods of coastal communities. The complexity of these problems is often overlooked in the development of solutions, leading to ineffective and sometimes harmful social and environmental outcomes. One-dimensional, oversimplified perspectives can lead to conservation prescriptions that exacerbate social stressors. This is particularly critical in the case of international illegal trade of endangered, high-value species, which generate a value chain in which artisanal fishers are the first operational and often the weakest link of an intricate web. We examined 2 illegal fisheries, totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) and sea cucumber (Isostichopus badionotus and Holothuria floridana), in Mexico. Although these are 2 separate and independent fisheries, important ecological (resource condition, fishery impacts at the ecosystem level) and social (governance, markets) similarities improve understanding of their complexity. Our findings are relevant globally and show the need for interdisciplinary decision-making groups, community engagement, and the development of demand reduction measures.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Aceves-Bueno, E; Read, AJ; Cisneros-Mata, MA

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1120 - 1129

PubMed ID

  • 33270279

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1523-1739

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0888-8892

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/cobi.13674


  • eng