Resilience and collapse of artisanal fisheries: A system dynamics analysis of a shellfish fishery in the Gulf of California, Mexico
Analyzing different pathways by which social - ecological systems can loose resilience and enter trajectories of collapse constitutes an important aspect of our quest towards understanding resource sustainability. This paper's goal was to better understand the effect of a particular class of disturbance - the accumulative effects of routine stressors - in the context of marine social - ecological systems. To that effect, we built a system dynamics model using empirically collected institutional and biological field data of an artisanal fishery in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Among our findings, we identified different scenarios under which even very small endogenous changes in the relationship between ecological and institutional variables can send a seemingly resilient system into a trajectory of collapse. We discuss why these types of disturbances are so difficult to prevent and be identified by the users of the resource, as well as potential strategies to address these challenges. © Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science, United Nations University, and Springer 2009.
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