Critical understanding of territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs) are examined through the lens of research on the fishing cooperatives of the northern Pacific coast of Mexico. I contend that the argument for TURFs is problematic in implying that closing access, excluding others
from a territory or resources, provides the basis for adopting measures that lead to sustained use and stewardship, or conservation. The success that the fishing cooperatives of the area have achieved in co-managing their lobster fisheries is indeed due in part to the concession system that
allocates exclusive territorial use rights to individual cooperatives. But that is only one part of a complex bundle of institutional and resource features of the TURFs that contribute to their success. Further analysis shows that the concession fisheries fit well-known criteria for successful
small-scale "commons" management. However, the risk of over-simplification remains. The functioning and achievements of the cooperatives are also very specific to local histories, ecologies, and the larger socio-political environment, which calls for greater depth and interdisciplinarity in
analysis and application.
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Document Type: Research Article
Rutgers University, Human Ecology, 55 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901;, Email: [email protected]
Publication date: January 1, 2017
This article was made available online on August 12, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Territorial use rights in fisheries of the northern Pacific coast of Mexico".
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The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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