Abstract for: Resilience, Environmental Variability, and Institutions in a Multi-Species Artisanal Fishery

Social-ecological resilience is an increasingly central paradigm for understanding sustainable resource management. While previous works on resilience have observed that sudden shocks or gradual stressors may force a system over a critical threshold, natural variations may have similar results. This paper aims to better understand the effect of environmental variability on the resilience of fishery systems, and the important role that social institutions play. To explore these issues, we build a System Dynamics Model of the mollusc fishery of the indigenous Seri people in the Gulf of California, Mexico. This model includes the dynamics of the two dominant species of penn shell in the fishery (Atrina tuberculosa and Pinna rugosa), several institutional rules that the Seri use, and a number of key stochastic variables derived from empirical data. We find that modeling with multiple species, rather than the standard one-species model, uncovers more resilience in the system. However, while we expected stochasticity to be detrimental to resilience, we find that endogenous environmental variability can also increase resilience. We examine possible reasons for this finding, and discuss additional insights our study revealed about managing multiple-species artisanal fisheries.