socioeconomic aspects of coastal resource use

Joshua Cinner jcin5062 at
Sat Jan 22 18:56:08 EST 2000

Dear coral-listers,
About a year ago I wrote to you all regarding my master's thesis research on
the relationship between socioeconomic variables (wealth, education,
etc.) and coastal resource use.  The numerous responses I received were very
supportive and helpful.  Many of you also asked me to share my results.  
Well, I am still analyzing my data but have come across a number of
relationships between the way people use and perceive coastal resources and
their socioeconomic characteristics.  While I examined perceptions regarding a
number of issues, I would like to share some of my findings regarding use and
perception of coral reefs in hopes that the feedback I receive from this multi
disciplinary forum will provide some interpretations of the data that I have
not yet considered.  I am most interested in what the significance of these
findings might mean to various disciplines, and what types of integrated
management strategies could be developed based upon these relationships.
In short, my research was conducted in a tiny coastal village in the southern
Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.  The fishery is primarily focused on coral reef
fish, utilizing gill nets, spear guns, hook and line, and palangre (a multiple
hook long line system typically fished at about 300 feet deep and outside the
reef).  My interviews were long and intensive, so my sample size is relatively
small (N=40).  An important note is that socioeconomic variables are not
significantly correlated to eachother (i.e. wealthier respondents do not
necessarily have more education, etc).

Regarding the use of the fishery, I found three statistically significant
1) People utilizing spear guns are younger than people that do not.  Not a
surprise considering that I saw them dive to 100 feet without tanks.
2) People that spend more time on the coast (recorded in days per month) tend
to utilize nets.
3) Wealthier people (measured on an emically derived scale that ranks the
presence or absence of household items) are more likely to use palangre

Regarding perceptions about coral reefs- respondents were asked several open
ended questions regarding the state of the reef, the future of the reef, and
what actvities affect the reef.  The significant relationships are below:
1) respondents with more education are more likely to claim that tourism
affects coral reefs
2) wealthier respondents are more likely to:
        a) claim that tourism affects coral reefs
        b) claim that ships (spilled oil, anchors, groundings, etc.) affect
coral reefs
        c) claim that the future of coral reefs is dependent upon human
intervention (development, conservation initiatives, etc.)
3) poorer respondents are more likely to:
        a) claim that the reef is in poor codition
        b) claim that the future of the reef will be worse in 5 years

So....  If any of these findings are of interest to you guys, I would love to
hear your opinions on how you might interpret these data and how they could be
applied to a management perspective.  I would also appreciate recommendations
of any literature that either supports or contradicts my findings.  
Joshua Cinner
2550 Kingstown Rd.
Kingston, RI
(401) 792-7166
jcin5062 at 
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