Kendra Thomas Travaille
Thesis: Governing change in fishery systems: the effects of social-ecological context on improvement project outcomes in two Caribbean spiny lobster fisheries
My research interests include the role of market-based approaches for improving fisheries sustainability, governing fisheries as complex social-ecological systems, and expanding the use of social science methods for fisheries management and science.
My current research examines at how the success of a formal fishery improvement project is affected by local social-ecological context and fishery conditions. This project looks in detail at the improvement project process in two fisheries: The Bahamas spiny lobster fishery and the Honduras spiny lobster fishery. These fisheries have a number of similarities and differences that facilitate a comparative assessment of the improvement project process in different social-ecological settings. Using a mixed-methods approach, this project aims to identify stakeholder relationships and attitudes and assess how they affect the collaborative governance process; assess the governability of each fishery based on its social-ecological attributes and the governance system used in the improvement project; analyse the interactions and feedbacks between a fishery's social and ecological systems and assess the influence of these relationships on the coupled-system’s potential for change.
Why my research is important
Sustainable fisheries contribute not only to a healthy marine environment but also ensure the future of the wild capture fishing industry, which millions of people around the world depend on for their livelihood. Unfortunately, many fisheries are currently operating unsustainably, resulting in irreversible impacts on fish stocks, the wider ecosystem, economic development and social wellbeing.
With over 100 projects currently underway around the world, fishery improvement projects (FIPs) are a promising tool for improving global fisheries sustainability; however, many of these projects have struggled to achieve their goals – particularly in the developing world. The outcomes from my research will help the fishing industry, fishery managers, researchers and project sponsors to better understand how a fishery’s context and settings influence the utility, effectiveness and success of these projects. This knowledge can help provide for better selection and design of future improvement projects throughout the developing world, where they are most needed.