Small but strong: socioeconomic and ecological resilience of a small European fishing community affected by a submarine volcanic eruption

Publicado el: 19 de mayo de 2022, por :
Small but strong: socioeconomic and ecological resilience of a small European fishing community affected by a submarine volcanic eruption
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Ocean and Coastal Management, 223 (2022): 106124

Small-scale coastal fishing communities are facing many new challenges, such as rapid ecological changes created by anthropogenic and natural events like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. This paper explores how a coastal population has responded to such an event and highlights the diverse coping strategies used to tackle it. This research was conducted on the island of El Hierro (Spain), where a submarine volcanic eruption occurred in 2011, affecting a multiple-use Marine Protected Area (MPA) and the nearby fishing community of La Restinga. Our study illustrates how the local population coped with this situation by combining multiple monetary and non-monetary activities (e.g., informal exchanges) as well as the role of institutions in increasing local resilience by supporting fishers’ demands and allowing their participation in the decision-making process in the immediate wake of a catastrophic event. Local families also exploited various natural resources in and near the MPA, thus ensuring access to crucial marine resources and continued recreational/cultural services. The results suggest that collective action played a key role in the recovery process after the eruption, creating some advantages for different local groups despite the hazardous nature of the event.