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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Science
Title Agro-pastoralists turned fishermen: Socio-economic and environmental changes in the buffer zone of Coiba National Park, Panama.
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
URL http://webpages.mcgill.ca/staff/deptshare/FAES/066-Bioresource/Theses/theses/333PhilippeCrete2006/33​3PhilippeCrete2006.pdf
In upcoming decades, the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources
will become a major political and environmental challenge, as two-thirds of the world’s
population lives in coastal zones. The issue will likely become more problematic in
developing countries, where an important number of coastal inhabitants still rely on marginal
extractive activities such as fishing, farming and cattle ranching for subsistence, and where
the rural poor’s demand for development often lead to unsustainable extractive practices.
Thus, innovative solutions need to be developed to ensure the long-term conservation and
sound management of marine and coastal resources. This Masters thesis addresses the case of
Coiba National Park, a marine protected area located in the Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama, and its
relationship with coastal fishing and farming communities located at its outskirt. Particularly,
this thesis aims to discover the drivers that pushed an important number of coastal agropastoralists
of Coiba National Park’s buffer zone to switch to artisanal fishing over the past
three decades, and to determine the social, economic, and environmental impacts that resulted
from that switch. In addition, this thesis analyses the relationship between Coiba National
Park’s authorities and buffer zone communities, and how this relationship has evolved over
the years as more and more resource-users exploit the marine resources of the park. Finally,
this work analyses Coiba National Park’s current management strategy, how park authorities
have been able to adapt their planning and management activities over the years, and explores
alternatives to improve Coiba National Park’s management strategy so that it can better adapt
to the ever changing social, economic, and environmental conditions in which Coiba National
Park’s buffer zone operates.

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