The Aftermath of Hurricane María on Puerto Rican Small-Scale Fisheries

Juan J. Agar, Manoj Shivlani, Daniel Matos-Caraballo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In September 2017, Hurricane María hit the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico threatening the economic and social viability of small-scale fisheries. This study describes the main results of a rapid socio-economic assessment of the storm’s impacts one year after it made landfall. María caused commercial landings to fall by 20% owing to the loss of productive assets, extended power outages, and the loss of customers. Most of the fishing activity recovered when electric service became widely available, particularly in the metropolitan area. The small-scale fisheries lost $17.8 million, excluding post-harvest impacts. Damaged fishing capital (vessel, engine, gear) and shoreside infrastructure accounted for 51% of the losses and forgone fishing revenue for the remaining 49%. The east coast was the hardest hit accounting for 48% of the domestic landing losses. Traps, handlines, and commercial diving suffered the most losses. Fishers reported losing 70% of their traps and having to dive in deeper waters for queen conch. Other than switching landing and marketing sites, few fishers changed their fishing and fishing-related practices probably because these were tuned to local ecological conditions and occupational multiplicity strategies. The study also found that bonding and bridging social capital contributed to the recovery of fishers’ livelihoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-397
Number of pages20
JournalCoastal Management
Volume48
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2020

Keywords

  • Hurricane María
  • Puerto Rico
  • small-scale fisheries
  • social capital
  • socio-economic impacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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