San Pedro Fishery, Belize

Resource System
Multispecies Coastal Fishery.
Resource Units
Spiny lobster; Conch; Scale Fish; Shrimp

     San Pedro, Belize is an island village of approximately 1,200 residents in 1979. Located off the coast of Belize in a strategic place on Ambergris Cay it is close to abundant local fishing and has easy access to nearby commercial markets (Belize city, Corozal, and Chetumal). The fishing cooperative, Caribena Cooperative Limited, was San Pedro’s official fishing organization handling capture, processing and sale of the village’s primary resource: marine produce consisting of Spiny Lobster, Conch, Scale Fish, and Shrimp. The original case was studied from February 1977 to August 1979.

     The key natural infrastructure in the system consists of open expanses of water around San Pedro and along the coastline, areas around the barrier reef, which is between 3/4 to 3 miles from San Pedro, and areas of water around several islands that are located beyond the barrier reef (between 30-120 miles further). The institutional boundary is natural and artificial including coastline and open expanses of water, as well as customs, and traditional usage. The key common pool natural infrastructure relevant to the commons dilemma is marine produce consisting primarily of Spiny Lobster, and also Conch, Scale Fish, and Shrimp. San Pedro fishery is an example of a struggling  but a successful case study for institutional analysis which, require extensive collaborative work of the members in order to overcome market and public infrastructure challenges.

     This case study is part of the original Common-Pool Resource (CPR) database. A summary of the original CPR coding conducted in the 1980s by Edella Schlager and Shui Yan Tang at Indiana University may be found under institutional analysis > CPR.

     The San Pedro case study is closely related to another case in the SES Library titled "Caye Caulker Lobsterfishing." These two cases share overlpaing resource and poltical systems.  See Related Studies and Models.