Cat Harbour Cod Fishery, Newfoundland, Canada

Resource System
Marine ecosystem and food web
Resource Units
Cod (lobster, salmon, and seal)

Cat Harbour (now known as Lumsden) was a rural fishing community located on a peninsula stretching into the Atlantic off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The original case study is based on fieldwork conducted from 1964-1965 and catalogues an action situation involving 72 active fishermen during the summer cod-trapping season and 38 active fishermen exploiting the late summer/fall cod fishing grounds. The community is described as homogenous and egalitarian with a pronounced absence of clearly defined authority positions and a lack of local government. Informal rules act to suppress the accumulation of power by individuals and enforce a view of any outsider as untrustworthy and dangerous. There is evidence that traditional forms of resource exploitation and social structure are increasingly being undermined by exogenous factors. These changes are anticipated to accelerate due to the proposed relocation of the community by the Canadian government. The resource system is the marine ecosystem and food web from which the following resource units flow and are appropriated: cod and to a lesser degree, lobster, salmon, and seal.

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 the CPR tab in the Institutional Analysis section below.