Artisanal green turtle fishery in eastern (Caribbean) Nicaragua

Resource System
Tropical coastal marine ecosystem.
Resource Units
endangered green turtles (Chelonia mydas).

The artisanal green turtle fishery is operated by the indigenous Miskito along Nicaragua's eastern (Caribbean) coast between the city of Bluefields in the south and Puerto Cabezas in the north.  The original case study focused on the village of Tasbapauni which is located approximately 40 miles north of the capital Bluefields on a narrow beach separating Pearl Lagoon from the ocean.  The initial report covers a time period from approximately 1968 to 1969, as well as part of 1971, and catalogues an action situation involving 106 turtle fishermen, of which 80 turtled exclusively.  Lack of employment opportunities and high endogenous and exogenous (international) demand for green turtles facilitated overexploitation of the species.  The resource system (natural infrastructure) is the tropical coastal marine ecosystem, including seagrass beds, shoals, turtle banks (shared), and endangered green turtles (common pool).

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.

An update conducted in 2015 examines a time period from 1991 to 2011, and an action situation in which an unknown number of Miskito turtle fishers from several communities along the Nicaraguan Atlantic coast operate a quasi-legal commercial fishery under a domestic subsistence use exception to green turtle protections. Rules limiting green turtle harvesting exist at various government levels but are unenforced.  Lack of alternative employment opportunities, as well as endogenous and exogenous (domestic) demand for green turtles, continue to facilitate overexploitation of this endangered species.