Small-scale fish buyers' trade networks reveal diverse actor types and differential adaptive capacities

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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. The importance of understanding how social-ecological interdependencies deriving from global trade influence sustainability has been argued for decades. Even if substantial progress has been made, a research gap remains regarding how the adaptability of small-scale fish buyers, whose daily operations have implications for the livelihood of more than 100 million people, are affected by networks of trade relationships. Adaptability is here defined as fish buyers´ abilities to adapt using their relationships with others. We elaborate how these capacities relate to the precise patterns in which a fish buyer is entangled with other fish buyers, with the fishers, and with the targeted fish species, by combining a multilevel social-ecological network model with empirical data from a small-scale fishery in Mexico. Further, we also identify types of fish buyers distinguishable by how they operate, and how they are embedded in the trading network. Our results suggest that adaptability differs substantially amongst these types, thus implying that fish buyers' abilities to respond to changes are unevenly distributed. This study demonstrates the need for a more profound understanding of the consequences of the different ways in which fish buyers operate commercially, and how these operations are affected by patterns of social and social-ecological interdependencies.





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González-Mon, B, Ö Bodin, B Crona, M Nenadovic and X Basurto (2019). Small-scale fish buyers' trade networks reveal diverse actor types and differential adaptive capacities. Ecological Economics, 164. pp. 106338–106338. 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.05.018 Retrieved from

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Xavier Basurto

Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown & Sons Associate Professor

I am interested in the fundamental question of how groups (human and non-human) can find ways to self-organize, cooperate, and engage in successful collective action for the benefit of the common good. To do this I strive to understand how the institutions (formal and informal rules and norms) that govern social behavior, interplay with biophysical variables to shape social-ecological systems. What kind of institutions are better able to govern complex-adaptive systems? and how can societies (large and small) develop robust institutions that provide enough flexibility for collective learning and adaptation over the long-term?

My academic and professional training is based on a deep conviction that it is through integrating different disciplinary perspectives and methods that we will be able to find solutions to challenging dilemmas in natural resources management, conservation, and environmental policy. Trained as a marine biologist, I completed a M.S in natural resources studying small-scale fisheries in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Realizing the need to bring social science theories into my work on common-pool resources sustainability, I earned an MPA and a Ph.D. in Management (with a minor in cultural anthropology) from the University of Arizona and under the supervision of Edella Schlager. Following I spent two years working with Elinor Ostrom, 2009 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, at the Workshop for Political Theory and Policy Analysis of Indiana University. Methodologically, I am familiar with a variety of quantitative and qualitative approaches and formally trained to conduct Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA or more recently fsQCA), that allows among other things, systematic comparisons of middle range N sample sizes and address issues of multiple-causality.

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