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The intersection of global trade, social networks, and fisheries”
Kenneth A. Frank

Katrina Mueller

Ann Krause

William Taylor

Nancy Leonard

Direct correspondence to


Ken Frank

Associate Professor of

Measurement and Quantitative Methods

Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education

And

Associate Professor of



Fisheries and Wildlife
Room 460 Erickson Hall

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI 48824-1034

phone: 517-355-9567 fax: 517-353-6393



http://www.msu.edu/~kenfrank/


Globalization and Networks
In this chapter we explore globalization through networks. Of course globalization can be described in terms of networks of trade between countries and as executed by multinational corporations (Breiger 1981;Chase-Dunn and Grimes 1995;Kim and Shin 2002). And fisheries ecosystems have long been characterized in terms of networks of predator and prey relationships between taxon or species (e.g., Cohen, Beaver, and Cousins 1993a;Gaedke 1995;Krause, Frank, Mason, Ulanowicz, and Taylor). But here we will explore how human social networks mediate between global economic exchanges and the dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. Thus we extend critiques of the globalization literature for lack of attention to individual agency (e.g., Schechter 1999, page 62) by calling attention to the effects of human relationships in globalization. Ultimately our focus allows us to integrate theories related to social networks (e.g., social capital) as well as inform policy and management of, and research on, fisheries and their associated ecosystems.
What is globalization?
We define globalization as an increase in the rate of exchange of resources and information across geographic regions and cultures. Though communities have been interdependent through trade as long as people have traversed the oceans, our current awareness of globalization suggests that we are increasingly globalized – that the resources and related actions in distant regions of the world have an unrivaled immediacy in the lives of most people (One World? 1997; Harrison 1996; Kim and Shin 2002). That is, exchanges across vast regions increasingly are realized more rapidly, occur more frequently and require fewer middlemen. Furthermore, actions affecting the environment in one region of the world have increasing implications for those in locales previously considered distant.

With globalization comes an increased distribution of aquatic species (e.g., cod, salmon, tropical fish). This is attributed to increased demand associated with population increases and recognition of aquatic species as a healthy dietary staple or valuable economic resource or status symbol, and with increased technology for preserving and shipping that reduce transportation costs. Furthermore, globalization is associated with increased global trade of non-aquatic resources that can then affect local aquatic ecosystems.

Globalization has generally been associated with changes in aquatic ecosystems (Safina 1998). Many have noted that with globalization, habitats have been destroyed (e.g., the pacific northwest -- Gilden 1999), exotic species have been introduced (e.g., zebra mussels in the Great Lakes – Vanderploeg, Nalepa, Mills, Holeck, Liebig, Grigorvich, and Ojaveer 2002), and fish stocks have been depleted (e.g., cod -- Finlayson and McCay 1998). On the other hand, others argue that changes in ecosystems are primarily due to increased population, and that increases in technology and resource sharing are benefits of globalization because they facilitate more efficient use of aquatic resources (Harding 1969).

In some sense, aquatic systems are no different from land resources, political governance, and other social and biological systems affected by global changes in economic landscapes. And yet our awareness of the link between globalization and aquatic systems is perhaps pronounced because the ships that transport globalized trade come in direct contact with the resource – water. For example, tankers carrying increased oil exports from the Caspian Sea as part of globalization served as a vector for zebra mussel invasions that altered ecosystems in the Great Lakes (e.g., Ricciardi and Rasmussen 1998).

Critically, the theoretical link between globalization and aquatic ecosystems is strikingly distant and a-social. It is as though global forces directly penetrate aquatic ecosystems with little thought regarding how these processes are mediated by human action (Schechter 1999). Thus the zebra mussel invasion is attributed to ballast water and changes in shipping technology and patterns (Ricciardi and Rasmussen 1998), the decline of the cod industry is attributed to increased competition across the Atlantic(Finlayson and McCay 1998), and the decline of the habitats in the Pacific Northwest is attributed to increased demand for salmon and the competition of aquaculture (Finlayson and McCay 1998). In this a-social view, people at best are merely homoeconomicus, rationally reacting en masse to global economic forces beyond their control.

The macro-economic forces described in the preceding paragraph may well cause some changes in aquatic ecosystems. But even when they do so, their effects are transmitted, shaped, and mediated by people. How do the actions of shippers and official monitoring agents contribute to the zebra mussel invasion of the Great Lakes? In the face of global competition and demand, why do some salmon fishers of the Pacific Northwest resort to exploitive fishing techniques such as trawling and cod fishers wipe out the fisheries on the North American eastern seaboard, while the lobster fishers of Maine preserve their fisheries and livelihoods (Acheson 1988, 2002)?

The answers lie in human action, exchange, and relationships as depicted in figure 1. Some have identified formal political institutions that organized societies can implement to control fishing and preserve fisheries and their ecosystems. For example, the Canadian government engaged in extensive efforts to involve cod fishers in assessing the fishing stock and in educating them as to the effects of their actions on the fishing stock (Finlayson and McCay 1998). These formal institutions are represented by the cylinder that contains human relations in figure 1. Others point to collective values and beliefs that govern engagement with aquatic resources. For example, Maine lobster fishers strongly agree with and adhere to the required release of gravid female lobsters, or notched females (previously found to be gravid), in order to lower potential impact on lobster reproduction and sustainability. Similarly, the Chisasibi Cree (of Northern Ontario) hunter’s code speaks strongly against wastage, and tribal leaders discourage overhunting by claiming it represents a lack of respect for caribou (Berkes 1998). Such collective values are represented by the group thought bubble in figure 1.
Insert Figure 1 about here
To these human elements we add networks. Granovetter (1985) argues that economic action is invariably embedded in social relations. This applies across a range of seemingly economic action, from the cozy gem trade embedded in Jewish enclaves in New York (Coleman 1988) to provision of financial support from kin and friends (Wellman and Wortley 1990) to expectedly arms length transactions such as those of French bankers (Frank and Yasumoto 1998). These networks are represented by the lines connecting the actors in figure 1. A key point here is that networks are ubiquitous, existing wherever a relation between two actors is possible, and, at the same time, they are not as tangible as the written documents of formal political institutions or the aggregate of perceptions defining collective values and beliefs.

If networks are ubiquitous and yet ephemeral, how can we use the metaphor and idea of networks to understand human action? A corollary of Granovetter’s thesis is that the underlying structure of the social network will affect how a social system reacts to external changes and disturbances (e.g., Frank and Fahrbach 1999). As a general example, internal fragmentation is likely to be exacerbated by an increased rate of external disturbances. As a particular example, existing social cleavages based on location and type of gear (trawling versus trolling) among fishers in the Pacific Northwest were exacerbated by increased global competition (Gilden 1999);. As a second general example, highly centralized networks may effectively diffuse information but may be susceptible to extreme variability when central actors are exposed to frequent external changes. In a particular of this example, the tribal leaders of the Chisasibi may be able to disseminate information and control behavior quickly, but rapid changes in the social system can occur with a changeover in tribal leadership. Most generally, the social structure of any system can be understood as one form of systemic response to forces that place uneven stress on the members of the system.

The embeddedness of economic transactions in interpersonal networks plays a particularly important role in light of globalization. When previously local exchange comes to include distant participants the market is expanded beyond the realm of the local social network. As a result, information is critical to new transactions in the market (Granovetter 1985; Burt 2000). And yet information is particularly limited because of the distance between the trading parties and the lack of mediators of information. Furthermore, exchanges between distant parties may be unstable to the extent that there is not a long history of exchange and the parties are of different cultures and are exposed to different economic influences (Krempel and Plumper 2003).

When information is limited and conditions are unstable, exchange tends to become more embedded in social networks because others in the network can provide unique and valuable information or access to resources as a form of insurance in case of catastrophe (Granovetter 1975; Frank and Yasumoto 1998; Lin 2001). This suggests a paradox of globalization; globalization implies economic exchange between geographically, culturally and socially distant parties, yet globalization accentuates the extent to which such exchanges are embedded in interpersonal social networks. This is not to say that exchange will be concentrated within local communities when external opportunities present themselves. Instead how local actors participate in globalized trade will be contingent on local networks.

The link between globalization and local networks follows naturally from the recognition that globalization and ecosystems can be described in network terms. That is, if globalization is a set of international trade and exchange relationships among countries or corporate actors, and if an ecosystem encompasses a set of predatory/competitive relationships among taxon as in a food web, then links between these two networks must be mediated by a set of actors who engage in the relationships associated with globalization and who also interact with the ecosystem. And these actors and their relationships typically consist of people who extract resources from aquatic ecosystems and then enter them into the system of potentially international trade. Thus the network approach can bridge the distinction between ecological and social science (Hollingshead 1940). Pragmatically, the network approach informs management, for which there is an emerging recognition to understand and engage resource users in their social contexts (Berkes and Folke 1998; Blumenthal and Jannink 2000; Conway and others; Holling 1995; Lal, Lim-Applegate, and Scoccimarro 2001; Lee 1993; McDonough, Cobb, and Holecek 1987).

In the next section we will explore in theory how small, local, human networks affect the way in which social systems use and impact aquatic resources in the face of globalization. We will then present three case studies that typify some of the processes we describe. We then present a set of analytic tools that might be applied to study how social capital is manifest through social networks of fishers. In the conclusion we emphasize the need to understand human action in terms of human social networks and draw implications for fisheries managers and scientists.


Social Capital of Human Networks

We use social capital to explore how resources flow through human networks. Social capital can be defined as the potential to access resources through social relations (Bourdieu 1986;Coleman 1988; Lin 2001; Portes, 1998; Putnam 2000; Woolcock 1998)1. Thus a new lobster fisher may draw on his family’s longstanding presence in the community to access important information to improve his catch, a fisher’s wife may draw on her relationship for financial support or child care while her husband is at sea (Conway, Gilden, and Zvonkovic), or a cod fisher may draw on kinship ties to share gear (Faris 1972).

Though stated at the level of the individual, the manifestation of social capital has implications for how communities manage common resources. When members of a community share resources through social relations they reduce the need to invest in the infrastructure of other institutions (e.g., a legal system, formal organizations and formal markets) that would otherwise be required to facilitate the flow of resources (Coleman 1990). This is especially important for small fishing communities that may have limited resources.

Because social capital applies at multiple levels of social organization (Bourdieu 1986; Coleman 1990; 1Gabbay and Leenders, 1999) it has important potential for policy and management. On one hand, social capital attends to the rationality of resource allocations among individuals. But it also speaks to systemic properties that can facilitate such allocations. Thus though the theory of social capital has important value for basic research, in the last section we will draw on the social capital paradigm to help managers help members of communities manage common resources.

Manifestation of social capital also accentuates the value of social relationships. Thus when members of a community access resources through social relations they come to identify more strongly with others with whom they have social relationships, and potentially the community in which the relationships are embedded (Frank 2002; Lawler and Yoon 1998). In turn they are more inclined to extract natural resources with an appreciation for the general value of the resource to the community. Thus communities which cultivate social capital may engage in what Hardin (1968) referred to as “mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon” action, and which can reduce potential tragedies of the commons (Dietz, Ostrom, and Stern 2003; Pretty 2003).

Nested in their small communities, fishers are very aware of the functions of social capital, even if they do not call it that by name. For example, the Scarlet family of merchants was highly successful among the cod fishers because John Scarlet valued the social obligation of his customers as much as their immediate cash (Faris 1972, chapter 9, especially pages 122-125). For example, he would forego immediate payment for equipment he lent in exchange for a future favor. This is a critical practice because the vicissitudes of the fishing industry sometimes leave fishers low on cash. Reflecting appreciation for the role of social capital in protecting the common resource, members of lobster gangs who cut the traps of encroaching gangs or individuals are at minimum condoned by others, who recognize that such behavior may help sustain the fishery and lobster stock (Acheson 1988).

Because social capital inheres in networks (indeed Burt, 2000, refers to social capital as the “killer application” for social network analysis), it suggests we pay special attention to the network structures of the social systems we study. In particular, we will attend to the tendency for social systems to be comprised of cohesive subgroups – sets of actors who interact frequently with one another.

Classic sociological theory describes people as establishing primary affiliations with members of their subunit, while uniquely defining their roles through ties with members of other subunits (Durkheim 1933; Granovetter 1973; Nadel 1957; Simmel 1955; Weber 1947). Similarly, ecosystems have been conceptualized as divided into a set of integrated trophic levels or compartments (Bendix and Fisher 1961;Cohen, Beaver, and Cousins 1993b; May 1973), which then mediate the effects of external perturbance. As examples, kinship relations of Cod fishermen are concentrated within crowds (Faris 1972) and longstanding social relationships among lobster fishermen are concentrated within gangs (Acheson 1988, 2003). Note though that cohesive subgroups represent the general sociological term defined exclusively in terms of the pattern of interaction, whereas crowds and gangs also derive from biological relationships and common land ownership.

Theories of social capital then suggest that the form of social capital will vary with distribution of relationships within and between cohesive subgroups (e.g., Frank and Yasumoto 1998; Lin 2001). Subgroups in which relationships are concentrated are most helpful in preventing catastrophic loss when disaster strikes. For example, a cod fisher caught in a storm is most likely to be rescued by members of his crowd (Faris 1972), or a lobster fisher who cannot fish due to personal illness or tragedy is most likely to receive economic help and emotional support from members of his gang (this may even include abstinence from fishing for a short period to protect the market– Acheson 1988). Critically, social capital operates through the network, as members of the crowd or gang who fail to provide help will themselves be ostracized. Portes and Sensenbrenner (1993) refer to social capital that inheres amidst dense social ties within subgroups enforceable trust, while others refer to this as bonding social capital (Gittell and Vidal 1998; Putnam 2000).

On the other hand, members of a social system who are outside one’s subgroup can provide unique information or resources that are critical to advancement (Burt 1992; Frank and Yasumoto 1998; Granovetter 1975; Lin 2001). As examples, John Scarlet expanded his business as a distributor of cod by taking over a store in a nearby town, thus gaining access to new customers (Faris 1972); and charter captains may communicate with captains not in their primary information-sharing subgroup to gain access to new information or gain favor with members of a more successful fishing subgroups (Mueller 2004). Here, membership in a loose social network insures that the boundary spanner will be treated reasonably fairly and will make moderate investments in the larger community, a form of social capital that Portes and Sensenbrenner describe as reciprocity transactions; the entrepreneur must give as much as he gets, although the network allows the reciprocity to be delayed over time. This is sometimes referred to as bridging social capital (Gittell and Vidal 1998; Putnam 2000).

Current theories of social capital suggest people have the most advantage and systems are the most efficient in terms of taking advantage of opportunities and distributing resources when both forms of social capital are present (Frank and Yasumoto 1998; Gittell and Vidal 1998; Lin 2001; Putnam 2000; Woolcock 1998). Individuals can limit the effects of catastrophes by drawing on bonding social capital and can advance themselves by drawing on bridging social capital. At the system level, core components are sustained through bonding social capital while integration of the system as a whole is accomplished through bridging social capital. Thus systems that contain both types of social capital have mechanisms for resisting the negative effects of external disturbances while taking advantage of the positive opportunities made possible by external change.

The theory of social capital pertains directly to resource flow within social systems. But for communities of fishers the resources come directly from aquatic ecosystems for which there may be global competition. Furthermore the resources may well then become part of a global exchange and are affected by global disturbances. Thus in the next section we draw on the theories of social capital to explore how human networks mediate between global exchange and aquatic ecosystems.


Mediation Between Global Exchange and Aquatic Ecosystems through Social Capital
The social capital that inheres in the networks of local fishing communities mediates between global events and aquatic ecosystems in three ways. First, the distribution of social capital affects how local fishing communities react to the increased competition that emerges with globalization. Second, distribution of social capital affects how local fishers engage in exchange with members of the global marketplace. Third, distribution of social capital shapes how fishers relate to a general increase in external disturbances (such as changes in climate, other economic conditions or the rise in ecological concerns) generated by globalization. Below we characterize each of these mediating mechanisms through case studies. Importantly, the case studies feature a range of communities in terms of size, technology, economic development and aquatic environments. However the critical feature in each of these studies is how these other factors may affect social networks and social capital that then mediates between global events and aquatic ecosystems.
Globalization and Increased Competition
To describe how existing social structures affect the reaction of local communities to increased competition, we contrast the experiences of cod and lobster fisher on the eastern Atlantic seaboard of North America. The following is based on Mayo and O'Brien for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/sos/spsyn/pg/cod/). A key feature of the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in contrast to the American lobster (Homarus americanus), is their range and mobility. Atlantic cod that inhabit polar waters in the summer and autumn migrate to more southerly and deeper waters in winter and spring, while cod summering in Nantucket Shoals region overwinter along the New Jersey coast. Some cod move considerable distances in search of food or in response to overcrowding at certain spawning grounds.

In an early example of globalization, improved technology (i.e., the factory freeze-trawler) in the 1960’s made it possible for boats to weather the great storms and cold of the North Atlantic and thus to catch, process, preserve, and distribute cod caught off the shores of North America to Europe and the Soviet Union (Finlayson and McCay 1998, page 316). Increased demand for cod and limited local supplies made it profitable to do so. Thus large-scale economic forces induced competition for cod between North American fisher and the fisher of the world.

But while the increased competition to supply the market was a manifestation of globalization, the reaction of the local cod fisher was an expression of the local social network and institutions (Finlayson and McCay 1998). Consider the cod fishers of Cat Harbour, Maine, as one particular example (Faris 1972). There were deep social divisions among these fishers that emerged out of historical divisions between the French and English and between Catholics and Protestants. These divisions translated into divisions between communities and even within communities between kin-based crowds or clans defined by proximity of their “gardens,” or plots of land. Even the ties between members of a crowd or clan frayed when co-owned fishing gear was not required to fish. Thus the dense social relations required for bonding social capital were compromised.

Given their social structure, the cod fishers of Cat Harbour relied upon an unaffiliated merchant, John Scarlet, to negotiate exchange (giving this merchant extreme status in the community). Thus the fishers did not have a strong base of social capital on which to draw to combat global competition (although their cod economy positioned the merchants to take advantage of a global marketplace). Instead the cod fishers generally relied on the Canadian government to protect the waters against outside forces (Finlayson and McCay 1998, pages 316-318); to protect their fishers, the Canadian government enacted a 200 mile zone of exclusive fisheries jurisdiction which was then ostensibly supported by the European community.

The difficulty of this approach to preserving the common resource was in enforcement and implementation. Partly because of the mobility of the cod, the boundary waters did not include all of the home range of the cod. Furthermore, the Canadian government did not sustain the interest and resources to insure implementation of the boundaries and limits. The result was massive overfishing by all nations. Combined with political and fishery management miscalculations, the cod stock was depleted (Finlayson and McCay 1998).

Contrast the case of the cod fishers with that of the lobster fisher (Acheson 1988, 2003). The following is adapted from the summary by Idoine for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/sos/spsyn/iv/lobster.html). In contrast to cod, the American lobsters have limited mobility and are concentrated in rocky areas where shelter is readily available, although occasional high densities occur in mud substrates suitable for burrowing. Because of their limited range, the principal fishing gear used to catch lobsters is the trap. Lobsters are also taken as bycatch with otter trawls. Prior to 1950, lobsters were taken offshore primarily as incidental trawl catches in demersal fisheries. Reported offshore lobster landings increased dramatically from about 400 metric tons (mt) during the 1950s to an average of more than 2,000 mt in the 1960s. In 1969, technological advances permitted the introduction of trap fishing to deeper offshore areas, which helped to increase landings (trap landings: 50 mt 1969 to 2,900 mt 1972). Total landings were steady from 1977-1986(~17,600 mt/year). In the 1990s, with improved distribution and market, the landings increased to approximately 32,000 mt per year with a slight decline in 1992- 1993. Thus far, the lobster fishers have not experienced the drop-off in catches indicative of overfishing as in the case of cod.

The question arises as to why the lobster fishers did not experience the same declines in their target species as the cod fishers. Though the answer is complex, involving a range of factors, one critical factor resides in the social relations of the lobster fishers (Acheson 1988, 2003). The social relations of Maine lobster fishers were extremely concentrated within harbor-based gangs. To defy the gang was to risk ostracization, a serious sanction because a fisher’s success often depended on local and long-held knowledge regarding fishing that was held by the other fishers. Furthermore because the gangs were defined by long-standing social and kin-based relationships, ostracization affected one’s social standing in the community as well as one’s standard of living.

The gangs drew on their social relationships to aggressively protect their territories. If a fisher placed traps in a harbor perceived to be the territory of a rival gang, the rival gang members would either first warn the intruder (verbally or by notching the trap) or most likely sabotage the perceived intruder’s traps (e.g., cutting them, placing debris in them). The social structure of the gang was critical to perpetrating the sabotage. It often took several members to challenge a potential intruder, and all members of the gang were complicit in their silence of not revealing who cut the traps. Thus although there were temptations to “free-ride” by not challenging rival fishers, ultimately the gangs were able to sustain territorial control.

The gangs ultimately drew on the social capital accumulated through establishing the territorial system of control to impose harbor-based trap and take limits lower than any externally imposed limits. Extending the sanctioning norms, those who exceeded the limits would be socially ostracized, making them face the danger of fishing and the vicissitudes of the market on their own. In fact, the formal authorities relied upon the sanctioning power of the gangs to impose legal limits once they were passed (Acheson 2003). Thus the lobster fishers had strong stocks of social capital based on their gangs and well defined norms of sabotaging outside competition to compete with fishers from other regions.

Interestingly, there are no legal restrictions to lobster fishing for people outside of the United States. It is possible for non-citizens to obtain a commercial lobster fishing license as long as they are residents of Maine (personal communication Helen Holt, supervisor of licensing, Department of Marine Resources, licensing office, Maine). But just like the members of any outside gang, any lobster fisher outside the community or not following the socially accepted entry into the lobster fishing industry (i.e., having a Maine ancestry, working full time, involvement in the community, etc.) risked sabotage to his traps if he placed them in waters perceived to be the territory of a gang. Thus, though there are no formal or legal barriers to becoming a lobster fisher, the social capital among existing lobster fishers limits external entry into the harbor communities, ultimately giving long-standing members of the communities a competitive advantage.

Our emphasis on the effects of difference in social structures between the lobster and cod fisher on overfishing is perhaps too simplistic. The cod fishers did have their kinship-based crowds which fishers drew on to limit losses in face of catastrophe, and therefore potentially could have drawn on to resist overfishing. And social capital among the lobster fisherman was not uniformly strong as there were sometimes disagreements among the lobster fishers within a harbor that could have undermined the social restrictions on overfishing. Furthermore, Acheson argues that multiple factors contributed to the setting of trap limits (which were indicative of constraint through social structure): political entrepreneurs had to mobilize a following to win a distributional conflict against those wanted to fish a large amount of gear (page 75); and a gang was only inclined to enforce territory that included a large amount of exclusive fishing area (Acheson 2003;Acheson and Gardner, page 75). Acheson also notes that lobster gear is easy to monitor because lobster are located closer inland than cod (10-15 miles versus cod which can exceed the 200 mile limit), and territories are more meaningful to the lobster fishers because lobster are relatively sedentary compared to cod, and thus have smaller home ranges (McCay 2001). Finally the lobster fishery is less vulnerable to global competition because of the difficulties of shipping live lobster, although this has recently changed with increased fishing of lobsters in Mexico (Los Angeles Times 2002) and the advent of new processors for freezing and shipping lobster (Richardson 2003).

To further support our case that social capital does indeed operate to mediate between the effects of globalization on aquatic resources, we consider a second comparison with the Western Atlantic spiny lobster (Panulirusargus) fishery of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). We do not use the TCI comparison as our primary comparison because less is known about the TCI fishers than either the cod or Maine lobster fishers.

Although entry into the TCI fishery by nationals (“belongers”) is currently classified as being open-access, Haitians, Dominicans and other “non-belongers” are not allowed to commercially fish unless a belonger is aboard the vessel with them at all times. Thus the social model would seem to be similar to that of the gangs of Maine lobster fishers. But there is a general lack of enforcement on illegal fishing activities, and foreign poaching vessels correctly perceive this lack of enforcement and use it to their advantage . While there is strong community pressure to enforce the law, the illegal activities continue. Critically, it appears that the TCI “belongers’ are not able to garner social capital to support sabotaging those who violate the rule. Thus those who ride with non-belongers go unpunished, and few limits on catch rates are enforced.

The comparison of the Maine and spiny lobster fishers supports our emphasis on the importance of differences in social capital, ultimately affecting how the different fisheries were managed. For example, the U.S. government was able to draw on the social capital and norms of the lobster fishers to enforce harbor based limits, whereas such an approach was considered, but never implemented, for cod fishers (Finlayson and McCay 1998;Office of Technology Assessment 1977, page 321). The lobster fisher also accepted limitations on their catch (e.g., the V-notch used to identify and limit taking of fecund female lobsters) because they knew it would be imposed evenly and beneficial to the lobster fisher community in general (Acheson, Wilson, and Steneck 1998, page 400). In contrast, cod fishers ultimately accepted no such limit likely because they recognized that such a limit could not be uniformly enforced and thus those who complied would be yielding their catch to other fishers

Even with lobster communities, the distribution of social capital differentiates island based perimeter communities from harbor based nucleated communities (Acheson 1988), page 79). Though all use the same equipment and fish in the same industry, the social networks of the island communities are more dense those of the harbor communities (owing perhaps to a sense of shared fate, or what Portes and Sensenbrenner,1993, called “bounded solidarity”), and correspondingly, the ability to enforce sanctions to protect territories is greater in the perimeter defended areas (Acheson 2003, page 75).

It is impossible to say for sure whether the cod stock would have been preserved had the cod fisher traditionally relied on a more extensive and cohesive social network drawn from community membership to enforce fishing practices. But it is clear that the limits and laws of the fishery needed to be enforced on the micro level within small groups, and that greater stores of social capital deriving from stable social networks could have facilitated enforcement.

Though the lobster and cod fishers are just two of many type of fisheries and communities, in combination they represent a large population of fishers (e.g, McCay 2001), as general concerns regarding overfishing are ubiquitous (Pauly, Christensen, Dalsgaard, Froese, and Torres 1998). But even the particulars of the lobster and cod fishers represent those of other fishing industries. The factory trawler is just one example of a technology that helped globalize a fishing industry (see Berkes and Folke 1998). The cooperation between lobster fishers and the state government to enforce harvest limits is similar to that of some salmon fishers and pacific coast communities who have cooperated to restrict the amount, especially of young, salmon that are fished (Gilden). The kin-based social structures of the cod fishers are similar to those used in Indian villages to preserve sacred tree groves (Gadgil, Heman, Reddy, and Mohan 1998), and the divisions that occurred within both the cod and lobster fishers were similar to those experienced by the salmon fishers of the Pacific Northwest (Gilden 1999). Thus we believe the comparative analysis of the cod and lobster fisher networks and behaviors generally provides insight into how social structures of fishers mediate between global competition and the aquatic ecosystem.

We have characterized lobster and cod fishers as exposed to competition through globalization due to changes in transport, shipping and communications. But improvements in technology have also increased the market opportunities for these fishers, in essence contributing to globalized competition experiences by others. The advent of the factory freeze-trawler in the 1930’s enabled cod fishers to transport their catch throughout the world, while a new deep freeze process has made it easier for lobster fishers to distribute their product across North American and overseas (Richardson 2003). In fact more than half of the lobster catch within United States waters now is shipped outside the United States (Richardson 2003)2.

Though lobster and cod fishers have expanded their market share by using technology to distribute and sell their products globally, these market effects of globalization are less pronounced than for others because the lobster and cod fishers have strong regional and national markets. Furthermore, the distribution to these markets is accomplished through well-established institutionalized channels that differentiate little within local markets. That is, exchanges between wholesalers and distributors and fishers are not influenced strongly by personal social relationships and can more generally be considered to be market based. In contrast in the next sub-section we describe the distribution of ornamental fish and invertebrates from coral reefs that has been dramatically altered by globalization.
Globalization and Increased Market Opportunities
Currently, ornamental fish and invertebrates are collected on coral reefs generally within developing nations such as Indonesia, Philippines, Kenya, Maldives, and regions such as the Caribbean. These organisms are exported to wealthy nations such as the United States, European countries, and Japan where they, depending on species, are placed into aquaria or eaten as a symbol of status in Asian countries (Wood 2001). The aquarium trade began in the early 20th century but the demand for ornamental fish increased in the 1950s with the expansion of the airline industry and this demand has increased greatly in the last decade (Wood 2001). As mediated by human social networks that we will describe, this increase in demand has contributed to the degradation of the coral reef system, such as death of non-target species and loss of coral (Rubric and others 2000), and the dynamics of the oceanic ecosystem, such as disrupting carbon cycling (McClanahan et al. 2002)1.

As in other fish industries, fishers have responded to increased market demand for ornamental fish by using more aggressive, unselective fishing techniques. Historically, fishers that collect fish on coral reefs used cyanide. And in response to increased demand they have been applying more cyanide into the waters of a coral reef system. The cyanide immobilizes all of the fish in the area and then collectors retrieve only the immobilized fish and invertebrates that are valuable to the aquaria trade (Rubec, Cruz, Pratt, Oellers, and Lallo 2000;Wood 2001). The collected fish are immediately placed in water without cyanide that allows them to recover, whereas the uncollected fish are left exposed to often lethal-levels of cyanide in the surrounding waters of the coral reef.


Though ornamental fishers use cyanide to be more expedient in the short run, the use of cyanide impacts the local ecosystem and its biota, and is thus inefficient in the long run (Berkes and Folke 1998). In addition to uncollected fish and invertebrates often dying from overexposure to cyanide (Rubec and others 2000;Wood 2001), cyanide impairs the photosynthetic process of zooxanthellae, the symbiotic algae of coral (Rubec and others 2000). Additionally, due to its efficiency at stunning organisms, ornamental collectors using cyanide are vastly more able to over-fish an ecosystem. For example, 25% of the species caught in the Maldives for the aquaria trade were either overexploited or close to overexploitation (Edwards and Shepherd 1992). The macro-economic description is thus: through improved transportation and communication globalization has generated a dramatic increase in exports for small coral reef fishing communities, which has encouraged overfishing using non-selective harvest techniques, harming the ecosystem.

The description of the macro-economic processes in the previous paragraph treats the members of the local fishing communities as interchangeable, and members of the international community merely as “foreign” relative to the local community. Instead, there are several layers of interacting networks that bring fish and invertebrates from their natural environment on the coral reef to an aquarium in a home. The basic layers are comprised of collectors who catch the animals on the coral reefs to exporters who package and transport the animals to the affluent countries, to dealers who sell the animals at shops, and then to hobbyists who buy the animals for their aquariums (Wood 2001).

As is natural in a chain of exchange, the actors along the chain are fairly segregated – hobbyists know only a few dealers, dealers know only a few exporters, etc. But the most critical disjuncture occurs between the collectors and exporters. Middlemen mediate between collectors and exporters, and in the process, they become key drivers in the economics of the ornamental fish trade (Christie and White 1997;Wood 2001). As the middlemen take their profit, they lower the price a collector receives for his animals. Furthermore, collectors often become heavily indebted to the middleman who act as creditors (Anon. 1998), although collectors can have higher incomes than the other fisherfolk within a community (Christie and White 1997). Collectors then resort to cyanide to reduce their immediate debt, with the cyanide often provided by the middleman (Anon. 1998, Rubec et al. 2000, Wood 2001). Thus it is through the middleman that increased market demand may ultimately result in degradation of coral reef ecosystems.

Market forces can also enforce positive environmental behaviors. A dealer whose shipment experiences higher mortality as a result of cyanide-caught animals may stop buying from a given exporter and may tell other dealers to do so as well (see Raub and Weesie, 1990, for the effect of reputation in continued exchange). This pressure can be translated down to the collectors, although further research is needed to determine the sensitivity of the price of ornamental fish.

Supplementing market forces to use environmentally friendly techniques are various forms of social capital. Hobbyists who perceive themselves embedded in a large global community may choose to pay extra money for animals caught with non-lethal, highly selective methods. This is facilitated by the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC) that certifies chains of custody from ‘reef to retail,’ enabling consumers to identify and reward responsible businesses through their purchase of MAC certified marine aquarium organisms, i.e., “those that were collected, handled and transported in a sustainable manner” (http://www.usaid-ph.gov/environment%20tmat_usaid.htm).  Furthermore, the MAC works to improve conservation at all the levels of trade (Holthus 1999), especially in the collector network by providing training in using nets (Wood 2001). Finally, exporters can facilitate conservation by establishing ties with collectors, bypassing the middlemen and their attendant economic pressures by offering a stable method of transportation from the small village of the collector to the major city of the exporter.

Like the communities described by Berkes and Folke (1998) and Burger et al. (2001), it is worth considering how ornamental fishers might draw on the social capital within their local communities to limit catch rates, and make their aquatic resources more resilient. But critically, collectors are often an ethnic minority or marginal to their communities (anon 1998; Christie et al. 1994; Wood 2001). Collectors are also likely to be immigrants into their community (Christie and White 1997; Edwards and Shepherd 1992), which may explain some of their lack of social capital as they may be viewed as outsiders.

Because collectors typically are not embedded in longstanding social networks such as are fishers of the New England seaboard, they have difficulty generating the social capital necessary to refrain from overfishing to preserve the common ecosystem. For example, on San Salvador Island within the Philippines, those who fish for food are the majority, while those who collect fishes and invertebrates for the aquarium trade are the minority and come from the Visayan region (Christie et al. 1994). Collectors’ lack of social integration then restricts their social capital for two key types of actions. First, the collectors do not have the social capital to enforce restrictions on one another, and thus some use cyanide in spite of the potential threat to the ecosystem3. Second, because the collectors are not well embedded in the local community, members of the community assigned the transgressions of the few to the whole, and thus did not take into account the needs of the collectors when setting up and protecting the boundaries and regulations for protected areas of the coastal region (Christie and White 1997; Christie et al. 1994) . Although the collectors of aquarium fish have accepted and follow the regulations of the community, this lack of concern over their livelihood has further alienated them from the community (Christie and White 1997). Outside international organizations came to aid of these collectors by helping them form their own association to police the collectors who violate the regulations and explore alternative options for income.

The fragmented social capital among the collectors of ornamental fish also limits the potential for community management or co-management of resources among collectors, government agencies, and other members of the community (Acheson 2003; Burger and others 2001; Christie and White 1998). Co-management includes training on sustainable methods of collection, such as net collection, enforcing regulations within the community and on outsiders who come within the resource boundaries, scientifically monitoring the resource, and participating in managing the resource (Christie and White 1997;Christie et al. 1994;Wood 2001). As an example of how co-management draws on social capital in contrast to more authoritative management techniques, consider the fact that the Philippines government was able to effectively regulate the aquaria trade in Maldives with a quota system on exported animals. But when research suggested that they should have quotas on specific species to prevent overfishing (Edwards and Shepherd 1992), the government did not have the funds or man-power to enforce these regulations (Wood 2001). And they could not turn to local, informal enforcement because of the lack of social networks and social capital among the collectors.

Though the evidence for collectors of ornamental fish does not permit exact description, the example of the coral reefs suggests how the distribution of social capital of small fishing communities mediates between the network of the global market and the network of an ecosystem (e.g., McClanahan and others 2002). In the next sub-section we address how the distribution of social capital matters even when the local network does not mediate directly between a global force and the local ecosystem.
Globalization and Increased Disturbances.

There are aspects of globalization that directly affect ecosystems, unmediated by human behavior. The most prominent of these is associated with global warming, which affects water temperatures (Walker and Steffen 1997). In turn, water temperatures alter ecosystem dynamics, affecting everything from the reduction of the symbiotic algae in the coral reefs (coral bleaching) to the reproductive success of the Maine lobster (Acheson 2003). Though generated by human behavior, these effects of globalization are conveyed directly by the most common and ubiquitous of natural resources. This challenges the central thesis of this chapter because the effects of globalizations are not directly conveyed by human social networks.

But human social networks affect how local communities respond to changes in the environment produced by globalization. Longstanding sociological theory argues that the more unstable the environment, the more complex the social structure generated to accomplish desired goals (Woodward 1965). Classically, this complexity can be accomplished through a refined division of labor that is then coordinated by a central bureaucracy (Durkheim 1933;Weber 1958). For example, schools that face rapid external changes in computer technology and student composition often create more elaborate divisions of labor, such as technology teachers or special education teachers (Bidwell and Kasarda 1990 ; Zhao and Frank 2003).

More recently sociologists have identified complex networks for sharing information or resources as critical to systemic responses to changes in the environment (Abrahamson and Rosenkopf 1997; Frank and Fahrbach 1999). When conditions are unstable, people need new and varied information to accomplish their tasks efficiently. Since each human has a limited capacity to acquire and manage such information, humans rely on coordinated activity and social networks when tasks are complex and changing. Continuing the example, schools may respond to changes in computer technology or student composition not just with the introduction of new specialties and corresponding training but by attending to how these specialized teachers coordinate with other teachers in their schools. Again, this returns us to the value of social capital – those who can access information and resources through their social networks will be better able to respond to external disturbances (Berkes and Folke 1998; Burt 2000; Frank and Zhao 2004; Palsson 1998).

Though the extant sociological literature typically draws on well defined formal organizations or firms such as a post office (Weber 1958) or school (Frank and Zhao 2004), there are examples in use of natural resources that are consistent with the theory regarding the importance of social capital in helping social systems react to change: Iceland increased interaction between policy-makers and commercial fishers to gauge changing fishing stocks via an annual trawling rally (Palsson 1998, page 59), and, as an example in wildlife management, the Chisasibi Cree elders coordinated a response to a decline in caribou by sharing stories of earlier declines. These stories reinforced the communal ties because they emphasized that members of the community shared a common fate. Furthermore, the elders symbolically and absolutely represented the kinship ties within the community. Members of he Chisasibi Cree then drew on the social ties to enforce restrictions and curtail exploitive hunting practices (Berkes 1998, see also Sporrong 1998).

If one human response to instability is to coordinate action, then social capital becomes more salient in the turbulent times brought on by globalization. Just as an isolated teacher can be a good teacher (Hargreaves 1993) when conditions are stable, an isolated fisher can be effective when stocks and conditions are stable. This is because one who is isolated but experienced can draw on personal experience to solve most problems. But when conditions change, people seek new information and need to coordinate action (Frank and Fahrbach 1999). This will increase the importance of social capital, for example as has been manifest in the hunting and fishing practices of many small, local cultures indigenous to North America.

We have made the argument that the distribution of social capital within a community affects how a community uses its natural resources in light of globalization. Then in the discussion we will argue that managers and researchers should attend to explicit network processes. Thus in the next section we describe tools for graphically representing the structure of networks from which social capital emerges and for modeling the manifestation and benefits of social capital.
Applications of Social Network Tools to Study Social Capital
The networks of the cod, lobster, and ornamental fishers in our case studies were essentially inferred. Cod fishers were expected to interact according to kinship and land ownership, lobster fishers were inferred to interact by gangs associated with their fishing port, and collectors of ornamental fish were generally described as disconnected from those who fished artesinally for food on the coral reef. There is no evidence to suggest that the inferences in these cases are incorrect, and the manifestations of social capital are certainly consistent with the inferences. But in other instances network structure many not neatly align with geographic region or kinship, especially as global forces enter local communities. Thus we call upon researchers and managers to gather direct social network data (e.g., who talks to whom, who fishes with whom). This type of data has been used to study everything from electrical wiring rooms (Roethlisberger and Dickson 1941) to bankers (Frank and Yasumoto 1998; Stovel; Savage, and Bearman 1996; Uzzi 1999) to tailors (Kapferer 1973) to teachers (Bidwell and Yasumoto 1999; Frank and Zhao 2003) to charter boat fishers (Mueller 2004).

Given our discussion of the distribution of social capital within and between cohesive subgroups, one could use explicit network data to identify subgroups and then link subgroup membership to the distribution of social capital. For example, Frank and Yasumoto (1998) identified cohesive subgroups based on friendships among the French financial elite. After using simulation to establish that the friendships were concentrated within subgroup boundaries at a rate that was unlikely to have occurred by chance alone, they embedded the boundaries in a sociogram (see figure 22). In this sociogram, each number indicates a member of the French financial elite (those who ran major public or private financial institutions), and lines indicate a friendship between two people (solid lines within subgroups, dashed between), and the circles represent subgroup boundaries. These subgroups substitute for the kinship boundaries assumed for the cod fishers or the geographic boundaries assumed for the lobster fishers. Distance between actors and subgroups are indicative of friendship strength, with shorter distances representing denser sets of friendships..



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