Chris Sittler, a graduate student in LAS, won first place for the communities and society graduate session at the Graduate Student Showcase. Chris's research, which he carried out in Honduras with funding from the Tinker grant, was titled "The Last Fishermen: Risk Communication and Small-Scale Fisheries of the Utila Cays.” Chris is the latest LAS student to win big at the Graduate Student showcase; Koleia Bungard also won first place last year for her project. You can read the abstract for Chris's research below.
Congratulations Chris, we're very proud of you and your accomplishment!
"The Last Fishermen: Risk Communication and Small-Scale Fisheries of the Utila Cays.”
Since occupation in the mid-1800s, generations of fishermen have co-adapted with their environment through maritime industries in the small village of the Utila Cays, Honduras. These lifeways are threatened by a severe decline of fish stocks in local waters. Recently, regional governmental and non-governmental organizations have initiated communication with the local fishermen to implement management of local oceanic resources. However, the local fishermen maintain that the proposed solutions involving no-take zones are not viable solutions to the greater problem, and dissolution of maritime industries is inevitable. This paper will demonstrate how epistemological differences drive these contrasting risk perceptions between stakeholders and argue for increasing involvement of locals into the upper management of conservation efforts to increase the community’s agency over local waters and provide unique strategies moving forward.