Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience

This book explores the knowledge, work and life of Pacific coastal populations from the Pacific Northwest to Panama. Center stage in this volume is the knowledge people acquire on coastal and marine ecosystems. Material and aesthetic benefits from interacting with the environment contribute to the ongoing building of coastal cultures. The contributors are particularly interested in how local knowledge -either recently generated or transmitted along generations- interfaces with science, conservation, policy and artistic expression. Their observations exhibit a wide array of outcomes ranging from resource and human exploitation to the magnification of cultural resilience and coastal heritage. The interdisciplinary nature of ethnobiology allows the chapter authors to have a broad range of freedom when examining their subject matter. They build a multifaceted understanding of coastal heritage through the different lenses offered by the humanities, social sciences, oceanography, fisheries and conservation science and, not surprisingly, the arts. Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience establishes an intimate bond between coastal communities and the audience in a time when resilience of coastal life needs to be celebrated and fortified.

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Lisa L. Price · Nemer E. Narchi Editors

Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience

Ethnobiology Series editors: Robert Voeks, Center for Remote Sensing & California State University, Fullerton, CA, USA John Richard Stepp, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Ethnobiology is the study of the dynamic relationship between plants, animals, people, and the environment. Academic and applied interests include ethnobotany, ethnozoology, linguistics, paleoethnobotany, zooarchaeology, ethnoecology, and many others. The field lies at a dynamic intersection between the social and biological sciences. The major contribution from the biological sciences has come from economic botany, which has a rich historical and scientific tradition. Indeed, the objectives of the colonial enterprise were as much about the quest for “green gold” –herbal medicines, spices, novel cultivars, and others—as it was for precious metals and sources of labor. The view that ethnobiology concerns mostly the discovery of new and useful biota extended into the 20th century. The social sciences have contributed to the field in both descriptive studies but also within quantitative approaches in cognitive anthropology that have led to general principles within ethnobiological classification. Ethnobiological research in recent years has focused increasingly on problem solving and hypothesis testing by means of qualitative and especially quantitative methods. It seeks to understand how culturally relevant biotas are cognitively categorized, ranked, named, and assigned meaning. It investigates the complex strategies employed by traditional societies to manage plant and animal taxa, communities, and landscapes. It explores the degree to which local ecological knowledge promotes or undermines resource conservation, and contributes to the solution of global challenges, such as community health, nutrition, and cultural heritage. It investigates the economic value and environmental sustainability to local communities of non-timber forest products, as well as the strategies through which individual ecological knowledge and practices encourage resilience to change—modernization, climate change, and many others. Most importantly, contemporary ethnobiological research is grounded in respect for all cultures, embracing the principles of prior informed consent, benefit sharing, and general mindfulness. More information about this series at

Lisa L. Price  •  Nemer E. Narchi Editors

Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience

Editors Lisa L. Price School of Language, Culture, and Society, College of Liberal Arts Oregon State University Corvallis, OR, USA

Nemer E. Narchi CoLaboratorio de Oceanografía Social Centro de Estudios en Geografía Humana El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C. La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico

ISSN 2365-7553     ISSN 2365-7561 (electronic) Ethnobiology ISBN 978-3-319-99024-8    ISBN 978-3-319-99025-5 (eBook) Library of Congress Control Number: 2018959414 © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland


For more than a decade, we, the coeditors, have discussed and contributed to a number of projects involving ocean resources, coastal communities, and local knowledge. For the most part, we have done so within the boundaries of ethnobiology, defined classically as the study of the interactions between people and the environment and of people’s knowledge and concepts concerning nature and biology. However, in its strictest sense, neither the orthodoxy of ethnobiology nor the epistemic rigidity of marine sciences or marine policy alone is sufficient for observing, analyzing, and understanding a cornucopia of nonindigenous ocean and coastal livelihoods, imaginaries, and significations. The profound implications of this last sentence, along with the complexity of human existence, can help explain why this book came into being. To have a better idea of the complexities occurring in coastal settings, we must take into account that approximately half of the global human population lives within a hundred kilometers of a coastline. Within the United States, nearly half of the population lives in coastal states, and roughly 40% live in coastal counties.1 Such large coastal populations bring together a vast number of cultural, social, and economic configurations—small-scale communities of fishers, industrial fishers, sailors, traders, tourists, developers, governments, planners, artists, and scientists, among others. Each segment of the coastal populace has its particular, but sometimes overlapping, vested interests, ideologies, bodies of knowledge, and sensibilities. Presently, the environmental state of our coasts and oceans is far from what it used to be. Coral bleaching, ocean acidification, fisheries overexploitation, massive amounts of photodegraded plastic eternally floating in the world’s oceans, and continually increasing quantities of urban, industrial, and river pollution are but some of the problems our oceans face. These anthropogenically induced damages, combined with high human densities and variation in vested interests, create complexity to such an extent that our standard tools and academic disciplines are not as ­effective in  U.S. Census Bureau (2017). Population rising in coastal counties. Data key to hurricane response. Accessed 3 June 2018. 1




finding solutions as we first thought they were. We think that it is not simply a matter of employing better planning, complicated calculations, engineering, and fisheries science to achieve life-affirming results, as this is already happening to some degree. Instead, we think there is a desperate need for giving the social sciences and humanities inherent in ethnobiology a preponderant place within the discussion of marine and costal planning for environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability. Ethnobiology, when articulated across the liberal arts, has the power to suggest novel solutions under the light of vivid livelihoods, cultural adaptation, local resource management schemes, social institutions, and alternate ways of appreciating, perceiving, appropriating, understanding, and explaining the world. Inside these pages, readers will find a fresh attempt to achieve this goal. In such a light, we are motivated by new and ambitious initiatives emerging in institutions around the world. Two of these initiatives, not parallel but complementary, bring us together once again to discuss, analyze, and present a new panorama on coastal human existence. On the one hand, Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative strives to create a healthy future for the oceans and humanity through transdisciplinary research and teaching that emphasizes the social, political, and cultural issues of coasts and oceans as they interface with marine natural systems. On the other hand, the CoLaboratories of Social Oceanography is a multi-­ institutional and interdisciplinary effort hosted by El Colegio de Michoacán in which marine and social sciences coalesce in an effort to overcome the unintended barriers posed by classical oceanography, namely, a monocultural vision of the sea, social Darwinism, epistemicide, and inequality. These barriers are tackled by promoting a decolonial shift in the relationship between knowledge and power, ensuring the political praxis of coastal peoples. This effort is about transforming the methodical solipsism of modern politics and governmental thinking and recovering the critical spirit in the production of historical subjects to promote participation of coastal peoples in alternative development projects on their own terms. In the end, as defined in the goals and mission of these two parallel efforts, we have shepherded this volume, motivated by an ethnobiological heart and sheltered by a critical carapace assembled from many disciplines. We do so with the strong conviction that not only are new paradigms needed but that, in order to shape these new solutions, one of the most indispensable things we need to bring to the table is the voices and realities of those peoples and cultures who have been deprived of such an elemental right as participation.

 oastal Heritage: Ethnobiology, Environmental Knowledge, C and Livelihood Diversity There is no absolute consensus on how to define coastal ethnobiological knowledge, but, at least from the ethnobiological standpoint, it is widely understood as the knowledge that coastal populations have acquired about the ecological properties of the coastal and marine ecosystems from which they benefit in many material and spiritual



ways.2 This definition differentiates between Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK), which, despite being used interchangeably in ethnobiological and anthropological literature, should be distinguished for various reasons. First, the differentiation enables researchers to incorporate the knowledge of nonindigenous communities in their observations. Second, there is no requirement to assume an ancient or even a multigenerational accumulation of knowledge. Lastly, there is no need to forcefully try to embed LEK systems into a broader shared culture, as coastal ethnobiological knowledge frequently applies to coastal populations with a relatively recent history of living in a marine environment and engaging with the environment and change. We rely on this description in order to highlight how the existence and relevance of biotic, abiotic, and cultural factors can either increase environmental degradation or trace paths toward more sustainable futures. We rely on the above characterization of local ecological knowledge for coastal inhabitants featured in this volume in order to encompass a diversity of coastal actors not necessarily having an indigenous first peoples background. This framework allows us to extend the conceptual reach of “biocultural diversity” beyond the marked theoretical bias toward the study of transcendental spaces, such as spiritual landmarks, to include specific coastal and marine resources, to analyze their cultural and material values, and to elucidate how these values are linked to specific livelihoods, sentiments, and sentimentality. In other words, different human groups perceive, understand, conceptualize, use, and exploit coastal and marine resources, features, and phenomena differently. From these differences arise new forms of knowledge that define human–environment interactions in particular and precise case-specific relations. These relations manifest in the forms of preconceptions, behaviors, actions, and beliefs that can range from purely utilitarian strategies to balanced communal connections with other biological entities and natural surroundings. The continuous repetition and frequent transmission of strategies and connections toward biological entities and natural surroundings create a cultural repertoire that, when applied to coastal and oceanic settings, should be referred to as coastal heritage. Coastal heritage contributes to building and consolidating support for the livelihoods and well-being of individual and community spirit vital to cultural resilience.

Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience We understand cultural resilience as the ability a community has developed to adapt to change while maintaining its customary livelihood strategies through the use, management, and maintenance of biological and cultural assets, and we consider human agency to be fundamental to resilience as it promises the continued production of coastal heritage by fostering a set of relationships and connections that ensures the maintenance of cultural repertoires.  Narchi, N. E., Cornier, S., Canu, D. M., Aguilar-Rosas, L. E., Bender, M. G., Jacquelin, C., ... & De Wit, R. (2014). Marine ethnobiology a rather neglected area, which can provide an important contribution to ocean and coastal management. Ocean & Coastal Management, 89, 117–126. 2



It is important, however, to highlight that the concept of resilience is complex and that we should not mistake lack of change or resistance to change for resilience. Values, knowledge, skills, agency, or political power may not be present in order of magnitude to ensure resourcefulness.

Contributions to the Volume The researchers convened to contribute to this project have historically worked in the Pacific region, partially because this is the region where most of our institutions’ research efforts in marine studies have been invested. In such a light, the authors contributing to this book have undertaken the task of presenting an ample view of coastal heritage traditions from Panama to Vancouver. In doing so, they have relied on poetry, environmental history, and significant trade trends of the Western Pacific countries, along with studies in local ecological knowledge, food systems, vulnerability, and art to create a unique volume comprehensive of a wide array of cultural manifestations and local adaptations that, we are confident, will help the reader understand the vital role of coastal heritage and cultural resilience in fostering ecological conservation. These trends answer the call made toward an ethnobiological endeavor in desperate need of thinking outside of its conventional models. From putting together this book, we have learned that coastal heritage manifests in many different ways throughout separate places and that, despite more sober definitions, coastal heritage does not necessarily require a multigenerational accumulation of experience. In other words, individuals can accumulate local ecological knowledge during the course of their own life while interacting with a local environment, and such empirical knowledge can be shared within the community in a single generation, many times as a result of personal innovation and experimentation. A theme of this sort is what Peter Betjemann presents in this book. His chapter presents a sharp commentary on erotic Pacific coast poetry by Robinson Jeffers and Theodore Roethke—who use tidal movement, fish reproduction, and wave energy as sexual metaphors—to show the poets’ efforts to entice their readers into a sensuous relation with the sea in order to maintain coastal environments. Betjemann’s ecologies of desire manage to capture a sort of coastal consciousness that transforms ardent passion into profound environmental awareness, as well as keen ­ecological and zoological observations. His chapter resonates with the famous phrase Beaucoup de gens attaquent la mer, je lui fais l’amour3 attributed to Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau. Finally, it also echoes the profound ecological observations embedded in the cultural systems of indigenous coastal peoples around the world and passed on through poetry and song. Perhaps such a sensuous stirring—along with a feud with Forrest Shreve and Herman Spoe—is what made pioneering ecologist Frederic E. Clements fall in love  A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it.




with the endangered dune systems of Southern California. In a wonderful chapter mixing environmental history, plant ecology, and the foundational records of the University of California Natural Reserve System, Anita Guerrini, Donald Burnette, and Jenifer Dugan provide us with the inside story of the Coal Oil Point Reserve. This place was named a preservation site in 1970 under the premise that it represented one of the last remaining pristine dune-to-slough coastal systems in Southern California. However romantic that notion, what Coal Oil Point truly stands for is a long-term disrupted environment—an invisible landscape bearing witness to human hybridization of natural systems. This invisible landscape, resulting from the intervention of Frederic E.  Clements and others, can now be considered an archival human landscape useful for advancing knowledge on coastal heritage in numerous ways beyond botanical endeavors. Ana Spalding and María Eugenia Mellado also plunge into a discussion of the outcomes of creating disrupted environments by developing a chapter connecting one of the best-known disrupted coastal zones in the world—the Panama Canal— with the United States. Through their piece, the authors delve deeply into the outcomes resulting from the historical, political, economic, and social connections emerging from the European appropriation of the Mar del Sur. Two specific outcomes of these connections are highlighted throughout the chapter: the demise of the pearl oyster (Pinctada mazatlanica) and the construction of the canal itself. Spalding and Mellado clearly show that the geographical aperture of the Mar del Sur to European imaginaries and economies quickly had a marked impact on local ecologies and global economies that remains to this day. Perhaps the most significant of their conclusions is that discovery, conquest, and superimposition of political and economic imaginaries diminished local human and nonhuman populations and that the coastal heritage built through their relationships gave Panama a malleable identity that, while cruel in origin, still bears hope of amassing a sustainable coastal heritage for the future. Few indigenous cultures in Mexico have a fully coastal livelihood; one is the Mero ‘ikooc culture, a horticultural-fisher society occupying coastal lagoons in the state of Oaxaca. Sadly, the state of the fisheries in Mero ‘ikooc territories shows a similar degree of deterioration to those in the rest of Mexico, due, very likely, to the effects of centralized fisheries policies in place since the 1970s. To reverse this trend, new policies have been implemented for promoting citizen participation in decision-making processes. Citizen participation is particularly important for the Mero ‘ikooc, as people of this society have long maintained their coastal heritage through ethnobiological interactions with the resources they manage and the ecologies that surround them. The research of José Zepeda-Domínguez and Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio documents the transition of Mero ‘ikooc institutions toward self-­ governance, social and cultural resilience, and the search for sustainability in a socioenvironmental context in need of a new status quo. The exploitation of pearls has remained an important human activity for thousands of years. As such, the promise of rich pearl banks was a recursive element in the discursive formula aimed at attracting volunteers to the Americas, and the activity became ubiquitous for European settlements along the coasts of the new world.



In thinking of pearl exploitation, Mario Monteforte and Micheline Cariño-Olvera use environmental history to record, analyze, and explain the vast amount of spatial, socioeconomic, political, and cultural outcomes created by the pearling industries. In their chapter, centered in Baja California Sur, the authors explain the aforementioned outcomes by describing a negative feedback that maintains pearl oyster banks in a dynamic state that oscillates between abundance and overexploitation. Their findings suggest a sort of serendipitous cycle of resilience, yet it also describes the formation of a global coastal heritage of quasisustainable pearling. This body of knowledge was, and still is, strongly dependent on the agency and constant innovation exercised by a few foreseers, such as José de Gálvez, Royal Visitor to Baja California Sur turned pearl farmer, whose legacy has been carried on for more than 200 years. Pearling is not the only way in which humans relate to oysters, as seen in the chapter by Lisa Price, which examines oyster harvesting, farming, and consumption in the Pacific Northwest since 1850. Focusing on Washington’s Puget Sound, the chapter describes the collapse of the Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) and the need for introducing nonnative oysters, followed by a discussion of the primary role of Japanese immigrants in restructuring an industry that is now recognized by regional gastronomy and taste. In a similar path to pearling, oyster exploitation for alimentary purposes has been marked by increasing market demand and environmental degradation of the marine environment, which have acted as stressors against these mollusks. However delicate the balance of oyster populations today, the ethnobiological knowledge that has been empirically amassed in the Pacific Northwest, along with emerging partnerships between scientists and community members, offers a great possibility for constructing a resilient coastal heritage in the region. In comparison with oyster exploitation in the Pacific Northwest, the coastal heritage of the Seri people on the arid coasts of northwestern Mexican has been a resilient system for the past 2000 years. These descendants of hunter-gatherers and fishers mediated their collection and consumption of food by roaming through the desert and coastal area in an annual cycle ruled by a lunar calendar. Presently, the Seri food system is in decline as market influences and marked ideologies, in conjunction with numerous stressors over fisheries, expand in the Seriland. This decline has increased access to processed edibles and highly caloric foods, which, along with a reduction in physical activity, has negatively affected Seri health. In spite of such a negative scenario, Guillermo Hernández-Santana and Nemer Narchi highlight that older people in the community still recall the food routes and diets ­followed by their ancestors, making it possible to revive the food system for the benefit of the people and a rugged, yet delicate, environment. In a different vein, Esteban Tello-Fernández and Octavio Montes Vega take us to a peculiar community of African descent in the Costa Chica of Oaxaca, Mexico. Progressive changes in social organization within the community allowed for a takeover of strategic fisheries resources previously shared more evenly with other communities surrounding the Alotengo Lagoon. The spatial, political, demographic, and environmental outcomes of this takeover resulted in greater access to fishing resources, leading to rapid ecological deterioration and fisheries overexploitation.



In response to these threats, new modes of social organization were put in place in an attempt to preserve natural resources while increasing commercial ties to formal markets in nearby tourist sites. While there is an intrinsic merit in exhibiting the role of dynamic social organization and an increasing participation of women, the real value of the chapter lies in bringing the lives of long-neglected Afro-Mexican communities into the ethnobiological literature, especially when these people deliberately reclaim their African identity to foster coastal heritage in a lagoon in much need of preservation and restoration. Similarly to how Afro-Mexican communities on the coast of Oaxaca manage to increase their resilience by adapting to change, the fishing families and coastal communities of Oregon use different adaptation strategies for coping with change in times of increasing physical hazards. That is what Flaxen Conway and Lori Cramer offer in the ninth chapter of the book by synthesizing two decades of their own research on the Oregon coast. Oregonian families have also transformed their family roles, adjusted to the aging of the fleet, and switched through numerous management regimes and resources in order to maintain their livelihoods and culture. Seen in perspective, this trend of social adaptation is occurring in fishing cultures and coastal communities throughout the world and serves to foster cultural resilience. A marked problem common to rural production industries—both in coastal and inland locations—is the degree of engagement between the industries and the local communities that host them. The synergy between these stakeholders is vital to maintaining the well-being of the population and environment, as well as the enterprise. The Oregon coast is no exception, and many waterfront industries are inaccessible or hard to see, as described in the chapter by Jamie Doyle, Bradley Boovy, Marta Maldonado, and Flaxen Conway. Their work explores the connections between coastal communities and working waterfronts and the resilience that comes from fruitful engagement between them. If coastal heritage is useful for building community resilience, it is not only in the form of partnership with waterfront industries. Lori Cramer, Daniel Cox, and Haizhong Wang get ahead of a predicted major rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which experts expect will happen sometime during the twenty-first century. Using agent-based modeling to assess tsunami scenarios, the authors offer a plausible method for incorporating local ecological knowledge of land- and seascapes into tsunami evacuation and preparedness protocols. Their research, in addition to advancing individual and community-level preparedness, enhances cultural and community resilience and traces a path toward the coproduction of life-saving coastal heritage. In our final chapter, Eric Wayne Dickey, Charles Goodrich, Julie Green, Shelley Jordon, Joseph Ohmann Krause, Dahlia Seroussi, and Luhui Whitebear boldly answer the editors’ call for art and poetry. Under the premises of environmental humanities, the authors offer a unique approach in which they pragmatically show how creative work, in conjunction with social and biological sciences and the humanities, can build bridges across diverse audiences. The final objective is to lead these audiences into becoming familiar with—and hopefully captivated by—the biophysical universe present in coastal settings. These actions, we are convinced,



will awaken curiosity and ingenuity. In turn, sensitized audiences will better understand coastal issues and will become active agents in the preservation, generation, and transmission of coastal heritage and cultural resilience. The conclusions we can extract from this book are many, and we think that, given its diversity, readers will have the final say on what those are. Nonetheless, if we are to give a final message to this foreword, it will be the following: Humans have lived a coastal life for at least 170,000 years. In our long coastal existence, we have received shelter and nourishment and have become very good at exploiting marine resources, understanding the ecologies of place, and continually innovating. It is through innovation, technological change, and economic sophistication that our relationship with the sea and its inhabitants has become troublesome, to the point of overexploiting the resources that allowed us to thrive. However, it is also through the voyage through time and space that we have developed profound coastal heritage in many parts of the world. On the one hand, some elements of this heritage are silently fading away. On the other hand, as this book shows, some other elements are still present, strengthened by local processes or awaiting revaluation through agency and human ingenuity in order to build resilience around a gigantic environment that has nurtured humanity since the dawn of the species. Presently, immersed in the immense and life-threatening challenges of the Anthropocene, we must be willing to invest our best efforts in exploiting the oceans through a biocultural lens aimed at including coastal heritage in marine conservation policies. If we do so, we can be confident that we can increase our climatic, alimentary, and cultural resilience and bounce back as we have always done—through the biocultural links we have built in partnership with the big blue. La Piedad, Michoacán, México Corvallis, OR, USA 

N. E. Narchi L. M. L. Price


The editors are grateful for the financial support from the Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts and Research Office Research Awards Program. A special thank you to Teresa Welch of Wild Iris Communications for her careful editing skills. The editors are especially grateful to the contributors and their coauthors. Without their contributions, this collection would not have been possible. We are deeply in debt to Eric Wayne Dickey for his outstanding performance as Managing Editor. Lastly, the editors thank and dedicate this book to coastal peoples, who have proudly shared their thoughts and livelihoods in these and many other publications. They are the true heroes of modernity as their quotidian practices keep the flame alive.



  1 The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness ��������������������������������������������������������    1 Peter Betjemann   2 Invisible Landscapes: Perception, Heritage, and Coastal Change in Southern California������������������������������������������   23 Anita Guerrini, Donald R. Burnette, and Jenifer E. Dugan   3 From the Discovery of the Mar del Sur to the Creation of Unlikely Connections Between Panama and the United States������������������������������������������������   39 Ana K. Spalding and María Eugenia Mellado   4 Lessons of Governance from Traditional Fisheries: The Huaves of San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo, Oaxaca��������������   63 José Alberto Zepeda-Domínguez and Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio   5 A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California����������������������   79 Mario Monteforte and Micheline Cariño-Olvera   6 Oysters from Tide to Table in the Pacific Northwest����������������������������  113 Lisa L. Price   7 The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change, and the (Re)Awakening of Dietary Resilience Among Coastal Hunter-Gatherers in the Mexican Northwest ����������������������������������������������������������������������  135 Guillermo Hernández-Santana and Nemer E. Narchi   8 Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial Organization, and Natural Resources��������������  183 Esteban Tello-Fernández and Octavio Augusto Montes-Vega




  9 Resilient Fishing Families and Communities: Adapting to Change ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������  209 Flaxen D. L. Conway and Lori A. Cramer 10 Understanding the Working in Working Waterfronts: The Hidden Faces of the Industries That Make up the Working Waterfront��������������������������������������������������������������������  223 Jamie Doyle, Bradley Boovy, Marta María Maldonado, and Flaxen D. L. Conway 11 Enhancing a Culture of Preparedness for the Next Cascadia Subduction Zone Tsunami��������������������������������  243 Lori A. Cramer, Daniel Cox, and Haizhong Wang 12 The Arts as Coastal Cultural Resilience������������������������������������������������  265 Eric Wayne Dickey, Charles Goodrich, Julie Green, Shelley Jordon, Joseph Ohmann Krause, Dahlia Seroussi, and Luhui Whitebear Index������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  275


Peter Betjemann  School of Writing, Literature, and Film, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Bradley Boovy  Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts School of Language, Culture, and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Donald R. Burnette  Independent scholar, San Diego, CA, USA Micheline Cariño-Olvera  Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, La Paz, Mexico Flaxen  D.  L.  Conway  Department of Sociology/Oregon Sea Grant/Marine Resource Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Department of Sociology/School of Public Policy, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Daniel Cox  School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Lori  A.  Cramer  School of Public Policy, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Eric Wayne Dickey  College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Jamie Doyle  Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, Myrtle Point, OR, USA Jenifer  E.  Dugan  Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio  El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Lerma, Campeche, Mexico




Charles Goodrich  Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Julie Green  School of Arts and Communication, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Anita Guerrini  School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Shelley  Jordon  School of Arts and Communication, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Joseph  Ohmann  Krause  School of Language, Culture, and Society, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Marta María Maldonado  Department of Ethnic Studies, College of Liberal Arts School of Language, Culture, and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA María Eugenia Mellado  Universitat de Lleida, Lleida, Spain Mario  Monteforte  Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, La Paz, Mexico Octavio Augusto Montes-Vega  Center for Human Geography Research, El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C., La Piedad, Michoacán, México Nemer E. Narchi  CoLaboratorio de Oceanografía Social, Centro de Estudios en Geografía Humana, El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C., La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico Lisa L. Price  School of Language, Culture, and Society, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Guillermo  Hernández-Santana  Ph.D. student in Anthropology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico city, Mexico Dahlia Seroussi  College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Ana K. Spalding  Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, Panama Esteban Tello-Fernández  Center for Human Geography Research, El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C., La Piedad, Michoacán, México Haizhong  Wang  School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Luhui  Whitebear  Native American Longhouse Eena Haws, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA José  Alberto  Zepeda-Domínguez  Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, La Paz, Mexico

About the Authors

Peter Betjemann  is Associate Professor of English and Director of the School of Writing, Literature, and Film at Oregon State University. He is the author of Talking Shop: The Language of Craft in an Age of Consumption (University of Virginia Press, 2011) and of interdisciplinary articles on US literature in such venues as Word and Image, American Literary Realism, American Art, the Hudson River Valley Review, and the Journal of Design History. He has taught and presented on marine texts from Melville’s Moby-Dick to Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us and Eleanor Clark’s Oysters of Locmariaquer and is working on a scholarly project that examines the literature of the Oregon coast. He is also completing a manuscript on the relationship between US literature and art history, provisionally entitled The Critical Canvas: Antebellum Narrative Painting and the Radicalization of U.S. Literature. Bradley  Boovy  is Assistant Professor of German and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University, where he coordinates the German program for the Corvallis campus and teaches courses on men and masculinities, gender studies, queer studies, and German language and cultural studies. His research interests include ecocritical approaches to cultural production, queer and feminist theories, and most recently the cultural history of coastal communities. His work has appeared in the Women in German Yearbook, Die Unterrichtspraxis, L2 Journal, and Archival Practice, among others. Donald R. Burnette  is currently an independent scholar in the history of science, having received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy. He has served as adjunct faculty at Menlo College and California State University, East Bay. His work is focused on the history of early twentieth-century plant biology and ecology in the United States, and he has done extensive research into the life and work of Frederic E. and Edith G. Clements. He has written on the development of botanical gardens, the legacy of beautification and restoration projects conducted in the early twentieth century, and the origins of ecology as a science. Current interests include the impact of early ecological philosophies on the contemporary concept of nature and the artificial migration of native and nonnative plant species. xix


About the Authors

Micheline  Cariño-Olvera  has been a teacher and researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur since 1989 and a member of the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores since 1992. She has a double professional formation with undergraduate and master’s degrees in history and development planning from the University of Paris VII and a Ph.D. in history from the École des Haute Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She has participated in and led more than 40 research projects in 3 principal subjects: world and regional history of the fishing, culture, and commerce of nacre and pearls; relations between society and nature for conservation and sustainability in Baja California Sur and the Gulf of California region; and knowledge, valorization, development, and sustainability of oases in Baja California Sur. She is editor and author of 15 books, 67 articles (more than half of them in indexed and peer-reviewed journals), and 64 book chapters. Flaxen D. L. Conway  is a Professor in the School of Public Policy at Oregon State University, an Oregon Sea Grant Extension Specialist, and the Director of the Marine Resource Management (MRM) graduate program in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. As a Professor, she conducts action research related to adapting to changes in natural resource policy and management, cooperative learning and research, conflict transformation, personal and group leadership, and community economic development. As an Extension Specialist, she partners with learners, agencies, and other educators to provide educational outreach and engagement that helps people access resources, build coalitions, and plan strategies that meet the needs of all interests. As the MRM Program Director, she links faculty and students with educational and research opportunities that inform today’s—and train tomorrow’s—marine and coastal leaders. Daniel Cox  is a Professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University, where he studies the impact of tsunamis and ocean waves on coastal structures. His research focuses on community resilience to coastal hazards, including tsunami and hurricane surge and wave inundation in the built and natural environments. He conducts research on tsunami and wave impacts on near-­ coast structures, tsunami evacuation and life safety, sediment transport and erosion, and nature-based solutions for coastal hazards mitigation. Lori A. Cramer  is a Sociologist in the School of Public Policy at Oregon State University. Dr. Cramer has over 25 years of experience in rural community research. Most of her teaching and research centers on how rural communities are affected by and adapt to social and ecological change. Her current work includes research on community resilience to hazards, as well as the perceived impacts of an aging fishing fleet on families and coastal communities. Specific interests include public perceptions of risk, social vulnerability, and decision-making. Eric Wayne Dickey  is a poet, translator, and editor. He is the Research Program Manager for the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University, where he assists faculty in applying for grants. He is a Vermont Studio Center Fellow poet in residence

About the Authors


and the recipient of a John Anson Kittredge Fund for Individual Artists administered by Harvard University. He is Associate Editor of Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas (University of Arizona Press, 2011). As coeditor of the journal Pacifica: Poetry International, he received a 2018 Literary Arts of Oregon Fellowship for Publishers. His poetry, translations, and essays have been published widely, including Rhino, Cloudbank, Lummox, and International Poetry Review, among other journals. He published a review of a book by the late poet Ralph Salisbury in SAIL, Studies in American Indian Literature. In 2014, he published his first children’s book, Alex the Ant Goes to the Beach (Craigmore Creations), which was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. He served as Managing Editor for Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience. Jamie Doyle  works for Oregon Sea Grant, the marine and coastal branch of the Oregon State University Extension Service. Jamie has worked on projects that educate about working waterfront industries, including a working waterfront tour of Coos Bay/North Bend/Charleston, which takes people behind the scenes through videos of industries that are typically not very accessible due to considerations of safety, timing, or location (e.g., inside seafood processors and lumber mills, harvesting oysters at night, pilot boat captain climbing a ladder at sea, fishing). Some of her other projects include fisheries education, efforts to integrate seafood into local foods, planning Oregon’s annual State of the Coast conference, and coordinating coastal master naturalist classes. Jamie lives in Coos Bay, Oregon, and has a background in marine biology and marine policy. Jenifer E. Dugan  is a Research Biologist with the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She conducts research on coastal ecosystems and contributes to the National Science Foundation’s Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research project. She received a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a coastal marine ecologist, she studies the influence of environmental and anthropogenic drivers on community and population dynamics of marine biota across a diversity of shorelines, latitudes, and time scales. Much of her basic and applied research focuses on sandy beach ecosystems. Her work is relevant to the conservation and management of coastal ecosystems perched on the edges of a warming sea. She is an author of 80 journal articles and book chapters and recently coauthored a children’s book on kelp forests and sandy beaches (The Golden Forest, Muddy Boots, 2017). Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio  is an investigator at ECOSUR and a researcher at the Transdisciplinary Laboratory for Sustainability in Campeche, Mexico (LaTSu, by its Spanish acronym). He works to coordinate holistic frameworks for coastal resource management, emphasizing ecosystem-based fisheries management and the use of traditional and local ecological knowledge in the management of socioecological systems.


About the Authors

Charles Goodrich  is the author of three books of poetry—A Scripture of Crows; Going to Seed: Dispatches from the Garden; and Insects of South Corvallis—and a collection of essays, The Practice of Home: Biography of a House. He has coedited two anthologies, Forest Under Story: Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest and In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens. His poems and essays have appeared in Orion, High Country News, The Sun, and many other journals and anthologies, and his poems have been read more than a dozen times on The Writer’s Almanac. Now retired to full-time writing, he is the former Director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word at Oregon State University. Julie Green  wanted to be a stewardess until age four, but became a painter instead. Green’s work has been featured in The New York Times, a Whole Foods minidocumentary, PBS, Ceramics Monthly, Gastronomica, and the seventh edition of A World of Art, published by Prentice Hall. She has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. Half of each year, usually during the winter months, she works on The Last Supper, an ongoing project about capital punishment in the United States. Green lives with artist husband Clay Lohmann in the Willamette Valley and is a Professor at Oregon State University. Awarded a 2017 Hallie Ford Fellowship in the Visual Arts from the Ford Family Foundation, Green also received a 2011 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, the 2015 ArtPrize 3-D Juried Award, a 2016 Fellowship, and a 2017 Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. A selection of Green’s My New Blue Friends paintings exhibited in the Governor’s office in Salem in summer 2016, and she was included in Portland2016: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Michelle Grabner and presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center. The most recent iteration of The Last Supper, numbering 700 plates, exhibited at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, in winter 2018. Anita Guerrini  is Horning Professor in the Humanities and Professor of History at Oregon State University, where she teaches the history of science and medicine, and is also affiliated with National Science Foundation-funded Long Term Ecological Research sites in California and Oregon. She received an M.A. from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science from Indiana University. She has written on the history of animals, medicine, food, and the environment and is the author or editor of 5 books, as well as the author of 65 articles and book chapters and more than 100 book reviews. Her most recent book is The Courtiers’ Anatomists: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV’s Paris (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Current research projects concern the role of history in present-­day ecological restoration and skeletons as scientific and historical objects. Shelley Jordon  is a Portland-based painter and moving-image artist who explores interior and exterior worlds and connections between past and present experiences. Using traditional drawing and painting media applied to two-dimensional artwork, animation, and installation, she expresses the complex nature of memory, both

About the Authors


physical and emotional, collective and personal. Solo exhibitions include the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; the White Box Gallery, Portland, Oregon; and the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington. Her work has been exhibited at the Portland Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Portland Museum of Art, the Torrance Art Museum in Los Angeles, and at international venues in Italy, Spain, Israel, Great Britain, Australia, and Germany. Her projects have been supported by the Ford Family Foundation; the Regional Arts and Culture Council; the Center for the Humanities at Oregon State University; a Visual Arts Fellowship for the American Academy in Jerusalem; two Oregon Arts Commission Individual Fellowship Awards; a Fulbright-Hays Group Travel Research Grant; and artist residencies at the American Academy in Rome, Lucas Artist Residency at Montalvo, Djerassi; The Studios of Key West; and Playa. Jordon holds an M.F.A. from Brooklyn College of the City of New York, a B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and is a Professor of Art at Oregon State University. Joseph Ohmann Krause  is Professor of French at Oregon State University, where he served for 12 years as Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. He is coeditor of the journal Pacifica: Poetry International. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Oregon Council for the Humanities, he has collaborated with Nabil Boudraa on many international projects devoted to North African cultures. He is the author of nine collections of poetry in French. With Nabil Boudraa he coedited North African Mosaic (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007) and two special issues of the Journal of North African Studies. He is associate editor of Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas (University of Arizona Press, 2011). His poetry has appeared in many literary and art journals in North America and Europe. In recent years, photography—particularly landscape photography—has become central to his creative work. He is presently completing two collections of original photos and poems, L’entre-deux and Drawing in the Northern Light. Marta  María  Maldonado  is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Ethnic Studies at Oregon State University. Her work explores questions of power and social inequality in communities and institutions and the sociospatial politics of immigrant incorporation and integration, with a focus on Latino/a populations. Her recent publications have appeared in the journals Antipode, American Behavioral Scientist, and the Annals of the American Association of Geographers. Maldonado serves on the editorial board of Rural Sociology and is past Chair of the Latin@ Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. María Eugenia Mellado  has a Ph.D. in territory, heritage, and culture (2016) and an M.A. in development and international cooperation (2011) from the University of Lleida (Spain) and a B.A. in anthropology (2008) from the National University of La Plata (Argentina). Since 2009, her work has focused on Panama, specifically the Pearl Islands Archipelago in the tropical eastern Pacific. Her doctoral research offers an analysis and historical exploration of the repetition of a pattern of foreign


About the Authors

powers in the region, characterized in recent decades by tourism. Mellado has been a fellow and visiting researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama and a consultant with various international organizations on sociocultural impacts of tourism and other extractive activities. Her work on the past and present of the communities of the Pearl Islands Archipelago has been presented in congresses and published in a range of journals. Mario Monteforte  is an oceanologist in the Faculty of Marine Sciences at Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. He holds several diplomas of masters and doctorates in biological oceanography, marine ecology, and marine aquaculture from universities in France and Cuba. Since 1985, he has been Titular Investigator at the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR) at La Paz, Baja California Sur. His line of research deals with science and technology related to aquaculture of gourmet mollusks, pearl oysters, and ornamental marine species, as well as methods and techniques of cultured pearl production. He has developed studies on integrated coastal management on the matter of mariculture-based community development focused on fisherfolk in particular, mainly in the region, and has imparted assistance overseas as well. He is author or coauthor of 65 articles in academic journals, 4 books, 14 book chapters, and about a hundred abstracts in congresses. Octavio Augusto Montes-Vega  is Professor-Researcher at the Center for Human Geography Research at El Colegio de Michoacán, where he teaches social organization and epistemology of human geography. He has a Ph.D. in social anthropology and won the award given by the National Institute of Anthropology and History for the best doctoral thesis in 2008. His featured publications are “Héroes pioneros, padres y patrones: Construcción de la cultura política en los pueblos del Medio Balsas, Tierra Caliente de Michoacán y Guerrero” (Revista de El Colegio de San Luis, 2011) and Territorio y Prácticas Políticas (editor), Zamora, El Colegio de Michoacán (2014). His main research topics are related to production and consumption cooperatives in central-western Mexico, territorial organization, and political culture. He has directed two theses related to social organization in populations of the Pacific coast. Nemer  E.  Narchi  is an Associate Research Professor in the Center for Human Geography Research at El Colegio de Michoacán. An oceanographer turned environmental anthropologist, Nemer has worked with and learned from various members of the Comcaac community for 18 years. His primary research interest has focused on marine ethnomedicine. However, the prevailing neoliberal processes of privatization and dispossession occurring along the coasts of Mexico have recently pointed his research toward political ecology and critical analysis of resource management schemes. Currently, Nemer is Head of the Laboratories of Social Oceanography at El Colegio de Michoacán and the coordinating member of marine research for the Biocultural Heritage Network (Red Temática sobre Patrimonio Biocultural), a federally funded initiative aimed at recording, preserving, and protecting biocultural diversity.

About the Authors


Guillermo  Hernández-Santana  is a linguist at the ENAH (National School of Anthropology and History) in Mexico. He has a master’s degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico). In 2016, he was awarded the Wigberto Jiménez Moreno Linguistics Prize for the best master’s thesis at INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History). He is currently a Ph.D. student in anthropology at UNAM and a Professor of Linguistics at the ENAH. His work has focused on the study of time and the constant transformations of the Comcaac people, an indigenous group that lives on the coast of the Sonoran Desert, also known in the literature as Seris. Dahlia Seroussi  is an Academic Advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Oregon State University. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay area, but, more and more, calls Oregon home. Dahlia’s chapbook What I Know was published by Finishing Line Press, and her work has appeared in North American Review, The Normal School (online), True Parent, and others. A multicultural poet, Dahlia’s work explores intersections of identity, intimacy, and what it means to have a voice. Ana K. Spalding  is Assistant Professor of Marine and Coastal Policy at Oregon State University and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. She has a Ph.D. in environmental studies (2011) from the University of California, Santa Cruz; an M.A. in marine affairs and policy (2004) from the University of Miami; and a B.A. in international economics (1999) from the University of Richmond. She has published widely on the socioenvironmental outcomes of lifestyle migration to Panama; on the linkages between land use and policy, property rights, and development; and, more broadly, on the evolution of marine policy and conservation in Panama and the United States. She is also fascinated by interdisciplinarity as an academic endeavor, where it no longer represents an abstract concept, but instead has become a necessary framework for addressing global environmental threats. This conviction has inspired her current collaborative work on small-scale fisheries in Panama and marine reserves in Oregon. Esteban Tello-Fernández  holds a master’s degree in human geography from El Colegio de Michoacán. He works as a Research Teacher at the Catholic University of Cali exploring post-conflict in the Pacific region of Colombia. He has carried out projects and fieldwork in different Mexican contexts for more than 2 years, focusing on the Costa Chica and African-Mexican fishermen, which were the subject of his thesis, “Social-spatial Organization and Dispute of Strategic Fishing Resources in the Corralero Lagoon, Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca (1980–2013).” His work includes projects on the Colombian post-conflict era in the Pacific and southwestern regions in rural and urban contexts. His interests are ethnohistory, cartography, and the spatial dimension in economic and political processes.


About the Authors

Haizhong Wang  is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University. He obtained his Ph.D. in civil engineering (transportation) and a master’s in applied mathematics, both from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 2010. He conducts research in two thematic areas: (1) agent-based modeling and simulation, emergency evacuation and disaster response, and post-disaster transportation network resiliency and response, and (2) traffic flow theory and models for a mixed-traffic environment with varying market penetration of connected and automated vehicles and the evaluation of its mobility and safety benefits through a multiagent approach. Luhui  Whitebear  is an enrolled member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation. Luhui is a Ph.D. student in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality program at Oregon State University, as well as the Assistant Director of the OSU Native American Longhouse Eena Haws. She received her B.S. in ethnic studies, B.S. in anthropology, and M.A. in interdisciplinary studies (women, gender, and sexuality studies, ethnic studies, and queer studies focus), all from OSU. Luhui is a mother, poet, and indigenous activist. Her article titled “VAWA Reauthorization of 2013 and a Continued Legacy of Violence Against Women” is forthcoming in the LatCrit 2017 Symposium issue, and her article titled “From the Black Panther Party to Black Lives Matter, the American Indian Movement to Standing Rock: Solidarity in Intergenerational Activism” is forthcoming in the American Indian Cultural and Research Journal. José Alberto Zepeda-Domínguez  is a marine biologist with a major in sustainable coastal zone management, an M.S. in marine resources management, and a Ph.D. in marine sciences. He has collaborated on 27 academic and executive projects (leading 10) about marine and coastal resources management, mainly fisheries in northwestern Mexico. He is coauthor of 18 scientific publications on fisheries governance, climate change effects on fisheries, and fisheries as socioecological systems. Currently, he works as a consultant in fisheries management for nongovernmental organizations, executive agencies, and academic institutions. His main interests and expertise are in fisheries management, governance structures, resilience, collective action, policy making, and fisheries as socioecological systems.

Chapter 1

The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness Peter Betjemann

Introduction In one of Emily Dickinson’s best-known poems, the narrator visits the seashore. She stands and watches the ocean, unmoving, until the tide begins flooding in: … no Man moved Me – till the Tide Went past my simple Shoe – And past my Apron – and my Belt And past my Bodice – too – And made as if He would eat me up – As wholly as a Dew Upon a Dandelion’s Sleeve – And then – I started – too – And He – He followed – close behind – I felt his Silver Heel Upon my Ankle – Then my Shoes Would overflow with Pearl – Until we met the Solid Town – No One He seemed to know – And bowing – with a Mighty look – At me – The Sea withdrew – (Dickinson 1960:254–255)

Despite the clarity of the major story line (the water chasing the narrator up the beach), it is difficult to miss the poem’s audacious eroticism. If “no man” could move her, the tide certainly does. The water reaches through the narrator’s belt and bodice, engaging in vigorous foreplay until she “started  – too,” and the lovers, woman and tide, climax together in the almost pornographic stanza that opens with the panting line “He – He Followed – close behind.” What interests me for present

P. Betjemann (*) School of Writing, Literature, and Film, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



P. Betjemann

purposes is less the frank sexuality of the poem per se (although it should remind us that Dickinson’s poetry never did match its reputation for bashfulness) than the fact that it contrasts an erotic and immersive experience of the ocean’s tides with the “Solid Town.” At the literal margin of the human-built world, the lovers separate; the sea, in the poem’s final bit of sexually explicit imagery, “withdrew.” Even as the poem itself explodes the conventions of Victorian poetry, it opposes fluid, intertidal lovemaking to the fixities and immutabilities of “solid” everyday life. Absorbed in the tide as a physical encounter outside of human-centered constructions, Dickinson’s sex poem is thus also very much an environmental poem. Recent ecocriticism and ecotheory have been preoccupied with decentering anthropocentric modes of thinking. Timothy Morton (2009), to invoke just one example, presents “ecology” (understood as the complex network of interrelations of life forms and physical matter) as a far more compelling term for environmentally oriented thinkers than “nature” (historically speaking, a romanticized concept of something so vast as to be only abstractly imaginable as a human construction).1 In Dickinson’s poem, the erotic wildness of the tidal influx appears as a countercurrent to the experiences of the townspeople; in an obviously Biblical usage, the tide does not “know” anyone the way it knows the narrator. The poem’s strong phenomenology—by which I mean its immersive, physical connection with the water—distinguishes it from a great deal of tidal poetry. More commonly, tides appear as vivid metaphors of human life, giving emblematic meaning to interpersonal relations or individual emotional experiences. Outgoing waters regularly figure as symbols of personal, cultural, or physical decay (as in Walt Whitman’s “As I Ebb’d with the Ocean of Life” or Derek Walcott’s “Ebb”), while incoming waters often connote revivification, freshness, social exuberance, and new birth (as in Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” Henry Van Dyke’s “Flood-Tide of Flowers,” or Susan Coolidge’s “Flood Tide”). Examples of poems that signify desire, passion, and love through tidal rhythms also abound. To take just a few examples from widely different eras, Christina Rossetti’s “Jessie Cameron” describes an ardent young man spurned by his neighbor’s daughter when he proposes on a beach. The “moaning sea” sweeps in ever higher, but he continues to plead with her; as the water floods, so “louder waxed his urgent speech” until the two are stranded, and drown, on a shrinking piece of beach when the “tide … hemmed them round” (Rosetti 1866/2001:111–113). Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Ebb” reverses the flow, while also using the tidal height as a metaphorical index for the level of passion in a human relationship. The short poem turns on a simile between a jilted lover’s heart and a “little pool, left there by the tide, /A little tepid pool, /Drying inward from the edge” (Millay 1921/2012:109). A.K. Tolstoy’s “Love’s Ebb and Flow” runs the water in both directions, metaphorizing a lover’s periods of diminished ardor as an “ebb of tide” before promising that “old-time passion” will return with the same certainty that the waters will come “hasting/Back from afar to the beloved shore” (Tolstoy 1912:9). Also focused on both flood and ebb, Mark Doty’s “Atlantis” presents the  For an example that contains discussion of a poet I consider at length in this essay, Robinson Jeffers, see Moore (2017). 1

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness


incoming and outgoing waters in a perhaps counterintuitive relationship to love. An elegy for his dying lover, the poem (and the collection of the same name in which it appears) represents the ebb as a force not associated with loss or diminution, but with preservation and permanence. In “Atlantis,” the outgoing tide exposes land— “our dependable marsh reappears”—and surfaces a permanent emotional home for tenderness itself: … And our ongoingness, what’ll there be of us? Look, love, the lost world rising from the waters again: our continent, where it always was, emerging from the half-light, unforgettable, drenched, unchanged. (Doty 1995:58)

For Doty, as for the other poets I have named, tidal rhythms provide an occasion for experiencing and reflecting upon relationships that are primarily between people. As affecting as many of these works are, my purpose in this essay is to explicate how the environmental consciousness of Dickinson’s poem—its apparently uncommon mix of oceanic flows, sexual desire, and an experience of water on its own terms—in fact is not particularly unusual if we turn our attention to a lesser-known literary geography: that of the Pacific coast. Dickinson herself never travelled beyond New England (and, famously, rarely left her house). However, her poem provides a useful model for a number of works set on the edge of the Pacific in which coastal systems, desire, and ecological awareness interweave. As a West Coast corollary to the visual and sexual intensity of Dickinson’s poem, consider John Steinbeck’s description of the Great Tide Pool outside of Monterey in Cannery Row. At ebb tide, Steinbeck (1945/1992) writes, The bottom becomes fantastic with hurrying, fighting, feeding, breeding animals … Orange and speckled and fluted nudibranchs slide gracefully over the rocks, their skirts waving like the dresses of Spanish dancers … The anemones expand like soft and brilliant flowers, inviting any tired and perplexed animal to lie for a moment in their arms, and when some small crab or little tide-pool Johnnie accepts the green and purple invitation, the petals whip in, the stinging cells shoot tiny narcotic needles into the prey and it grows weak and perhaps sleepy while the searing caustic digestive acids melt its body down … The sharp smell of iodine from the algae, and the lime smell of calcareous bodies and the smell of powerful protean, smell of sperm and ova fill the air. On the exposed rocks the starfish emit semen and eggs from between their rays … On the reef the whistling buoy bellows like a sad and patient bull (31–32).

Promiscuity defines the ecosystem of the tide pool. Anemones use sexual lures to draw small crabs—“Johnnies”—into their clutches. Nudibranchs (Steinbeck could not resist the pun offered by the name) lift their skirts. Starfish semen and eggs slide across the rocks, which are as “exposed” as everything else in this passage. Even the navigational buoy sounds like a lovelorn bull. An orgiastic burlesque, the scene is presented to the reader as a spectacle that can only be appreciated during the brief interval before the water rolls back in; in the observational moment before the tide turns again, Steinbeck writes, the clear and shallow water makes the scene appear


P. Betjemann

“glassed over.” The temporariness of the scene—in effect, a literary peep show— makes the same point as does the brevity of the encounter in Dickinson’s poem. This is a world in which oceanic ebbs and flows serve not as enduring metaphors for enduring human emotions, but as intense moments of connection with ecologies of wild fecundity and vigorous sexuality. In the marine literature that I explore in the following pages, the ardor of coastal waters—characteristically temporary and transitory as tides ebb and flood, and as anadromous fish race upriver in brief phases—models an alternative to anthropocentric attachments. My primary examples will be drawn from the poetry of Robinson Jeffers (most of whose work is set on the same coast near Monterey as Steinbeck’s tide pool) and Theodore Roethke (whose experiences on the Puget Sound anchor his final collection, The Far Field). Although each of the following two sections closely examines particular works by each poet, I do not intend to establish, on the basis of the few examples that an essay of this length can present, that tidal literature of the Pacific coast is comprehensively oriented to a more phenomenological or ecologically minded approach than the mainstream of literary history. And yet, certain features of the California and northwest coasts do seem to have suggested associations to Jeffers and Roethke between sexual drive, the resilience of species, and, for the narrators and readers of the poems, an absorbing environmental awareness. Indeed, throughout his poetic corpus, Jeffers described the powerful forces of the ocean as he experienced them from his stone house on the Monterey cliffs—surf pounding on highlands, the dramatic visibility of tidal change on rocky shores, salmon gathering and then shooting into estuaries, rafts of sea lions that “ride the storm tides” in the inlet—in terms of desire (“Animals” [Jeffers 1951/2001a:651]). For Jeffers, the “angry concentration of power” where rock meets ocean is the dramatic setting for all kinds of equally wild coupling (“Hungerfield” [Jeffers 1952/2001d:656]). The sea lions appear in one poem with “burning lust” in their “passionate bodies” (“Animals” [Jeffers 1951/2001a:651]) and in another “crawl up from the brine” to mate on a beach where two human lovers do the same (“Drunken Charlie” [Jeffers 1941/2001c:572]). Salmon run “wanton and spawning” into rivers that “open their mouths” for them (“Salmon Fishing” [Jeffers 1924/2001f:19]). In Jeffers’s long poetic narratives (in which characters from one work occasionally reappear in others), a string of forbidden passions are tied to the immodest oceanic environment. “Tamar” places the incestuous encounter of the title character with her brother in a pool of a coastal stream, but links lust itself (or rather, Tamar’s “strange fever” and her “feeling/Her own desirableness”) to the elemental nature of the marine headlands from which sister and brother descend to the stream: … Was it the wild rock coast Of her breeding, and the reckless wind In the beaten trees and the gaunt booming crashes Of breakers under the rocks, or rather the amplitude And wing-subduing immense earth-ending water That moves all the west that taught her this freedom? (“Tamar” [Jeffers 1924/2001h:33])

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness


“Breeding,” here, is a pun: it refers to Tamar having been born and bred on this “wild rock coast,” but also to the sexual breeding that, this passage suggests, she learned from the physical characteristics of the coast itself. The marine environment, extending in the poem from the rocky headlands up into the tidal stream where the coupling occurs, is not a metaphor for Tamar’s forbidden passion. It is passion’s determinant, such that what she feels appears as an extension of the natural energies of the place where she lives. The northwest coastal sections of Roethke’s The Far Field, a more cerebral collection than almost everything by Jeffers, are much calmer. In the first grouping of poems in the book, “The North American Sequence,” low “tide-ripples” come sliding, “almost without sound,” into the estuary of the Oyster River on Vancouver Island (Roethke 1964:16). But the name of the opening poem in the sequence, “The Longing,” gives away the whole volume’s saturation with the language of desire. The slowly flooding tides counteract the narrator’s initial “sensual emptiness,” the “bleak time” of a life in which both spirit and body feel like a “half-life, less than itself” (p. 13). On that tide, as the sequence develops, ride salmon on their spawning run; they are “blackening” as they enter the estuary and direct their energy toward reproduction, but in their ardor (correlated with “mad lemmings”) they offer an alternative model of late-life energy to the narrator’s enervation (p. 14). The flow of the “North American Sequence,” like the tide, is incoming. With the “tongues of water, creeping in, quietly” comes the narrator’s awareness of how the “flesh takes on the pure poise of the spirit” (p. 17). The “sea wind wakes desire,” and the “body shimmers with a light flame” (p. 24). As the “tide rises up against the grass” (p. 29), in the final poem in the sequence, Roethke channels Walt Whitman. He adopts Whitman’s poetic cadences, Whitman’s predilection for long lists of observed things that particularly emphasize sound (“the thrush, singing alone, that easy bird, /The killdeer whistling away from me, /The mimetic chortling of the catbird” and on to the bobolink, bluebird, cicada, and even the “whine of telephone wires” and the “hiss of the sandblaster”) and Whitman’s frank and unabashed embrace of longings that are at once sexual and grounded in his experience of the physical world: “beautiful my desire, and the place of my desire,” writes Roethke, in an obviously Whitmanian construction (p.  31). The “North American Sequence” is one of Roethke’s most famous works, written shortly before his death and deeply reflective about his relationship to his personal history and to the environment. The following section of The Far Field, “Love Poems,” is much less celebrated. But its noteworthy feature, for my purposes, involves not content but origin: love poetry emerges, in the volume as a whole, from the tidal ecosystems that, in the “North American Sequence,” conjoin bodily desire and physical place. I turn now to exploring— through more particular analysis of the poems by Jeffers and Roethke from which I have been rather freely quoting—how the eroticization of the Pacific Ocean’s edge serves to activate an equally ardent environmental consciousness. This poetry uses its own hot-bloodedness to awaken passion for, and within, ecosystems that appear natively dramatic, natively reproductive, and natively fervent. To be sure, these are places that have been deeply threatened by human encroachments. But, as in Steinbeck’s representation of the Great Tide Pool, the poetry offers a vision of their


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resilience by drawing the reader into imagery that builds environmental awareness by yoking human longings to the vigorous, proliferative energies of the coast itself.

 nadromy and Avarice: Robinson Jeffers and the Violent A Transactions of Desire For Jeffers, the mouths of rivers often presented the drama that Dickinson set on the beach. In the poem “Salmon Fishing” (Jeffers 1924/2001f), anglers standing in the shallows intercept incoming fish. Just as Dickinson differentiates her fluid sexual encounter with the tide from the human relations of the “Solid Town,” Jeffers differentiates the fervency of salmonid ecology from the cold chastity of human rites and values. This is the poem in which the rivers, swollen with winter freshets, “open their mouths” for the wild spawning fish (p. 18). After describing how that happens when the “days shorten” and when the rain comes with the south wind, Jeffers goes on to place humans in the scene: In Christmas month against the smoulder and menace Of a long angry sundown, Red ash of the dark solstice, you see the anglers, Pitiful, cruel, primeval, Like the priests of the people that built Stonehenge, Dark silent forms, performing Remote solemnities in the red shallows Of the river’s mouth at the year’s turn, Drawing landward their live bullion, the bloody mouths And scales full of the sunset Twitch on the rocks, no more to wander at will The wild Pacific pasture nor wanton and spawning Race up into fresh water. (p.18)

The short days, south wind, and rising water observed in the opening lines all represent natural seasonal facts. They give way very quickly to human historicity and anthropomorphism. The time is defined by the “Christmas month” and then, seven lines later, by the “year’s turn.” The “smoulder and menace/Of a long angry sundown” constitutes a textbook example of pathetic fallacy, attributing menace and anger to the coloration of the sky. (In the opening lines of the poem, the wind also “shouts to the rivers.”) Jeffers chases those forms of personification by correlating other natural conditions with symbolic ones. The “red ash of the dark solstice” refers most obviously to the visual features of opacity and fogginess in the late-day winter sky—but the phrase also recalls folkloric associations of fires and burning with the solstice and with the Christmas season that Jeffers invokes. The massive log kept burning from Christmas Eve through the new year goes by various names across western cultures; the “yule log” in English, the badnjak in Serbian, and the Tió de Nadal in Catalan, to take just three examples, mark traditional associations of solstice, midwinter, or Christmas rites with large or extended fires, and in a number of these traditions the ashes were used to fertilize the fields for the next year’s

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness


crop. Jeffers’s poetry frequently invokes ancient rites—Greek, Roman, Germanic, Norse, and Hebrew—in spirit or in name, and the ritual sacrifice in “Salmon Fishing,” in which angler-priests sacrifice salmon in “remote solemnities,” recalls such sacrificial festivals at this time of year as the Roman Saturnalia, the Norse blót, and the Anglo-Saxon Módraniht. I do not mean that Jeffers had these particular traditions individually in mind. I do mean that the smoky, ashy atmosphere and the sacrificial tenor of the poem (including its suffusion with red, the color of blood) shifts the poem’s emphasis from the natural features of wind and water that drive the spawning run to the evocation of the long cultural history of midwinter rites. Tim Hunt, whose editorial scholarship on Jeffers has been instrumental in his reintroduction to modern readers, suggests that the center of the poem’s interest inheres in the consciousness of the “contemplating poet” who is describing the scene (Hunt 2001:7). For Hunt, the three extant versions of “Salmon Fishing” (the final published poem, from which I have quoted, and two preceding typescripts) show how the poet “integrates … [the fishermen] into the natural scene” with more and more confidence (p.  6). Focusing on the interweaving of “death and renewal” as “nature’s sacrificial essence” in the poem, Hunt sees anglers, fish, and poet equally “enmeshed in a sacrificial landscape of fire and blood”; the poem draws all of its actors into “nature’s flux” (pp. 6–7). I have two reservations about this interpretation. First, the anglers clearly interrupt the consummation of the act of renewal; in the natural cycle, the salmon dies after spawning, but here the fish “twitch on the rocks” at the river’s mouth rather than thrashing about on their upriver redds as they drop eggs and milt into the gravel. Jeffers, in other words, uses the image of a fish twitching on rocks to evoke the general image of how salmon reproduce, but the place and the characteristics of this version are all wrong. In a different poem, Jeffers described the successful consummation of an anadromous run as a “thousand steelhead/Which irresistible nature herded up-stream to the spawning gravel in the mountain, the river headwaters” (“Steelhead, Wild Pig, The Fungus” [Jeffers 1937/2001g:534]). Second, Jeffers reassigns the perspective of this poem from the observing poet to a second-person point of view; the third line in the excerpt quoted above shifts the focus to what “you see” when looking at the scene. That move establishes the scene less as the lived experience of the poet—Hunt’s immersive, participatory model for reading the poem—than as a projection of someone else’s view at an additional observational remove. “Salmon Fishing,” I would thus argue, systematically replaces natural facts with human temporalities (Christmas, the new year, solstice rites), with human interventions (the salmon dragged onto the rocks in a grotesque parody of their spawning rituals), and with human perspectives (the second-person point of view that amounts to the poet’s vision of another person’s vision). The anthropocentric layers of construction that drive this poem come to a point when the fish, landed, become “live bullion.” As bullion, the silver sides of the salmon appear as the archetypal commodity associated with assigned rather than natural worth. Bullion’s value is determined by fluctuations in the market for precious metals; the description of the fishes’ flanks, in that sense, epitomizes the sociocultural systems that govern almost the entirety of “Salmon Fishing.”


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The evoked image of silver bars of bullion suggests regularity, standardization, and the cold interior of a vault. So too are the anglers remote and unfeeling; their “dark silent forms” pull the salmon-bullion to shore without any apparent thrill, compassion, or basic sign of human emotion. If the poem, as I have argued, effectively presents how Pacific salmon are caught not just by hook and line but within a network of anthropocentric meanings (manifest in both space and time), it also presents a contrast between the wild energy of the spawning fish and the emotional and physical motionlessness of the anglers who stand still and drag the salmon onto the rocks. That contrast returns us to Dickinson. The correlatives of her “Solid Town” in the poem by Jeffers are the fixity of the anglers, the reference to the scene as a version of Stonehenge, the cold physical bulk evoked by bars of silver bullion, and the attention to the rocks in the river mouth as an ecologically wrong substrate on which salmon die without giving life to further generations. Human interventions in the ecosystem in “Salmon Fishing” are represented via the tension between the fluid sexual system of salmon reproduction—the wind calling the rivers, the rivers opening to the fish, the “salt salmon” racing upriver full of their “wanton and spawning” desire—and the inanimate, static, and terminal matter associated with the anglers’ harvesting of the fish. From a certain point of view, human intervention in the natural environment constitutes Jeffers’s major, career-long theme. That pattern, however, typically involves the distorting activities of perception and consciousness. In “Credo,” a well-known poem whose name announces its centrality to his oeuvre, Jeffers opposes the picture of the ocean created in the mind to a “harder mysticism” born of attention to phenomenological facts: “the water is the water, the cliff is the rock ... /The beauty of things was born before eyes and sufficient to itself; the heart-­ breaking beauty/Will remain where there is no heart to break for it” (Jeffers 1927/2001b:147). Jeffers was never blind to the paradox of constructing, in poetry, an account of a natural world beyond constructedness; that which is born “before eyes,” in the few lines just quoted, describes natural realities extant prior to human perception of them, but the phrase also reminds readers how beauty only exists before—that is, in front of—the eyes that take it in and give it meaning. Jeffers’s poetry primarily focuses on marine and coastal ecosystems, and his dialectic of mind and matter has been plumbed by a number of scholars for its relevance to the thorny philosophical, ethical, and policy questions involving the human mediation of natural environments. But the interest of “Salmon Fishing” involves how it turns Jeffers’s characteristic interests away from matters of perception and toward the ecology of desire; at the meeting place of sea and shore, anthropocentric interventions in a natural system appear as forces that counteract that system’s sexual fluidity and dynamism. Putting the drama of the poem that way may help explain one of the most disturbing works in a grotesque canon that—like the novels written by Jeffers’s contemporary William Faulkner—presents all kinds of forbidden, excessive, and in some cases predatory desires. “Steelhead, Wild Pig, The Fungus” (Jeffers 1937/2001g) concerns an adulterous affair sparked when a married man, Hugh Flodden, catches a young woman, Vina, illegally spearing spawning winter steelhead on the coastal creek running through his family’s property.

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness


Hugh demands a “terrible fine” for the five steelhead Vina has killed, an obvious coercion despite the fact that the poem seems to want to downplay that fact: her initial reservation appears only as his marriage (“I can’t do that, honey … your wife would kill me”), and the poem goes on to describe her pleasure in paying the “fine for spearing fish, and another/For taking more than the legal limit” (pp. 532–533). She would “willingly/Have paid a third for trespassing” (p. 533). The next section of the tripartite poem focuses on an unsuccessful boar hunt conducted by Hugh Flodden’s aged father. Cornered in a thicket, a boar—one of a breed “full of fecundity” introduced for hunting from the Urals to the California coast by a “wealthy amateur up the Carmel Valley”—disembowels one of the elder Flodden’s dogs and escapes (p. 535). In the final section, set in the spring, Hugh’s wife June tearfully reveals to her friend Florrie Crawford that Hugh is unfaithful, although it is not clear if the encounter June describes having seen at an abandoned cabin at the river mouth involved Vina or someone else. Florrie, who opens the section trampling on a penis-­ shaped mushroom (the “fungus” of the title) while declaring that “‘I’d love to do that to all of them’” (p. 538), ends the poem by advising June that the best “‘revenge’” (p. 540) for a husband’s infidelity is for the wife to commit it herself. “‘Take any pleasant young man,’” she advises; “‘they are all willing’” (p. 540). George Hart, whose book on Jeffers and biology (2013) represents one of the most sustained recent engagements with the ecological dimensions of modern poetry, locates the connection of the three sections of “Steelhead, Wild Pig, The Fungus” in the idea that they all involve “scenes of desire and passion” as “correlatives” to the environment (p. 83). In this interpretation, the spawning steelhead and the setting of the poem during the “central coast’s fertile period” (it opens in winter and closes in spring) drive the “instinctive impulses” of the poem’s characters (p. 84). Hart argues, for instance, that Vina’s spearing of the steelhead responds to the sexual atmosphere produced by the spawning fish: “she ‘pant[s] hard’ as ‘she leans on the shaft, looking down passionately’; as she lifts her prey, ‘her slender body/Rock[s] with its writhing’” (p. 84). So too, the rush of the elder Flodden into the thicket occupied by the boar seems to respond to the energy of the season; having told Hugh that he is “‘so damn’ tired of hearing your bed-springs creak in the evenings,’” his headlong rush at a creature associated with wild fecundity looks like a cry of outrage against the decline of his own sexual potency (“Steelhead, Wild Pig, The Fungus” [Jeffers 1937/2001g:536]). Most obviously, for Hart, Hugh and Vina appear so full of desire that their coupling is “completely part of the natural process” (p. 84). Hart’s reading brilliantly illuminates the poem’s depiction of seasonal fertility and its saturation with sexual desire, but I want to put some pressure on the idea that Jeffers sees Hugh, Vina, and Hugh’s father as all having what amounts to the same response to (and therefore involvement in) a “natural” system or environment. A surge of a thousand spawning steelhead, Jeffers writes, is impelled upstream by “irresistible nature” (p. 534). By contrast, many elements of the poem’s depiction of human desire seem transactional, by which I mean they involve trades, compensations, power relations, and—in the case of Hugh’s “terrible fine” on Vina, to say nothing of the fact that he calls her a “little bitch” and “carried her” into the willows (p. 532)—intimidation and the specter, at least, of sexual assault. When Hugh cites


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Vina for poaching the steelhead and declares that she had to “cross … our fences” to reach the spot, sex appears less analogous to the wild run of a thousand steelhead than as another claim within a network of property relations involving game laws and ownership boundaries (p. 532). Although the lines describing Vina’s ultimate willingness to keep going and her moaning (“‘Oh Oh Oh Oh, /You are beautiful, Hugh’” [p. 533]) seem to suggest the she becomes engaged in the encounter, the rest of the poem insists that we not minimize or forget how it originated. Consider, for one, the apparently wild “fecundity” represented by the boar. Jeffers stresses that such wildness is a construction, a compensation, for a native system that has been compromised and ends up being managed back into being by humans. When the grizzlies went extinct, the poem tells us, the “wild pigs” from the Urals were introduced; similarly, when the “timber-wolves were all killed, some rancher’s German shepherd-dogs/Ran with coyotes and bred a new kind of wolves” (p.  535). The boars ended up “overswarming” the wealthy man’s hunting grounds and finally “broke his borders,” but, parallel to the situation with Hugh and Vina, the poem actually distinguishes genuinely natural or native forms of breeding from those that appear consequent to human transactions and to the control of powerful men (p. 535). Hugh, when he holds her crime over Vina and thus effectively coerces her own apparently wild or native desire, appears as a version of the “wealthy amateur” whose investment in his property brings the wild boars to California. This way of thinking about the poem makes its conclusion legible. The tripartite structure announced by the title—“Steelhead, Wild Pig, The Fungus”—seems misleading because the fungus is so much less central to the final section than the steelhead and the boars are to the preceding ones. The first two lines of the section, to be sure, tell us that June Flodden and Florrie Crawford “were gathering mushrooms/In the green field” (p.  537). But the mushroom immediately becomes a symbol of human sexual relations when Florrie, in the third line, forms “an oval doorway between the finger and thumb of her left hand” and works the “odd-looking fungus,” with its thick stalk and “close purplish cap,” within it until “the head broke off” and she thrills in trampling it (pp. 537–538). The vast majority of the final section then narrates the conversation in which Florrie recommends counter-adultery as a response to the infidelities of their husbands. The poem lacks a point-by-point anatomical symbolism of the mushroom as a natural thing. The point, it seems to me, is that the mushroom is valuable only insofar as it represents something else. By the time we get to this section, the poem has educated us on the degree to which the human sexuality it depicts is less a natural system, as Hart argues, than a symbolic, representational, and constructed one. By the time Florrie proposes that she and June get their revenge by conducting their own affairs, not from active desire (after all, she is clear that any man will do), the poem has all but entirely deconstructed sexual desire as a natural instinct. Instead, breeding balances the ledger—as Vina does with Hugh, as the interbred dog-coyotes do when the wolves are gone, and as the introduction of the fecund boars do when the grizzlies go extinct. “‘Every time/ That he does it,’” Florrie says to June, speaking for the transactional nature of sex in this poem, “‘you do it’” (p. 540).

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness


The transactional management of desire, embedded in power systems that involve game laws, sexual coercion, property, revenge, and the perpetuation of “wildness” by the wealthy, differs starkly from the natural ecology represented by the spawning steelhead. Hugh watches them in the braided channels near the river’s mouth after he leaves Vina. He sees a steelhead turned on its side in three inches of water, too shallow for it to swim effectively, where “instantly a gaunt herring-gull hovered and dropped, to gouge the exposed/Eye with her beak” (p. 534). The fish flops over in anguish, and immediately loses the other eye to another gull, bringing down a “screaming mob” of birds that soon cover the stranded and writhing form (p. 534). The “irresistible nature” that drives the spawning run, in this scene, also drives the birds to track and hunt the rafts of anadromous steelhead and salmon that enter coastal streams. Hugh, feeling “fortune’s iniquities,” rides his horse into the birds and scatters them (p. 534). The act comes straight from the heart of his anthropocentric sensibilities. He cannot save the fish, but drives the starving gulls from their meal because he experiences the vulnerability of the steelhead buck. It is, significantly for a man of Hugh’s behaviors, a buck, identified as such when we are told that the gulls “covered him” (p.  534). The fecundity and fertility represented by anadromy itself involves the ecological symbiosis of fish and birds, but Hugh characteristically introduces a transactional idea—that what he witnesses is unfair—into this scene from the spawning run. Jeffers concludes section one at this point, but opens section two with a poetic line that is also a complete sentence: “Perhaps their wildness will never die from these mountains.” Whose wildness, exactly, is being addressed? It seems that it might be the ecologically intertwined animals that the poem names after the line: “the deer breed, the puma hunts them, the rattler/Has his fangs, fleet hawks have the air” (p. 535). That list goes on to name the introduced boars and the interbred coyotes and German shepherds—whose naturalness, I have argued, the poem represents as already compromised by their origins in systems mediated by human activity. A more compelling referent, I think, is obscured by the section break: the steelhead and the gulls represent the nearest antecedents for “their wildness.” The poem presents the fishes’ drive to reproduce and the gaunt gulls’ instant descent on the errant steelhead as immediate and instinctual rather than managed or negotiated. Their behavior is subject to the laws of hunger rather than to human projections of fairness, and to the urgings of desire rather than to an understanding of a sexual ecosystem in terms of transactional equivalencies, property boundaries, and the patriarchal rights that Hugh claims with Vina and, shortly thereafter, projects onto the steelhead buck. As Hugh’s headlong rush to scatter the birds indicates, however, even the steelhead are subject to the human impulse, at least, to manage wildness. By the mid-­ 1930s, when Jeffers wrote “Steelhead, Wild Pig, The Fungus,” California fisheries were heavily influenced by hatchery programs. In 1902, the first steelhead fry were reared at Price Creek Hatchery (on a tributary of the coastal Eel River in Humboldt County) and planted in the state’s waters (Leitritz 1970). In 1917, an amendment to legislation related to water flow minimums allowed dam owners to construct hatcheries instead of fishways as mitigation for environmental impact; the so-called “hatchery exemption was written with a focus on providing continuing fishing


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opportunities in spite of the lack of fish passage” (Bork et  al. 2012:824–867). Individual hatcheries came and went rapidly, but the collective work of more than 100 facilities by 1935 distributed eggs and fry around the state; the fish in certain rivers in Monterey County, Jeffers’s home, would have included strains established from eggs collected in coastal Scott Creek in Santa Cruz County (Leitritz 1970). Given the historical context, the transactional management of sex and reproduction in “Steelhead, Wild Pig, The Fungus” thus hangs over even its primary icon of a natural system—the spawning run—that appears to operate outside of its grip. The extinction of the grizzlies and compensatory introduction of the Eurasian boars hints at the future for wild steelhead. The two poems I have discussed in detail, “Salmon Fishing” and “Steelhead, Wild Pig, The Fungus,” both focus on the points where an upriver rush of “wanton” fish encounters the people who inhabit Jeffers’s coastal communities. At those meeting points, the ardor signified by anadromy turns transactional: salmon become cold “bullion” unfeelingly dragged onto the rocks, steelhead enter a coastal environment wherein natural systems and natural drives appear as negotiated experiences, and the rapacious desires of men like Hugh flow through economies of power constructed within sociocultural orders. One of the most chilling works in Jeffers’s oeuvre, the narrative poem “Margrave,” drives homes the significance of the scene. As in “Salmon Fishing,” anglers have arrayed themselves “very solemnly” on the sands where a river meets the ocean (“Margrave” [Jeffers 1932/2001e:390]). In this case, however, “two boys and a man had rifles instead of rods, they meant to punish the salmon-devouring sea-lions/Because the fish were fewer than last year” (pp. 391–392). Sea lion predation on salmon represents a vexing question in fisheries management, but the compensatory human logic of the shooters’ violent intent— they balance the ledger by attempting to “punish” one species for a decline in the other—informs the poem in a particularly brutal way. For the shooters are themselves attacked by a local man whose son, Walter Margrave, awaits hanging for kidnapping and ultimately killing a child because he wanted to use the ransom money to send himself to medical school. Walter Margrave’s logic is chillingly transactional: believing that he is very intelligent but knowing that he is too poor to afford the tuition, he asks “what’s one child’s life/Against a career like mine that might have saved/Thousands of children?” (p. 387). When Walter’s father attacks the two boys and the man, his rage links the calculative aggression of his son and that of the shooters. In the father’s pain, the reader experiences the balancing of life against life as a peculiar cruelty of the human mind. The spawning run, in “Margrave,” enters so fully into the anthropocentric drama that the fish themselves, running into the raft of baited hooks at the river mouth, come to seem like people. “I dreamed about fishing, /Some time ago,” explains the father, “but we were the fish. I saw the people all running reaching for prizes/That dangled on long lines from the sky” (pp. 390–391). If the tide in Dickinson’s poem must withdraw because it reaches a town in which “No One he seemed to know,” anadromous fish in Jeffers’s poetry also reach a physical threshold, the river’s mouth, where they encounter the full force of human relations. By presenting the shock of the moment when wild desire becomes calculated and avaricious, the

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness


poems I have analyzed all build environmental awareness around the reader’s experience of how natural systems are compromised and degraded by negotiated ones. At the same time, by presenting those natural systems as fecund, fluid, energetic, and ardent, the poems use anadromy as Dickinson used the tide, to prompt the reader’s identification with a wildness—associated with sexual or reproductive yearning itself—that is more primal than the transactional greed of Hugh Flodden, of Walter Margrave, and of the angler-priests who perform the ritual solemnities of converting salmon into silver bullion. Coastal resilience, in these poems, demands imaginative projections beyond anthropocentric assignments of value, power, and meaning. It is modeled by the anadromous species and the “wild rock coast,” to invoke “Tamar” again, through which the environment itself feels passionate, ­pulsing, and generative.

Theodore Roethke’s Coastal Longings Roethke died of a heart attack on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 1963. His final book of poetry, The Far Field (1964), was published posthumously the following year. Roethke suffered from hypertension, but the sudden nature of his death at age 55 has made the volume seem startlingly prescient to readers (Balakian 1999:129). The six poems of the first section, the “North American Sequence,” flash bits of Roethke’s life before our eyes. As a child, he explores the edges of a field in Michigan, where grass “missed by the mower” grows around discarded machinery to form nesting sites for catbirds and mice (p. 25). As a young man, he learns to drive in gravel on a country road somewhere, mastering the technique for punching the throttle through low swales. As the mature, meditative figure whose voice narrates the poem, he observes a rose anchored in a hedge at the edge of a coastal estuary, watching it sway in the currents of wind and water and recalling—in a quick temporal shift characteristic of the poems—his father’s greenhouses: “And I think of roses, roses/… And my father standing astride the cement benches, /Lifting me high over the four-foot stems” (p.  30). Composed of fragmentary memories and meditations, the “North American Sequence” explicitly seeks a state of being in which a “man faced with his own immensity” can absorb the pieces of his whole life into “the end of things, the final man” (p. 28). That goal seems both physical and metaphysical by turns. As Peter Balakian puts it, the work’s “preoccupation with death, final ends, and eternal matters” (1999:129) yokes a strong description of physical places and a Whitman-like affinity for traversing the country’s geography to numinous moments when, to quote from one of the poems, “the flesh takes on the pure poise of the spirit” (Roethke 1964:17). For Balakian, as for Rosemary Sullivan (1975:149), the movement of water throughout the poems—the tide ebbs and floods, rivers ice over and break up, heavy rains create flash floods in arroyos—creates the fluid environment for such potent synthesis. Recalling memories of water from many different locations, the poem is mostly narrated from tidal estuaries in the Pacific Northwest, whether the mouth of a river on Vancouver Island (in the second


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poem, “Meditation at Oyster River,” set at a place where Roethke enjoyed salmon fishing), or in what appear to be locations around the Salish Sea, where natural beauty meets urban detritus: “slag-heaps fume at the edge of raw cities: /The gulls wheel over their singular garbage” (p. 13). The sequence’s estuarine aspect, Balakian writes, forms a landscape “where things converge, boundaries dissolve into each other, and parameters shift … on the terrain of an estuary, land and water interpenetrate, fresh and salt water meet and enter into each other … In such a terrain, the poet has a perfect medium for discovering the convergence of cosmic with particular, terra firma with the infinite beyond” (1999:137). Emphasizing the tidal ecosystem as the physical ground of metaphysical experience, Balakian exemplifies how recent critics have challenged an older complaint, associated in particular with the poets W.D. Snodgrass and M.L. Rosenthal, that the “North American Sequence” is too ethereal, that it seeks in the “final man” an effort to transcend matter, history, and form (see Sullivan 1975:164). For Trenton Hickman (2006) and William Barillas (2006), indeed, Roethke appears as a full-fledged nature poet whose preference for “rivers, lakes, and landforms” over sociocultural markers—“flags, anthems, and myths”—may make him look ahistorical but in fact ties him to the longer durations of environmental time (Barillas 2006:132). In presenting “North American Sequence” as a kind of coda to Robinson Jeffers’s coastal poetics, I want to suggest that it also presents the ardor of the inflowing marine environment—which reaches Roethke in the forms of both floodtide water and of spawning salmon—as the stimulus of ecological awareness. That pattern begins early, although in a form that initially seems more distressing than compellingly desirous. The first poem in the sequence, “The Longing,” opens in an exhausted, oily world (“kingdom of stinks and sighs, /Fetor of cockroaches, dead fish, petroleum”), out of which sexual desire has been drained. “Lust fatigues the soul,” moans the narrator; “how to transcend this sensual emptiness?” (p. 13). The first answer to that persistent question in The Far Field appears in the third section of the poem, in the form of an anadromous model for selfhood: I would with the fish, the blackening salmon, and the mad lemmings, The children dancing, the flowers widening. Who sighs from far away? (p. 14)

Blackening salmon, of course, are those that have entered fresh water and, on their spawning run, have begun to lose their silver coloration. The image recalls the fatiguing aspect of lust in the opening section—blackening salmon would seem to epitomize the energy claimed by desire—but the image can also be envisioned the other way, as reinfusing natural energies of drive and determination into the very decay that their blackened conditions represent. The salmon appear in the poem as an initial archetype of desire’s tenacity (“I would with the fish …”), evoked not against the world of the poem’s opening but within it—generative longing, that is, persisting in a degenerated state. The salmon, in turn, evoke lemmings, also animals whose reproductive drives yoke unleashed passions to a deteriorated condition; lemmings swarm toward new mating territories when population pressures become too great, a mass migration not necessarily toward death (although in some instances

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness


lemmings do die en masse, particularly at river crossings) but toward the establishment of a new population. The bright aspect of the following line, describing children dancing and flowers opening, seems to follow from the promise of a new generation represented by the blackening salmon and the mad lemmings, drawing the lesson of their reproductive migrations while also, more generically, representing an influx of possibility. The immersive experience of being “with the fish” on their spawning run ultimately appears as an antidote to the emptiness of a “kingdom of … sighs” represented at the outset of the poem. Indeed, the rhetorical question “who sighs from far away?” upbraids the earlier narrative persona, who can be imagined as “far away” in two senses. First, the poem itself has moved away from that sighing perspective. Second, the earlier persona had been shown “fail[ing] to move forward”; that self appeared fundamentally distant, like a “worm/Ready for any crevice, /An eyeless starer” (p.  13). The later self, moving upriver with the blackening salmon, reestablishes mobility and embraces desire—even in decay—as an entry into natural rhythms. All of this puts a lot of pressure on the single, brief image of the blackening salmon. But the moment inaugurates a new energy in the volume as a whole, and the passage appears as a point-by-point response to the poem’s opening and to the specific problem of desire’s self-consuming, depleting aspect. Anadromy’s lesson— that power coexists with loss, that generativity flows from deterioration—tunes sensual urgency not just to youthful potency but to maturity, reinvigorating the older poet by moving him from the degraded “raw cities” and “sensual emptiness” of the early stanzas to the natural environment and the embodied “longing”—to invoke the first poem’s title—of the rest of the sequence (p. 13). The doubling of environmental forces and sensuality appears throughout the “North American Sequence” in the ways I described in the introduction to this essay. Tide ripples come “rustling in” to the poet at the mouth of the Oyster River, “tongues of water” entering the estuary and “sliding between the ridges of stone” (p. 16). The edge of the water flirts with whatever it meets, “advancing and retreating” on the beach (p. 24), playing a teasing game with the “insouciant sandpiper” (p. 17), or running up to where the narrator, in an obviously sexualized image, “lie[s] naked in sand, /In the silted shallows of a slow river, /Fingering a shell” (p.  26). The “North American Sequence” moves toward the moment that the “body shimmers with a light flame”—a phrase worth quoting again for its centrality to the text as well as for its likely reference to Walter Pater’s The Renaissance (1873/1888), which concludes with a famous injunction to “burn always with … [a] hard, gemlike flame” of “exquisite passion” and whose emphasis on sensual—rather than moral—experiences of art and life scandalized conventional Victorian mores (p. 250). Waking desire in the sorts of moments I have quoted from across the poem, the “North American Sequence” superimposes two narrative arcs on one another. First, as recent commentators on the poem have elucidated, the narrator’s memories cohere vast reaches of geographical and environmental space and lodge the poem’s metaphysical ruminations in the land and the water. Second, the narrator emerges from the sensual exhaustion he experiences in the decayed urban environment, rebuilding his sensuality around the estuary’s influxes. Running with the salmon, as


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in “The Longing,” captures the sequence’s double movement, through the physical space of the evoked river and through the journey of awakening sexual energy in maturity. In that sense the poem’s title is a pun: “longing” refers most obviously to desire, but it also refers to the sequence’s emphasis on long expanses and journeys—its “longings” are the tidal channels, rivers, and roads that extend horizontally through the poem. The conflation of sexual longing and of moving along reaches its fullest realization in the fourth poem in the sequence, with which I will close. Clearly recalling the title of the first poem, “The Longing,” Roethke in “The Long Waters” places the narrator in a “country of bays and inlets” (p. 22), a complex estuarine environment “where the salt water is freshened/By small streams running down under fallen fir trees” (p. 23). The description evokes, as James Dougherty puts it, the “straits and sounds … around Seattle, where Roethke lived after 1948” (Dougherty 2001:177), but extending that geography to the wider location of the Salish Sea connects the environment of this poem to the one on the east side of Vancouver Island that anchors “Meditation at Oyster River.” From the Salish Sea’s outlet to the Pacific Ocean, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, interbraided fingers and channels run both north along Vancouver Island and south into the Puget Sound, fed by a lacy network of freshwater rivers and streams. “Long waters” forms an apt poetic description of the vast extent of narrow, tidal water bodies in the Salish Sea, running around innumerable islands and flowing from sources deep in the coasts of Washington and British Columbia (Fig. 1.1). From the outset of the poem, however, the title invokes the “long waters” of longing itself. The first stanza is one of the thorniest in a generally thorny work: Whether the bees have thoughts, we cannot say, But the hind part of the worm wiggles the most, Minnows can hear, and butterflies, yellow and blue, Rejoice in the language of smells and dancing. Therefore I reject the world of the dog Though he hear a note higher than C And the thrush stopped in the middle of his song. (p. 22)

The limits of knowledge described in the first line—we “cannot say” whether bees think—provide the clue to the lines, which stress observable physical phenomena over projections (thoughts about thoughts, in fact) held in the mind. Worms wiggle most in the “hind part”; the activities that interest the poet here lodge not in the head but in the body. Describing the physical senses of minnows and butterflies, the narrator focuses on experience at the level of the individual creature. “Reject[ing]” the ultrasonic hearing range of dogs, the poem does not belittle that range so much as pull away from the human idealization of the dog’s “world” for its notes “higher than C”; the stress, again, falls on a body sufficient unto itself rather than oriented to a projection of a world—whether the thoughts of bees or the higher frequencies of canine acoustic perception—beyond sensation. I take the final line of the stanza in a double sense. Referring most obviously to the fact that the dog can continue to hear notes produced by the thrush after the bird has apparently stopped singing (that is, to the human ear), the line also forms a viable grammatical object for the verb “reject.” Rejecting the thrush who stops in the middle of his song even as he rejects

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness





Mt. Waddington




The Salish Sea Monmouth Mountain


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The Salish Sea extends from the north end of the Strait of Georgia to the south end of the Puget Sound and west to the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca

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Data Sources: SRTM (CGIAR-CSI), NOAA, Wa. DFW, Wa. DNR, BC Digital Atlas, ESRI 124°W



stefan freelan - 2009

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Fig. 1.1  Map of the Salish Sea and surrounding basin [Source: Stefan Freelan, Western Washington University, 2009]


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Fig. 1.2  Har and Heva Bathing: Mnetha Looking On (illustration by William Blake for “Tiriel,” India ink and grey wash on paper) [Reproduction by permission of the Syndics of The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge]

the ultrasonic registers of the dog’s hearing, the narrator of this poem craves ongoing sensory experience. The poem opens by fully establishing the narrator’s desire for a richly embodied environment of sounds, colors, smells, and movement. The emphasis on phenomenology—what is experienced, not imagined or projected through the human mind—turns into the estuarine environment in the rest of “The Long Waters” and accrues an erotic charge. Moving to the “edge of the sea,” where “the fresh and salt waters meet,” the narrator channels his immersion in the phenomenological moment through connubial pleasure (p. 22). “Mnetha, Mother of Har,” he intones, “protect me/From the worm’s advance and retreat, from the butterfly’s havoc” (p.  22). The reference to Mnetha is highly obscure outside of the history of poetry. Roethke invokes a character from William Blake’s “Tiriel” (1789/2008), a work that—like others by Blake—invents his own mythological universe. Mnetha is the guardian of Heva and Har, a married couple patterned on Adam and Eve, who in their old age and senility have forgotten the world and returned to a paradisiacal condition of innocence. Protected by Mnetha (who is not actually their mother, but believed to be by them), they live without fear of change or loss. In the illustration of Har and Heva bathing that Blake, an artist as well as a poet, made for the work, Mnetha looks over the naked couple locked in an amorous embrace at the water’s edge (Fig. 1.2). Also set at the edge of water—in this case of a Salish Sea estuary—Roethke’s invocation of Mnetha’s protection thus enfolds the force in the sensory present, as established in the poem’s opening, into the unrepressed, unembarrassed sexuality of Har and Heva. As amnesiacs, they have no consciousness of anything outside of the moment, a condition that Roethke recalls by suggesting that Mnetha guards against the “worm’s advance and retreat” and the “havoc of the butterfly” (p. 22); the former evokes the incursions of maggots on a dead body, while

1  The Ecology of Desire: Coastal Poetics, Passion, and Environmental Consciousness


the latter refers to metamorphosis.2 (Roethke goes on to describe Mnetha’s protection of the self against other forms of change and transformation, including “sea-­ change,” “heaving sands,” and the “slow sinking of the island peninsula” [p. 22].) The reference to Blake’s poem, all of this is to say, evokes sexual coupling in a specifically atemporal form, outside of history and instead immersed—in the illustration, literally immersed—in the phenomenological. Roethke moves the theme of the opening stanza of “The Long Waters” into the erotic register of Har and Heva’s watery lovemaking. Under the sign of Mnetha’s supervision of lovers fully absorbed in the present moment, “The Long Waters” develops Whitmanian lists of estuarine sights. The philosophical manifesto of the first stanza and the obscurity of the references to Blake turn into simple, immediate observations of life and death around the bay. Trout and salmon smolts “leap for the low-flying insects.” A dead pine tree has sunk “whole with its roots … into the estuary,” becoming a “perch for the osprey.” On the shore, an “ivy-branch, cast to the ground, puts down roots into the sawdust” (p. 23). All of these observations are fundamentally ecological; they involve interrelations, dependencies, adaptations, and resiliencies. And—my major point in this essay as a whole—they emerge coterminously with the poem’s drama of sexual desire, whereby the initial feeling that “lust fatigues the soul” transforms into the compelling form of longing that Roethke sets in the long waters. Indeed, the larger aims of the “North American Sequence,” as I have described them, involve the awakening of desire within an aged poet meditating on coastal systems. The blackening salmon epitomize the sequence’s project, as a feature of anadromy, in “The Longing.” Har and Heva epitomize the sequence’s project, as a feature of the tidal estuary, in “The Long Waters”; like the salmon, they are old but ardent, at the conclusion of life but full of youth. Roethke’s work is nowhere near as explicit about sex and desire as the Jeffers poems I have discussed, much less the Dickinson poem with which I opened, but the lessons of anadromy and tide seem summed up when, toward the end of the poem, a breeze moves upward “over the knees” from a lower point in the landscape (p. 24). This arousing caress is the “sea wind [that] wakes desire,” the touch of the environment that causes the body to shimmer with the Paterian flame. The narrator’s experience of being “with the fish” on their spawning run, the eternal present of sensuality enjoyed by the amnesiacs Hera and Har, Pater’s emphasis on the passions of the moment, and the poem’s involvement in phenomenological rather than abstract or projected forms of knowledge—all of these form a coastal consciousness that channels amorousness into awareness, eroticism into ecological observation. “Beautiful my desire,” Roethke writes, but it is the second half of that line that really defines the movement into environment that desire shepherds: “and the place of my desire” (p.  31). As for Jeffers, care for the coast awakens with the ardency set within its ecosystems, a

 The fact that the worm and butterfly appear in a different aspect in the opening stanza is part of the logic: in that stanza, they represent the sensory present that the poet, invoking Mnetha, would protect against change. 2


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point that perhaps has no more beautiful or direct expression than when the narrator takes the coast into his arms in the final line of “The Long Waters”: I lose and find myself in the long water; I am gathered together once more; I embrace the world. (p. 24)

References Balakian, P. (1999). Theodore Roethke’s far fields: The evolution of his poetry. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. Barillas, W. (2006). Midwestern pastoral: Place and landscape in the literature of the American heartland. Athens: Ohio University Press. Blake, W. (2008). Tiriel. In D.V. Erdman (Ed.), The complete poetry and prose of William Blake (pp. 276–285). Berkeley: University of California Press. (Original work published in 1789). Bork, K., Krovoza, J., Katz, J., & Moyle, P. (2012). The rebirth of California fish and game code section 5937: Water for fish. UC Davis Law Review, 45(3), 809–913. Dickinson, E. (1960). I started early—took my dog (J520). In T.  Johnson (Ed.), The complete poetry of Emily Dickinson (p. 254). Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. Doty, M. (1995). Atlantis. In Atlantis. New York: Harper Collins. Dougherty, J. (2001). Theodore Roethke’s “North American sequence”: Religious awakening in the west. Literature and Belief, 21(1/2), 177–203. Hart, G. (2013). Inventing the language to tell it: Robinson Jeffers and the biology of consciousness. New York: Fordham University Press. Hickman, T. (2006). Theodore Roethke and the poetics of place. In E. Haralson (Ed.), Reading the middle generation anew (pp. 183–202). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. Hunt, T. (2001). Introduction. In T. Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (pp. 1–14). Stanford: Stanford University Press. Jeffers, R. (2001a). Animals. In T. Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (p. 651). Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1951). Jeffers, R. (2001b). Credo. In T.  Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (p.  147). Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1927). Jeffers, R. (2001c). Drunken Charlie. In T. Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (pp. 568–578). Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1941). Jeffers, R. (2001d). Hungerfield. In T. Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (pp. 653– 675). Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1952). Jeffers, R. (2001e). Margrave. In T. Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (pp. 382– 393). Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1932). Jeffers, R. (2001f). Salmon fishing. In T.  Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (p. 18). Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1924). Jeffers, R. (2001g). Steelhead, wild pig, the fungus. In T.  Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (pp. 532–540). Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1937). Jeffers, R. (2001h). Tamar. In T. Hunt (Ed.), The selected poetry of Robinson Jeffers (pp. 26–97). Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1924). Leitritz, E. (1970). A history of California’s fish hatcheries 1870–1960 (Fish Bulletin 150). State of California Department of Fish and Game. Retrieved December 2, 2017, from http://content. Millay, E.S.V. (2012). Ebb. In The selected poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay (p. 109). New York: Random House. (Original work published 1921).

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Moore, B. (2017). Ecological literature and the critique of anthropocentrism. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Morton, T. (2009). Ecology without nature: Rethinking environmental aesthetics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Pater, W. (1888). The renaissance. London: Macmillan. (Original work published 1873). Roethke, T. (1964). The far field. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.. Rosetti, C. (2001). Jessie Cameron. In The complete poems (pp.  111–113). London: Penguin. (Original work published 1866). Steinbeck, J. (1992). Cannery row. New York: Penguin. (Original work published 1945). Sullivan, R. (1975). Theodore Roethke: The garden master. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Tolstoy, A. K. (1912). Love’s ebb and flow. Armenia, 6(4), 9.

Chapter 2

Invisible Landscapes: Perception, Heritage, and Coastal Change in Southern California Anita Guerrini, Donald R. Burnette, and Jenifer E. Dugan

Introduction What is natural? This is a seemingly simple question whose answer is elusive at best. However, it is at the root of our perception of the landscapes that surround us. Robert Elliot, in Faking Nature, suggested that we place degrees of value on landscapes based on their perceived naturalness (Elliot 1997). The more natural a landscape appears, the greater its value. In this sense, naturalness is measured in degrees, and value is based on where a given landscape falls along that spectrum. Elliot further articulated this spectrum along a scale of the degree of human intervention (Elliot 1997). The more evidence of human intervention, the less natural a landscape. However, this rule of thumb immediately runs into difficulties: human intervention can be difficult to discern and even more difficult to measure. Moreover, as restoration ecologists have found, any attempt to set a prehuman baseline for a given place is fraught with ethical and ecological conflicts, not to mention conflicting cultural values (Higgs 2003). Especially outside North American contexts, the existence of a pristine, nonhuman environment sometime in the past has become increasingly elusive. As some historians have pushed back the boundaries of history to encompass the eras previously thought to be “prehistoric,” so some ecologists have begun to question the idea of pristine, human-free past landscapes as baselines (Wooley 2002; Foster and Aber 2004; Smail 2008; Higgs et al. 2014; Beller et al. 2017). Landscapes

A. Guerrini (*) School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA D. R. Burnette Independent scholar, San Diego, CA, USA J. E. Dugan Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



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exist in time and therefore are inherently historical. However, the histories of many places remain invisible; one example is the U.S.–Mexican border, which exists less as a distinct place or ecosystem than as a terrain of subjective and emotionally charged meanings (Escofet and Espajel 1999; Warren et al. 2015). In this essay, we look at one particular coastal landscape whose ecological and human history has, in the space of less than a century, become invisible, subsumed to a narrative of pristine nature. In this place, the “natural” and the historic converge and require us to revisit the valuation of such spaces and resources. This essay focuses on a coastal dune system in southern California. Coastal dune systems in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico are under continued threat from development and ecological degradation, and their significance is little understood by the public. Ecologist Peter Alpert characterizes coastal dunes as “lands a few tens of meters to several kilometers across, made of sand blown inward from the beach, colonized by distinctive communities of plants and animals, and visited for pleasure by people” (Alpert 2016:409). Dunes shift with the winds and are therefore particularly dynamic; in California and elsewhere, attempts to stabilize dunes have led to the introduction of many nonnative plants. These dynamic qualities and the relative rarity of coastal dunes make them particularly vulnerable to human-induced changes (Martinez et  al. 2008; Everard et  al. 2010; Rodriguez-­ Revelo et al. 2018; Dugan and Hubbard 2010). A second theme in this essay is the role that ecological science itself has played in the alteration of natural landscapes. In her recent essay on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, historian Megan Raby reinterprets one such convergent landscape around the idea of an ecosystem as an “ark” or an “archive.” Preservationists, those who hold the “natural” in highest valuation, tend to regard spaces as arks, meaning that the landscape in question represents “a fragment of … nature saved from the destructive effects of civilization” (Raby 2015:802). Ark landscapes are seen as the last bastions of pristine wilderness—a true example of what is considered natural. Once identified, every effort is made to isolate and protect these landscapes, erecting boundaries at the margins to facilitate their preservation. However, as Raby points out, preservation is rarely for its own sake and often includes scientific goals, which was certainly the case at Barro Colorado, an island formed by the building of the Panama Canal that became a refuge for several species. At the same time, forwarding the notion that a given landscape is an ark bolsters the argument that it is in need of protection and preservation. Accordingly, steps to create boundaries around the landscape and the impetus to study these increasingly rare ecosystems follow. At this point, Raby observes, these places cease to be entirely natural and instead become scientific objects. Historian Lorraine Daston has defined a scientific object as a phenomenon or object “that can be observed and manipulated, that is capable of theoretical ramifications and empirical surprises, and that coheres, at least for a time, as an ontological entity” (Daston 2000:5; see also Latour 1996). With the conversion of a landscape into a scientific object, the accumulation of a legacy attached to the area is inevitable. Even in a strictly observational setting, there is an ongoing effort to identify, quantify, and record conditions and species within the space. In Raby’s formulation, the ark becomes an archive. The collection of data itself creates a history. As part of that history, humans are inexorably intertwined in the landscape’s legacy.

2  Invisible Landscapes: Perception, Heritage, and Coastal Change in Southern California


Coal Oil Point and the Making of an Invisible Landscape While the status of a landscape as a scientific object and natural laboratory thus can modify how such spaces are valued, other factors also enter into the composition of “invisible landscapes.” A case in point is the University of California’s Coal Oil Point Reserve near Santa Barbara, California, part of the system-wide UC Natural Reserve System. Rich in human and ecological history, Coal Oil Point includes intertidal, coastal dune, and wetland habitats, including the Devereux Slough, a seasonal wetland that is separated from the nearby Pacific for much of the year but fills with winter rains and breaks its boundaries to flow into the ocean. In coastal southern California, only 10% of coastal wetlands remain, and Coal Oil Point comprises a small portion of this 10% (Fig. 2.1). This area has a long history, which emerges from a wide variety of historical evidence. Archaeological evidence of shell middens and stone tools shows significant occupation by Native American ancestors of the Chumash tribe, which carbon dating has revealed to have begun at least 8500 years ago. Spanish explorers briefly described the area in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, noting its lush vegetation and abundant trees. However, the Spanish did not settle in California until the eighteenth century, and documentary evidence for this area, on the western edge of the main settlement and mission in Santa Barbara, remains sketchy until well into the nineteenth century. It was part of the Spanish (or more properly Mexican) land grant to the Irishman Nicolas Den in 1842 and remained in the Den family for almost 70 years, during which time it was farmed using dry-farming techniques and also supported cattle grazing. The Den descendants split the original 15,000 acres of the land grant into smaller parcels, which changed hands several times between the 1870s and the 1910s (Guerrini and Dugan 2010; Tompkins 1966). In 1919, the portion of the property that now constitutes the Reserve, plus a good deal more, was purchased by Colin and Nancy Campbell and became known for the next 25 years as the Campbell Ranch. The aggressive plans for development proposed by Colin Campbell were forestalled by his sudden death in 1923, but the area continued to be the site of farming as well as, as we shall see below, an extensive project of long-term ecological research. The Campbells built roads, dug wells, and constructed a large mansion in the Spanish Colonial style that still survives, as well as numerous outbuildings. The Campbells sold the property in 1945 and, until the early 2000s, much of the land contiguous to the Reserve was occupied by a school. The University of California Santa Barbara campus moved to a nearby site in 1949, and the area between the university and the Reserve—the unincorporated town of Isla Vista—has become one of the most densely populated square miles west of the Rockies. The Reserve therefore occupies the edge of a highly urbanized area, a liminal space that is both a literal and symbolic borderland (Boyce 1972; Guerrini and Dugan 2010). Despite this long and varied history, most observers now view the Coal Oil Point Reserve as its managers present it: a largely untouched landscape—an ark amid the encroaching urbanization of Isla Vista and Goleta. Its identity as a cultural landscape has become invisible. Its value as a reserve—part of a “Natural Reserve System”—lies in this perception of the area as a natural rather than human-made landscape. However, during the Campbell Ranch era, Coal Oil Point also became an


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Fig. 2.1  Map of Coal Oil Point [Source: U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey, 1942]

archive, a field laboratory for scientific research that significantly altered the landscape. This essay will focus on how this alleged ark became an archive, and how that archive later disappeared to become invisible to subsequent observers. We will conclude with some observations on the value of such cultural landscapes in the context of recent interests in “novel ecosystems.”

The Beginnings of the Reserve Coal Oil Point became part of the University of California Natural Reserve System in 1970. At that time, much of the land had been unused since the Campbell era; Helena Devereux’s school occupied a small portion of the former Campbell Ranch. Interest among scientists and preservationists in preserving the coastal landscape, especially the dune fields and slough, first emerged in 1966. John Robert Haller, professor of botany at UC Santa Barbara and chairman of the local committee of Natural Land and Water Reserves, submitted a letter to the Regents of the University of California, encouraging them to bring Coal Oil Point into the University’s reserve system. Haller recognized that along the southern California coast, intertidal zones and adjacent dune fields were at great risk due to the rapid pace of coastal development that had begun after World War II. The dune fields, he observed, were “one of the few remaining areas of coastal dunes in southern California” (Haller 1966). He and others viewed the landscape as one of the increasingly rare examples of an undisturbed biota; thus, the incentive existed to take all available steps to preserve its character and status. At the

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time, therefore, Haller saw the landscape, from the shore to the slough backwater, as an “ark” housing a dense array of flora and fauna as well as having value for its geological features. His vision for the property, therefore, was primarily in its value as a scientific object, a natural laboratory whose attraction was its “relative uniqueness.” Apparently unknown to Haller and subsequent interested observers and researchers for nearly four decades, the dune fields at Coal Oil Point had already served as a scientific laboratory for an important early ecologist. From 1927 to 1942, one of the founders of American ecology, Frederic E. Clements (1874–1945), conducted a series of experiments in the fore and back dunes of Devereux Slough. The large scale of his research activities constituted a major disruption to the local ecosystems. However, Clements included in his studies a great number of native species already growing in the area. In addition, as ecological theories shifted, later e­ cologists endeavored to distance themselves from Clements’s work. These two factors served to camouflage his potentially profound influence on the coastal dune ecosystem at Coal Oil Point. In effect, even to Haller, an accomplished botanist of some renown, the hybridized human-natural status of the dune fields was invisible. The floral diversity observed at Coal Oil Point, which Haller found “surprising” and accredited to “a classic example of interspecific hybridization” did not, in fact, result from purely natural processes (Haller 1966). The hybridized human-natural system created by the intersection of Frederic Clements and the environment of Coal Oil Point created a unique and valuable landscape, whose significance is still imperfectly acknowledged today.

Clements and “Experimental Evolution” Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1874, Clements studied botany under taxonomist Charles Bessey at the University of Nebraska and received his doctorate in 1898. His early studies of mixed prairie in Nebraska focused on examining the reclamation of abandoned roads by annuals, perennials, shrubs, and grasses. Clements found that, although perennials such as sagebrush established themselves early, the grasses eventually reestablished themselves and dominated the previously sterile trails (Clements 1897). In 1904–1905, Clements articulated his preliminary work to include the influence of numerous factors, including elevation, soil, atmospheric and wasting events, human action, and even volcanic action. He devoted most of his first book, Research Methods in Ecology (1905), to this issue of succession. Most of the experimental methods espoused in the book address the study of plant competition, but Clements articulated his Lamarckian perspective on evolution, which emphasized local environmental influences on variation (Whittaker 1964). Plant Ecology, first published in 1929, was an updated version of Clements’s Research Methods and included a similar focus on the use of quadrats (standardized plots) and other sampling techniques (Weaver and Clements 1929). By the second edition, published in 1938, Clements’s views on succession, competition, and migration had matured substantially. Clements expressed his opinions on the notions of reaction and coaction with regard to plant community stability, espe-


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cially the effect of environmental degradation on plant communities. His experiments and experience in the Santa Barbara area and his study of the Dust Bowl region inspired these opinions (Weaver and Clements 1938). Plant Ecology constitutes one of the earliest treatises on conservation ecology. Clements’s efforts during his later career were driven almost exclusively by a single question: what is the mechanism of evolution? While he is generally lauded for his earlier work on succession, that was not the topic of his field experiments at Coal Oil Point. Here, his goal was to force adaptation through the experimental manipulation of environmental factors. In other words, Clements sought to create experimentally the conditions that would generate structural change in plant species. The heavily controlled installations in the dune fields at Coal Oil Point were solely devoted to investigating his theory that “all new forms arise out of the environment as the proximate or remote cause” (Clements et al. 1950:165). Clements hypothesized that acclimatization to environmental factors produced variation, and that variation ultimately led to the formation of new species. He intended his efforts—what he termed “experimental evolution”—to “study, under measured conditions … the origin of new forms in nature” (Clements 1905:145). He had claimed some success earlier at his Alpine Laboratory at Pike’s Peak, Colorado. In 1924, Clements suggested that “in making a glacial bog, we were able to turn the ordinary species of Epilobium into something very close to the northern E. latifolium and by another year I trust to be able to make the change complete” (FEC to D.T.  MacDougal, October 14, 1924). The transplants at Coal Oil Point allowed Clements to study evolutionary mechanisms at work, either through direct manipulation or through the mere fact that the dune habitat was foreign to the species in question. Clements hypothesized that these evolutionary mechanisms were tied to environmental stimulus.

Clements and Coal Oil Point By the early 1920s, Clements sought a location to set up a coastal station to augment the alpine and desert stations where he had already been conducting field experiments. When the Carnegie Foundation set up an experimental station in Carmel, California, Clements hoped it would provide him with the location and facilities he wanted, but circumstances dictated otherwise. Clements then hoped that the development of Santa Barbara’s new botanic garden would provide him with the necessary facilities, but he ended up with garden space and a small laboratory in Mission Canyon, a few miles inland. In a letter to his friend Harvey Hall, Clements wrote that “Santa Barbara is so much better than Carmel [that there] should be no planting at the latter” (FEC to Harvey Hall, October 1, 1924). The situation in Santa Barbara would soon improve further. Clements’s choice of Santa Barbara as a field site was based primarily on his efforts to establish an organization surrounding his experimental and ideological goals in ecology. At Carnegie’s Desert Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona, Clements was

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near two of his greatest critics, Forrest Shreve and Herman Spoehr. Shreve had little sympathy for either Clements’s community ecology or his views on the importance of competition in plant succession (McIntosh 1983:110). As chairman of the Desert Laboratory, Spoehr was ever-critical of Clements’s methods (Hagen 1993:186–187). However, Clements remained free of supervision at the Desert Laboratory, thanks in large part to a separate budget. He also had the luxury of a second facility for research at the Alpine Laboratory on Pike’s Peak, Colorado. Santa Barbara afforded Clements the opportunity to expand his operations with the promise of maintaining the professional independence and control that he preferred. His original exposure to the area was as a stopover between La Jolla to visit his sisters-in-law and the Bay Area to network with the scientific community there, especially his friend Harvey Hall in Berkeley. Clements’s wife Edith was the cousin of Irene Hoffmann, whose husband Bernard Hoffmann was a well-connected Santa Barbara resident. Brief visits to the Hoffmanns on these west coast excursions began in 1922. The increasing hostility Clements felt at the Desert Laboratory, coupled with a prolonged period of drought in the southwest, which threatened his experiments, led the Clementses to move from Tucson and settle in Santa Barbara initially as a temporary solution. In Santa Barbara they discovered a setting rich not only in flora, but also in philanthropic enterprises. As members of the social elite, the Hoffmanns introduced the Clementses to an impressive array of transplanted wealthy individuals either relocated from the east coast or wintering in California. In July of 1924, Clements wrote to several colleagues regarding local interest in establishing a botanic garden in Santa Barbara. His timing was opportune. Santa Barbara’s elites were quick to enlist Clements’s assistance in both consolidating interest in a botanic garden and organizing its development. In the summer of 1925, he delayed his usual departure for Pike’s Peak to work on the garden (FEC to Lee Dice, July 23, 1924). To another correspondent he reiterated his belief that even a modestly sized garden would be a benefit to him and that Santa Barbara, in his opinion, was “the best place on the continent for major garden development” (FEC to Benjamin Tharp, July 23, 1924). The only deficiency was the lack of “someone at hand to act as the driving force” (FEC to Frances Long, July 5, 1924). Clements saw himself as that force. However, the garden did not end up as the experimental station Clements envisioned, and after its founding his connection with the garden dissolved. Nonetheless, sites for experimental gardens quickly became available. Santa Barbara resident George Owen Knapp, founder of Union Carbide, offered Clements a tract of land for installation of experimental plots at his estate in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara (FEC to John Merriam, March 20, 1926). This land, in addition to the grounds around his newly constructed home in Mission Canyon on the Hoffmann estate, provided Clements with two suitable sites for his work. He had envisioned sites from the coastal salt marshes to the mountains, and with the addition of Knapp’s offer, only the coastal site remained to be secured. Clements surveyed a number of coastal sites from La Jolla to Monterey. He decided on the dune field at Coal Oil Point, writing to John Merriam at the Carnegie Foundation that he felt “the best area for a dune garden to be on the estate of Mrs.


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Colin Campbell” and “it is expected that she will give or permit the use of this tract of 30 acres” (FEC to John Merriam, May 15, 1926). By 1927, the Campbell Ranch was an ongoing concern, with grazing sheep, polo ponies, and prize-winning chickens, among other activities. On March 17, 1927, Clements installed the first of his test plots on the Campbell Ranch, a modest 19 species in 2 separate areas, one described as the Sand-Flat and the other as Wet-Flat. He identified six other locations for plots at that time, the Thicket-Flat, Willow Edge, Half-sand Slope, Strand Hollow, Grass Vale, and Tree Barranca, but it is unclear if any of those areas were populated (Clements 1927–1936: March 17, 1927). The experiments Clements conducted at Coal Oil Point over the next 15 years were strictly controlled. He employed a large number of identical transplants of different species of known origin, since he believed that any existing species, having already been exposed to local conditions and whose source was unknown, could not provide reliable results. To this end, Clements opted either to purchase seeds from nurseries, notably Theodore Payne Nursery and the Germain Seed Company in Los Angeles, or to procure transplants from Harvey Hall at the University of California or former colleagues at the University of Nebraska. This was necessary to ensure, as much as possible, “uniformity of response within the species” (Clements et  al. 1950:185) While most transplants installed at Coal Oil Point were grown at Clements’s Garden Laboratory in Mission Canyon in Santa Barbara, some were germinated at his Pike’s Peak and Tucson stations and transported to Santa Barbara. The order placed with Theodore Payne Nursery in December, 1924 demonstrates Clements’s commitment to a controlled, nonlocal sourcing of species intended for experiments and foreshadows the incredible scale of the installations that would take place at Coal Oil Point. Clements requested 102 species, most as seed, but also a number of bulbs (Clements 1919–1945). The request was biased toward annuals and perennials, favored because of their history of decades in cultivation, providing “readier germinations and greater uniformity than with most species brought directly from the field” (Clements et al. 1950:20). He also acquired European seeds and transplants from commercial entities such as Swiss horticulturist Henry Correvon, who pioneered the cultivation of alpine species for lowland application, or from botanical gardens. Clements, over the course of the Santa Barbara experiments, made a conscious effort to draw from a broad range of genera and species, though he preferred smaller herbaceous plants, grasses, and composites due to his need for portability and relatively fast growth. The seed order from Correvon, along with the delivery of transplants from Colorado, also confirms Clements’s dedication to his belief that radical changes in environment could force adaptation. The species he acquired and transplanted at Santa Barbara could not have been more foreign to the coast. Colorado provided 19 alpine and montane species, including bluebell, alpine meadow-rue, and Achillea millefolium (common yarrow). The A. millefolium was another well-traveled transplant. Originally brought to Pike’s Peak for adaptation experiments at altitudes between 6000 and 12,000  ft, Clements observed generations of dwarfism in the alpine environment, so much so that Clements considered them a segregate alpina or variety (Clements et al. 1950:202). Individuals brought back to Santa Barbara

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and installed in dune plots retained this dwarfism, something Clements considered “especially satisfactory.” All but two of the species involved in Clements’s first plots at Coal Oil Point appear on the December 1924 Payne Nursery order. Two varieties of Clarkia, three of Gilia, four of Phacelia, Nemophila insignis (baby blue eyes), California poppy, and fleshy lupine were placed into plots in the sand flat. In the wet flat area, Clements placed two species of Mimulus, common water-plantain (the only species not from the recent Payne order), and another species of lupine, Lupinus chamissonis, the sole seedling transplant. One month later, Clements returned to the Dune Garden to expand the scope of this primary effort. In April 1927, Clements established a more sophisticated installation, integrating controls for light, length of day, and nutrients. The number of plant species increased from 19 to nearly 40. Additionally, he greatly increased the number of seedling transplants, owing to the parallel work of establishing and expanding his control garden in Mission Canyon. Both seeds and transplants were placed into one area providing full sun, a second that restricted length of day, and the third a low swale that, at the time, provided the plants with more moisture than their counterparts. In addition to the showy annuals and perennials such as California poppies, daisies, Gilia, and sunflowers, Clements added a number of grasses, including a species of needlegrass (Stipa setigera) and prairie Junegrass (Koeleria cristata) (Clements 1927–1936: April 18, 1927). While most of this installation’s species can be cross-­ referenced with the Payne Nursery list, Clements also included a few transplants from the Pike’s Peak and Tucson stations, including Agrostemma githago, sourced from Europe, Agoseris, and Helianthus rigidus. Almost 2 months later, he returned to the Dune Garden for observations of his installations. The transplanted bush lupine from March and the transplanted stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus) installed in April were “excellent [but] not yet blooming” (Clements 1927–1936: June 5, 1927). Other genera, such as Phacelia, represented by five varieties in the April planting, had scattered results, with dwarfed single-stem forms. Overall, the transplants fared well. The seeded plots, however, had limited success. Interestingly, the seed plots in the wet area were, by this time, fully taken over by a large mat of salt heliotrope. It is unclear whether this was installed by Clements or if his disturbance and manipulation of the area prompted the appearance of the heliotrope. If this was indeed a native that invaded Clements’s plots, it is one of the earliest confirmed observances of a specific species in the dune fields. Clements made a third installation of experimental plots later in 1927. This planting added 54 species and 5 separate sites, including a section for peloric (radially symmetric) individuals, or, using Clements’s own term, terads (Clements 1927– 1936). The adaptation series in this planting focused mostly on the manipulation of blooming periods. Generally employing annuals, Clements moved transplants from station to station noting delays in flowering. Lupines, Clarkias, Gilias, Phacelias, and poppies (Eschscholzia californica) were prominent representatives in his 1927 adaptation work. The late 1927 installation also saw an impressive increase in grass varieties, including five varieties of grama (Bouteloua spp.) and four needlegrasses (Stipa spp.), rounded out with sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), Junegrass,


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and two types of switchgrass (Panicum spp.). Clements also transplanted eight species that had undergone extensive manipulation in the Main Garden in Mission Canyon. This included physical mutilation; direct injection of salines, acids, and hormones; and soil manipulation to induce hypertrophy or hypotrophy (Clements et al. 1950:224–230). This example of intensive experimental manipulation was duplicated every year until 1940, amounting to thousands of individual plantings of hundreds of species. The dozens upon dozens of species and thousands of transplants indicated in Clements’s planting notes, moreover, were not all-inclusive of the flora transplanted in Devereux Slough at Coal Oil Point. Numerous other species, from Anagallis linifolia (flaxleaf pimpernel) to creeping snapdragon to crown daisy to Melilotus alba (white sweetclover) to western vervain were all installed at some point by Clements. Many of these proved successful in the dune environment, establishing themselves and persisting at Coal Oil Point. In addition, notes from the 1930s indicate that early transplants had succeeded and produced sufficient quantities in the dune fields for Clements to utilize them in later experiments (Martin and Clements 1939). It is also clear that Clements never made any efforts to uninstall any experimental plots or control the production of second-generation volunteers in the dune fields. Current practices dictate uninstalling plots and controlling production of volunteers as the standard in field experiment; it is required for permits in state and national parks. The final installation for which actual planting notes and/or mapping are available occurred in 1935 (Clements 1927–1936). However, Clements’s final summary of his theories was included in Adaptation and Origin in the Plant World, published posthumously in 1950, and in this work he wrote of more plantings at Coal Oil Point in 1939 and 1940. A Canadian variety of sunflower, Helianthus annuus, was planted in February 1940 from seed, sealed in phytometers, and installed at both the ridge and shelter plots in the Dune Garden. Scarlet monkeyflower (Mimulus cardinalis, now Erythranthe cardinalis) and western vervain (Verbena lasiostachys)—plant species still extant at Coal Oil Point—were also installed in 1940 (Clements et al. 1950). Clements collected data in the spring of 1941, but it is unlikely that any further installations were made. In the same year, he formally retired from the Carnegie Institution, and the Campbell family, who had not lived on the estate since 1938, eventually sold the property to the Devereux Foundation in 1946. Clements passed away in July 1945. Clements conducted these experiments to test his view that variation, migration, competition and cooperation, and adaptation occur on a large scale rather than as “a random affair of individuals” (Clements et al. 1950:259). The data he and his associates collected during this era led him to a number of conclusions about the role of environment as the key evolutionary catalyst. Everything about the Santa Barbara installations reflects Clements’s determination to view ecological and evolutionary processes on a large scale. While his ideas about evolution failed to gain credence, Clementsian views on succession, community ecology, and even the notion of climax communities fared much better (Hagen 1993).

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The Invisible Archive Many of Clements’s plant installations at Coal Oil Point persist today, making the site an archive. Yet Coal Oil Point’s modern identity as a reserve is centered on its character as a unique and nearly untouched landscape ark. Habitat and vegetation restoration efforts at Coal Oil Point pattern themselves after a management and scientific approach resistant to recognition of historical land use and the deep cultural history of many ecosystems (Higgs et al. 2014). According to a 2004 documentary on the Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve, the management of plant restoration efforts is focused on the maintenance of local genetic stocks and restricting external contamination (O’Brien and Booth 2004). The Reserve propagates its own transplants, which are derived from species extant within its boundaries, in order to assure that transplants are native and maintain a local genetic signature. The Reserve’s management also negotiates with landowners along its political boundaries and provides them with stock propagated on the Reserve with the intent of minimizing the possibility of nonlocal genotypes migrating into the Reserve ecosystem (University of California 2004, 2015). This management and restoration approach necessarily avoids acknowledgment of the rich cultural, scientific, and land-use history of the Reserve property. It also demands a commitment to the belief that the present state of ecological processes is unaffected by past use: it wishes to turn an archive back into an ark. In the case of Coal Oil Point, we demonstrate here that the Clements installations alone indicate a substantial land-use history that plays an integral part in the current floral composition of the landscape, quite apart from centuries of human occupancy before the twentieth century.1 Donald Burnette has discovered that several “local” species at Coal Oil Point are the result of human activity and the use of nonlocal source stock and are not necessarily the result of natural migration. Some examples of these species include red and pink sand verbena, silver burr ragweed, blue wildrye, California brittlebush, hummingbird trumpet, California poppy, salt heliotrope, clustered tarweed, giant wildrye, western blue-eyed grass, and western vervain. As David Foster, director of the Harvard Forest, and his coauthors counsel, “recognition of land-use imprint often poses a conundrum for American conservationists committed to natural processes and native communities” (Foster et al. 2003:86). Coal Oil Point’s 2004 Management Plan recognized that “California native species of non-local origin have been introduced in the past to the Reserve as part of soil remediation projects, by accident, or by unauthorized planting” (University of California 2004:26–27). The Clements installations, however, fall under none of these categories. They were fully “authorized” by Nancy Campbell and her heirs, the owners of the Campbell Ranch. They were highly planned, and they played no role in soil remediation. The Plan also suggested that “these [nonlocal] plants must be removed to avoid hybridization with local genotypes and to limit confounding effects for researchers studying these species” (University of California 2004:27).  To date, research to document land use before 1900 has been limited (see Guerrini and Dugan 2010). 1


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This action is tenable only if we accept that the current genotype at Coal Oil Point is uncorrupted by historical use. The evidence we have provided here of large-scale introduction of native and nonnative species into the Coal Oil Point area by Clements more than 90 years ago renders such a belief naive at best. Not only do Clements’s installations bring into question the unadulterated heritage of local native plant populations, but they also bring into question whether or not those species considered local natives are the product of natural migration or are present solely due to human activity, albeit scientific. The 2015 revision of the Management Plan, despite new knowledge of Clements and his activities, as well as the revelation of the long human history of the site, changed little in its section on restoration. “Disturbed habitats” (i.e., those “that have been degraded by past human activity”) “should be restored to a condition similar to undisturbed similar habitats” (University of California 2015:24). Exotic trees will gradually be replaced with native ones, and local sources of plants will “protect the integrity of the Reserve’s genetic stock.” While, as in 2004, there is some recognition of the aesthetic value of nonnative species, there is no recognition of historical or cultural value. In 2003, David Foster published a paper on the impact of historical land use on conservation efforts. This paper and Foster’s subsequent coauthored book Forests in Time suggest a fundamental shift in how scientists might approach ecological systems management. In the past, Foster and his coauthors suggest, investigating historical land use was “consciously avoided for pragmatic reasons,” including a belief that current processes were unaffected by the past and that reviewers of funding proposals would be unsympathetic to an applied historical approach (Foster et al. 2003:77). A major reason behind ignoring the impact and persistent effect of historical land use lay in natural resistance in the scientific community to accepting theoretical shifts and the practical understanding that until such a shift gathers a substantial audience with those controlling funding, nontraditional approaches would be coldly received. Foster suggests, however, that the shift is unavoidable. There is increasing evidence “that most ‘natural areas’ have more cultural history than assumed” and that “legacies of land use are remarkably persistent” (Foster et  al. 2003:77; see also Foster and Aber 2004). In the case of Coal Oil Point, as we have seen, there is a strong possibility that a number of species thriving in the coastal dunes owe their local existence to installation by Clements, among them both native and exotic floras. A greater likelihood is that cultivated natives installed by Clements have hybridized with their local siblings, affecting the biome’s genotype. Clements took no precautions to prevent the “escape” of his installed species. In fact, Clements wrote of his installations that “a number of species have become fully established and some have run wild on the dunes, without compensation during long periods of dryness” (Clements et al. 1950:93). As the experiments consisted of multiple installations over 15 years, we can define Clements’s work not as a single event, but as multiple disturbances over time. As Foster suggests, it is negligent to “describe post-disturbance responses and conditions as ‘natural’ in the sense that natural ­processes were the proximate cause of the pattern of disturbance and ecosystem response” (Foster et al. 2003:84).

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Novel Systems The legacy of Clements, as well as longer-term historical uses, complicates the biological and land-use history of Coal Oil Point, suggesting that it is what ecologists Erle Ellis and Navin Ramankutty have called an “anthrome” or anthropogenic biome (Ellis and Ramankutty 2008). The list of invasive exotics includes black mustard, tree tobacco, smilograss, cultivated radish, and castor bean, all targeted for eradication by restoration efforts in the present-day Reserve. Nonlocal species cross-listed on Clements’s planting lists and the Reserve’s inventory include scarlet pimpernel, redstem stork’s bill, sky lupine, white sweetclover, purple tussock grass, Hooker’s evening-primrose, Bermuda buttercup, bouncingbet, greenspot nightshade, common sowthistle, and moth mullein. The “surprising diversity” noted by J.R. Haller in his 1966 proposal for the establishment of the Reserve therefore becomes considerably less surprising. Making the historical past visible at Coal Oil Point therefore brings into question the viability of current conservation efforts, based on preserving local genetic purity and erasing the site’s long history of biological disruption. Bruce Roundy, writing on community restoration for the Forest Service, suggests that restoration to a historic plant community after extensive disruption may be impossible (Roundy 2005). Restoration efforts at the Reserve also bring up broader questions of value and the human desire for “untouched” environments, a desire for connection to heritage that is particularly enduring in the American West, where there is still the feeling that we are only one or two generations removed from an undisturbed landscape. While 8000 years of human habitation have left abundant evidence of disturbance, the landscape we see today at Coal Oil Point is largely the result of the past 150 years of human activity, some of it by scientists. Nonetheless, the environment that has resulted is remarkably diverse and, by many measures, quite successful in ecological terms. Acceptance of the current botanical diversity at Coal Oil Point, even those aspects that are the products of Clements’s interaction, may be preferable ecologically, if the current community is stable. Ecologists define a “novel” ecosystem as one that is wholly shaped by humans. Philosopher Eric Higgs adds to this definition in describing novel ecosystems as comprising both native and exotic organisms. Such systems are in addition persistent, continuing without human intervention. Third, “in practical terms, novel ecosystems cannot be restored to historical conditions.” He contrasts these to hybrid ecosystems, in which changes may be reversible, and historical ecosystems, which have not changed over time (which is, as we have seen, a very slippery category) (Higgs 2017:8–9). Recognizing Coal Oil Point as a novel ecosystem may also be preferable scientifically, because destruction of the descendants of Clements’s installations ­eliminates the opportunity for potentially rewarding study. Modern ecologists have taken renewed interest in Clements’s work and theories. Alan Gray at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology suggested in 1996 that Clements’s competition work in Santa Barbara “foreshadowed the current interest in plant density” and that his scope and


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climatic range, transpiration, and altitude work, as well as other data, are a wheel that ecologists are now reinventing (Gray 1996:72). Acceptance of Coal Oil Point as a novel environment also recovers an important land-use legacy and a neglected aspect of the heritage of the California coast.

Conclusion The novel landscape that is the Coal Oil Point Reserve may not be the “ark” that proponents of its preservation envisioned in the 1960s. The cultural legacy encapsulated in the local ecosystem has created an inexorable coupling of human activity and natural systems; the natural and artificial are so intertwined that it is hard for us to distinguish between them (Latour 1993:105–106). This fact, while lessening the value of the Reserve as a pristine or “natural” space, or one that might be restored to such a state, does not reduce the Reserve’s value as a scientific object or a vehicle for conservation. In describing the fate of Barro Colorado Island, Raby suggests that because the limited area of the Reserve caused species loss, it became “a failed ark, but it has been a successful scientific archive” (Raby 2015:824). This history allows the opportunity to record and archive the long-term change, fostered by diverse actors, in a distinct and rapidly vanishing coastal ecosystem. We offer a depiction of Coal Oil Point as an archival human landscape. From an ecological standpoint, the history of disruption and the long legacy of human interaction may provide a greater opportunity for advancing scientific understanding and knowledge than the restoration and preservation of Coal Oil Point as an example of undisturbed coastal habitat. The long human history of Coal Oil Point precludes that the Reserve could ever be considered “natural” in its purest sense but, we argue, enhances its value on many other levels.

References Alpert, P. (2016). Coastal dunes. In H. Mooney & E. Zavaleta (Eds.), Ecosystems of California (pp. 409–427). Berkeley: University of California Press. Beller, E., McClenachan, L., Trant, A., Sanderson, E. W., Rhemtulla, J., Guerrini, A., Grossinger, R., & Higgs, E. (2017). Toward principles of historical ecology. American Journal of Botany, 104(5), 1–4. Boyce, C.L. (1972). The influence of people on the dune vegetation at Coal Oil Point Reserve, Santa Barbara County, California. M.A. thesis, University of California, Santa Barbara. Clements, F.  E. (1897). Peculiar zonal formations of the Great Plains. American Naturalist, 31(371), 968–970. Clements, F.  E. (1905). Research methods in ecology. Lincoln, NE: The University Publishing Company. Clements, F.  E. (1919–1945). Unpublished personal correspondence. Frederic E. and Edith Clements Papers. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming American Heritage Center. Clements, F. E. (1927–1936). Dune Garden planting notes. Frederic E. and Edith Clements Papers. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming American Heritage Center.

2  Invisible Landscapes: Perception, Heritage, and Coastal Change in Southern California


Clements, F. E., Martin, E. V., & Long, F. L. (1950). Adaptation and origin in the plant world: The role of environment in evolution. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution. Daston, L. (2000). Introduction. The coming into being of scientific objects. In L. Daston (Ed.), Biographies of scientific objects (pp. 1–14). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Dugan, J. E., & Hubbard, D. M. (2010). Loss of coastal strand habitat in southern California: The role of beach grooming. Estuaries and Coasts, 33, 267–277. Elliot, R. (1997). Faking nature. The ethics of environmental restoration. New York: Routledge. Ellis, E. C., & Ramankutty, N. (2008). Putting people in the map. Anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 6(8), 439–447. Escofet, A., & Espejel, I. (1999). Conservation and management-oriented ecological research in the coastal zone of Baja California, Mexico. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 5(1), 43–50. Everard, M., Jones, L., & Watts, B. (2010). Have we neglected the societal importance of sand dunes? An ecosystem services perspective. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 20, 476–487. Foster, D. R., & Aber, J. D. (Eds.). (2004). Forests in time. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Foster, D. R., Swanson, F., Aber, J., Burke, I., Brokaw, N., Tilman, D., & Knapp, A. (2003). The importance of land-use legacies to ecology and conservation. Bioscience, 53(1), 77–88. Gray, A. (1996). Genetic diversity and its conservation in natural populations of plants. Biodiversity Letters, 3(3), 71–80. Guerrini, A., & Dugan, J. E. (2010). Informing ecological restoration in a coastal environment. In M. Hall (Ed.), Restoration and history (pp. 131–142). New York: Routledge. Hagen, J. B. (1993). Clementsian ecologists: The internal dynamics of a research school. Osiris, 2nd series (8), 178–195. Haller, J. R. (1966). Proposal for a university teaching and research reserve for the ecological and geological sciences in the vicinity of Coal Oil Point, Santa Barbara County. University of California, Santa Barbara: University Archives. Higgs, E. (2003). Nature by design. People, natural process, and ecological restoration. Cambridge, MA: MIT. Higgs, E. (2017). Novel and designed ecosystems. Restoration Ecology, 25(1), 8–13. Higgs, E., Falk, D., Guerrini, A., Hall, M., Harris, J., Hobbs, R., Jackson, S., Rhemtulla, J., & Throop, W. (2014). The changing role of history in restoration ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12(9), 499–506. Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern (C.  Porter, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (1996). Do scientific objects have a history? Pasteur and Whitehead in a bath of lactic acid. Common Knowledge, 5, 76–91. Martin, E. V., & Clements, F. E. (1939). Adaptation and origin in the plant world, I. In Factors and functions in coastal dunes. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution. Martínez, M. L., Psuty, N. P., & Lubke, R. A. (2008). A perspective on coastal dunes. In M. L. Martínez & N. P. Psuty (Eds.), Coastal dunes (pp. 3–10). Berlin: Springer. McIntosh, R. P. (1983). Pioneer support for ecology. Bioscience, 33(2), 107–112. O’Brien, J., & Booth, J. (producers) (2004). The Coal Oil Point Reserve. University of California Natural Reserve System Communications Services. Raby, M. (2015). Ark and archive: Making a place for long-term research on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Isis, 106(4), 802. Rodríguez-Revelo, N., Espejel, I., García, C. A., Ojeda-Revah, L., & Vázquez, M. A. S. (2018). Environmental services of beaches and coastal sand dunes as a tool for their conservation. In C. M. Botero, O. Cervantes, & C. W. Finkl (Eds.), Beach management tools—concepts, methodologies and case studies (pp. 75–100). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. Roundy, B. A. (2005). Plant succession and approaches to community restoration. USDA Forest Service Proceedings (RMRS-P-38) (pp. 43–48). Smail, D. L. (2008). On deep history and the brain. Berkeley: University of California Press. Tompkins, W. (1966). Goleta: The good land. Goleta, CA: Goleta AmVets Post.


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University of California, Santa Barbara. (2004). Coal Oil Point Reserve management plan. Santa Barbara: UCSB Museum of Systematics and Ecology. University of California, Santa Barbara. (2015). Coal Oil Point Reserve management plan. Santa Barbara: UCSB Museum of Systematics and Ecology. Warren, S., McHugh, K. E., & Roehner, J. (2015). After the crossing: Afterlives of found objects in the Sonoran Desert borderlands. Journal of the Southwest, 57(2), 503–516. Weaver, J. E., & Clements, F. E. (1929). Plant ecology. New York: McGraw-Hill. Weaver, J. E., & Clements, F. E. (1938). Plant ecology (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Whittaker, R. H. (1964). Plant succession and indicators. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 91(6), 512. Wooley, C. (2002). The myth of the “pristine environment”: Past human impacts in Prince William Sound and the northern Gulf of Alaska. Spill Science & Technology Bulletin, 7(1), 89–104.

Chapter 3

From the Discovery of the Mar del Sur to the Creation of Unlikely Connections Between Panama and the United States Ana K. Spalding and María Eugenia Mellado

Introduction Biophysical, material, and symbolic links connect the countries of the west coast of the Americas along the eastern Pacific Ocean. Biophysical links include key currents and oceanographic processes that shape global weather patterns, as well as ecosystem-level species distributions and biological exchanges. Material connections include the wide range of manufactured products and natural resources that are distributed through regional and global trade routes. Finally, symbolic links, such as shared histories of European discovery and exploitation, have shaped coastal heritage and cultural resilience across the Americas. The western boundary of the American continent, however, has its own unique history. With the exception of biophysical processes, these connections are driven primarily by political and economic interests, with geopolitics, economics, and cultural heritage playing important roles in understanding the history of the region and shaping its future. A comprehensive story of these biophysical, material, and symbolic links is beyond the purview of this chapter. Instead, here we focus narrowly on two outcomes of the formation of unlikely connections between two very different countries: The United States and Panama. These outcomes, namely the demise of the Pacific pearl oyster (Pinctada mazatlanica) and the construction of the Panama Canal, were shaped by the exploitation and trade of people and natural resources and by the replacement of nature by infrastructure. Thus, the story told in this chapter is one of discovery of the eastern tropical Pacific and the eventual ­transformation of natural

A. K. Spalding (*) Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, Panama M. E. Mellado Universitat de Lleida, Lleida, Spain © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



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resources and cultures in Panama. The key outcomes outlined in this chapter are tightly linked to the ingenuity, financial aspirations, and visions of European and U.S. entrepreneurs and help to create a narrative about the relationship between people and nature across space and time. In line with ethnobiological tradition, the protagonists of the narrative are local people and landscapes. However, following Narchi et al. (2014), this chapter embraces a pluralistic vision of marine ethnobiology by expanding the reach of the field through the use of historical document analysis (Medeiros 2014) and the integration of a political economy approach to discern how the protagonists were manipulated by seemingly intractable forces of colonization, imperialism, and capitalism. Possibly in conflict with a strict ethnobiological perspective, the scale of analysis used in this chapter is often broader than that of the individual and of a specific resource. Instead, due to the temporal scale of this narrative (1501–1940s), changes in individuals are interpreted as changes in communities, and changes in the resource are understood as occurring at the landscape level. Our account begins with the first European sighting of the Mar del Sur, known today as the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, by Vasco Núñez de Balboa in 1513, from a hilltop in eastern Panama. It is followed by an exploration of the implications of economic ambitions of the Spanish conquest and exploration endeavor of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries for natural resources, local populations, and landscape transformations. Indeed, the Spanish conquest put in motion activities and promoted ideologies that fostered resource exploitation and cultural change that shaped modern-day Panama and cemented its importance as both a source of natural resources and a transit route. Specifically, we describe the boom and bust of a prosperous pearl industry in the sixteenth century and the scale of landscape modifications required for the construction of the Panama Canal in the twentieth century to illustrate the formation and outcomes of unlikely connections between Panama and the United States. It is our goal in this chapter to demonstrate that geography and the availability and distribution of natural resources, as well as cultural and biophysical processes, have combined to create conditions that, coupled with political economic histories, have shaped how we currently view coastal populations and landscapes.

 he Origins of Political, Economic, and Social Connectivity: T The Discovery of the Mar del Sur During the Spanish Conquest of the Americas Vasco Núñez de Balboa and Rodrigo de Bastidas were the first Spanish explorers to land on the Caribbean coast of what we know today as Panama, during Christopher Columbus’s second voyage. From this initial encounter was born the first documentation of resources and local populations. Indeed, the first reports to the Spanish Crown, the entity in charge of funding the voyages, presented evidence of contentious encounters with what were perceived to be belligerent indigenous groups. However, over time, more stable relationships were established,

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whereby Europeans came to learn that these lands represent a narrow isthmus with significant commerce and trade.1 During early colonial times, conflicts between the Spanish and indigenous communities were constant. Individuals such as Balboa and de Bastidas, who knew the land, its limitations, and, most importantly, its people, became key figures in the expansion of colonization and the interests of the Spanish Crown and private investors. Capitalizing on his growing popularity and the corresponding increase in opposition to the local Spanish political leader, Balboa quickly became the spokesman for the newly arrived colonizers. His support grew to the point that, following a special assembly, Balboa and Martín Samudio were appointed as mayors of the first municipal government on the American continent (Hernández Muro 2013). In 1511, Balboa set out on a series of expeditions to conquer the indigenous chiefdoms of Darién. It is through communications with these chiefs that he first hears about “the other sea”: Dicen que a casa de este cacique Comogre vienen indios de la otra mar en canoas por un río que llegan a casa del cacique Comogre, y traen oro de minas por fundir en muy gordos granos y mucho: el rescate que les dan por el oro es ropa de algodón y indios e indias hermosas: no los comen como la gente de hacia el río grande: dicen que es muy buena gente, de buena conversación la de la otra costa: dícenme que la otra mar es muy muy buena para navegar en canoas, porque está muy mansa a la continua, que nunca anda brava como la mar de esta banda según los indios dicen: yo creo que en aquella mar hay muchas islas, dicen que hay muchas perlas en mucha cantidad, muy gordas, y que tienen cestas dellas los caciques, y que también las tienen todos los indios e indias generalmente: este río que va de este cacique Comogre a la otra mar antes que llegue allá se hace tres brazos, y cada uno dellos entra por sí en la otra mar: dicen que por el brazo que entra hacia el poniente vienen las perlas a rescatar en canoas a casa del cacique Comogre: dicen que por el brazo que entra hacia el levante entran las canoas con oro por todas partes, que es cosa increible y sin ninguna comparación (Balboa in Jopling 1994:24–25). It is said that Indians from the other ocean travel in canoes up a river that goes to the home of Chief Comogre, and they bring many large lumps of gold from mines; in exchange for the gold they are given cotton clothing and gorgeous Indian women and men; they do not eat them, like the people of the big river Río Grande do: they say the people from the other coast are very nice, with good conversations; they say that the other ocean is very, very good for travel in canoes because it is continuously calm, that it is never angry like the ocean on this side; according to the Indians: I believe that in that ocean there are many islands, they say there are many pearls, very fat, and that the chiefs have many baskets full of them, and that generally the Indian men and women also have pearls; this river goes from Chief Comogre to the other ocean and before arriving there it branches into three, and each of those three leads to the other ocean; they say that canoes with pearls come from the Western branch; they say canoes filled with gold come from the Eastern branch; that it is an incredible sight with no comparison (author’s translation).

 Indeed, these lands were divided into numerous chiefdoms, organized around three main cultural areas: Gran Chiriquí, Gran Coclé, and Gran Darién. Most of the groups had excellent craftsmanship in gold and pottery, as well as wood, bone, rock, and ivory carvings. Research shows that these were complex groups in terms of their social life and rituals. Commerce and exchange of primary goods, work techniques, and other intangible elements—such as ideology of their culture—was of particular importance to their culture (Cooke and Sánchez 2004; Linares and Sheets 1980; Ranere and Rosenthal 1980). 1


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It is in this context that Balboa left La Antigua,2 in 1513, with the goal of discovering the Mar del Sur. After many days of travel, riddled with dangerous obstacles, he caught sight of the new ocean from the top of a mountain. Four days later, in the name of the Spanish king and queen, he took possession of the newly “discovered” ocean and named the site of the taking-of-possession ceremony as the Gulf of San Miguel. During the following months, he spent time exploring the coast and its riches, enthusiastically and repeatedly reporting on the Islands of the Pearls (Fig. 3.1), although these were not visited until 1515 by the Spanish explorers Pedro Arias de Ávila and Francisco Pizarro.3 The Mar del Sur was eventually renamed the Pacific Ocean by Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magalhanes during his circumnavigation of the ocean in 1521 (note that he did not cross the Isthmus of Panama), during which time he contrasted the calm waters and favorable conditions encountered in the Pacific Ocean with the stormy conditions around Cape Horn (Pigafetta 1999). The discovery of the Mar del Sur, therefore, represented a monumental shift in our conceptualization of the world at the time; namely that a new, previously undiscovered continent existed between Europe and Asia. The controls over remote lands exercised by powerful European monarchies would eventually culminate, centuries later, in decolonization processes and claims for independence (Guerra 2009). Nevertheless, the colonial legacy of depopulation of native groups, promotion of mercantilism and trade as the center of the economy, and introduction of agricultural and resource-extractive practices typical in and appropriate for other environments, left its mark and set the tone for the future of people, cultures, and resources of the region.

 he Rise and Fall of the Pearl Industry in Panama T (1513–mid-1900s) The delicate beauty of the pearl has fascinated mankind since the dawn of time and it has been cherished by the most uncivilized peoples and highly refined civilizations in equal measures. Pearls were treasures, symbols of wealth, power and prestige and they were met with devotion and respect (Strack 2008:1).

 The first stable population and exploration center of the New World from its foundation in 1510.  Pizarro is typically associated with the colonization of Peru. Indeed, it is during the time of the first visits to the Pearl Islands that reports were received about the great riches that existed to the south of the islands, along the coast of the Mar del Sur. 2 3

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Fig. 3.1  Map of Panama, with inset of the Pearl Islands Archipelago [Source: M.E. Mellado]

Colonial Pearls According to Strack (2008), the first pearls known to humans likely were discovered accidentally as part of a search for food, eventually becoming objects of admiration. Records indicate that the first pearl to show signs of human modification was found more than 75,000 years ago in South Africa. Although no such records exist for the Pearl Islands prior to conquest, evidence gathered from the first Europeans’ accounts in the Americas shows that oysters were an important source of food, as well as having ornamental value and being an important indicator of social status among the native population. Indeed, following the discovery of the Mar del Sur in 1513, the so-called Islands of Pearls became well known among the early European explorers in the region due to the famed abundance of oyster pearls. Although the Spanish did not actually set foot on them for at least a year after discovery, the islands rapidly became the subject of speculation, thanks to chiefs Tumaco and Chiapes of Darién. Pedro Mártir de Anglería4 said the following about the Islands of Pearls:

 Pedro Mártir de Anglería is officially considered the first royal “recorder of the new world.” His most famous work, Decades of the New World, from the early sixteenth century, is critiqued for not being a “direct” witness of events, but its value as a historical reference is unquestionable. 4


A. K. Spalding and M. E. Mellado [Primeras noticias de la isla Rica] uno y otro cacique [Tumaco y Chiapes] les enteraron de que hay en aquella ensenada una isla, mayor que las demás, sujeta toda ella a un rey poderoso, el cual, en las temporadas que el mar esta tranquilo, pasa a las tierras de ellos con gran flota de colchas y hace presa de todo lo que encuentra. Esta isla dista de esta playa unas veinte millas, y se ven sus promontorios desde los cerros altos del continente. Se cuenta que allí se crían conchas tan grandes como un quitasol, de las cuales se sacan perlas, que son el corazón de las conchas, mayores que una haba, y a veces mas que una aceituna, y tales que Cleopatra habría podido codiciarlas (Anglería 1989:170). [First news from Isla Rica] Chiefs (Tumaco and Chiapes) were told that there is an island, larger than the others, subject to a powerful king who, during the time when the ocean is calm, goes to their lands with a large fleet of boats and takes everything he finds. This island is about 20 miles away from this beach, and you can see it from the highest mountains of the continent. It is said that oysters as big as umbrellas grow there, and that they produce pearls, the heart of the oyster, larger than a bean and sometimes larger than an olive, such that Cleopatra could have desired them (author’s translation).

The pearls found in this archipelago are produced in the oyster species Pinctada mazatlanica (Pterioida: Pteriidae5), which can be found along the Pacific coast from southern California through Peru (MacKenzie 1999; Cipriani et  al. 2008). MacKenzie (1999) describes oysters as growing in clusters, attached to rocks, primarily at depths of 22–36 m in water temperatures ranging from 21 to 25.7 °C. Oysters typically were not found in the tidal zone because exposure to air results in desiccation and death. Unfortunately, not much is known about the historical abundance and distribution of the resource. Castillero Calvo (2004a) points out that when the conquerors arrived on the islands of Terarequi,6 they found baskets filled with pearls. These baskets would have been forcibly taken from the indigenous groups and documented as a resource category in the colonial economy’s accounting system. These early records referred to the perla de cabalgadas—pearls taken from the Indians by force to pay the infamous quinto (20% of the value of the good), imposed by the Spanish Crown on goods extracted from the New World (Castillero Calvo 2004a).7 By 1522,8 a new category, perla de extracción, appeared in fiscal registries as the product of indigenous forced labor (pearl diving). This second category did not generate as much wealth as the first, purportedly due to the disappearance of the local workforce (Castillero Calvo 2004a). Using export records as a proxy for abundance, MacKenzie (1999) and others (e.g., Mosk 1934) claim that although the total value of pearls shipped from the New

 Most precious pearls are produced by oysters belonging to the Pteriidae family. Usually, natural pearls are formed by the introduction of a foreign object into the mollusk’s body, which eventually generates the production of layers of mother-of-pearl to cover the object. This process occurs slowly and can take, on average, 10 years (Solano et al. 1997). 6  This is one of the first names given to the Pearl Islands Archipelago, in reference to the name of the main chief in the region. 7  The Quinto del Rey or “King’s, or Royal, fifth” was a tax imposed by the Spanish Crown in 1504 on the extraction of precious metals, mainly gold and silver, and other valuable objects of the American continent. Over time, the value of the tax was reduced (Castillero Calvo 2004a). 8  1522 is the year in which the first official records of extraction were dated. 5

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Fig. 3.2  King Philip III of Spain (1578–1621) in a portrait by Velázquez, wearing the Peregrina in his hat [Source: Wikipedia]

World to Spain (as well as the proportion sourced from the Pearl Islands) is unknown, occasional records mentioned that good pearls were found on the islands. For instance, it is said that in 1543 New World explorers carried to Spain gems valued at 9000 ducats (gold or silver coins) and that the largest pearl of the lot was from the Pearl Islands Archipelago (Fig. 3.2).9 The success of the colonial pearl extraction enterprise was, in part, due to the colonial system of labor, known as encomienda,10 which was imposed on the local indigenous population and, subsequently, on forced labor by African slaves. Early  The Archipelago is known as the place of origin of one of the largest natural pearls ever found, the Peregrina. The Peregrina weighs 203.84 grains (50.96 carats), has a drop shape, and was presented to the Spanish king by Balboa. It was originally part of the Spanish Crown Jewels, but eventually was passed along through several European royal families. Most recently it was bought by Richard Burton for $37,000 in 1969 for his then-wife, Elizabeth Taylor (Strack 2008). 10  The encomienda was a socioeconomic institution imposed in the Americas by the Spanish Crown that justified unpaid work by Indians in exchange for goods or services (e.g., lodging, education, indoctrination, etc.). In Panama, this system lasted approximately 30 years, and information about its application and outcomes is not readily available (Mena García 1984). 9


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applications of this system, however, had significant impacts on the demographics of the islands. Spanish documents from the sixteenth century claim that the Pearl Islands were densely populated in 1515 (Castillero Calvo 2004a). However, the local population quickly declined due to a series of events tied to the violence and hostility of the first contact and abusive labor practices (for pearl diving and other extractive activities on the islands and on the mainland). A third hypothesis, although not supported by evidence for this region, suggests that the population decline was related to the introduction of new diseases from the European continent (Crosby 2003). This decline affected the availability of a local workforce for the extraction of pearls, which led to the need to incorporate foreign workers other areas of Central America and, eventually, from Africa. The introduction of African slaves to the Pearl Islands is one of the earliest in the region,11 with the first recorded documents dating back to 1529 (Mellado 2013, 2016). By 1585, a royal decree banned the use of Indians in pearl fishing and specified that only blacks could be employed for diving (Recoplicación de Leyes de los reinos de las Indias, Madrid, 1774, book, title 25, law 31, quoted in Mosk [1934] and MacKenzie [1999]). Thus, in the 70 years between 1515 and 1585, the indigenous population declined dramatically. Pearl extraction under the Spanish Crown lasted well over three centuries. Despite significant fluctuations due to resource decline and variability, it was, financially, one of the most important industries of the Spanish colony on Panamanian territory. With the exception of mechanized extraction introduced in the twentieth century, it is believed that extraction techniques remained consistent over time. For instance, the following description of pearl diving in the twentieth century by MacKenzie (1999) accurately depicts how the activity was originally done: typically, groups of three men would dive in about 3.7–5.5 m of water. When they found a harvesting site, fishermen would swim along the surface until they saw an oyster. They would then dive down to bring it up to the boat. Hooks were used to remove the bivalves from the rock, and knives were used to remove the meat from the oyster. Prior to the current state of resource collapse, MacKenzie (1999) and Cipriani et al. (2008) describe several phases of resource decline. The alarm was first raised 50  years after pearls were originally discovered in the early sixteenth century. During the seventeenth century, the industry included approximately 30 boats and 500 slaves. As a result of recorded extraction of pearls that did not meet market demand, by 1570 the first regulations were put in place. However, these measures were never implemented. After a decline in the seventeenth century, recovery of the industry in the early eighteenth century was characterized by a similar number of participants. Additionally, around this time, pearl extraction became an important activity along the coast of Baja California (Cariño and Monteforte 2007). A second phase of resource decline occurred in the mid-nineteenth century, possibly linked to the first rumors of the construction of a canal that would link the Atlantic and Pacific  Despite the significance of the encomienda as a system of labor in the Americas, its direct application in the Pearl Islands is not documented. Given the early incorporation of an African workforce, slavery ultimately predominated in the region (Mellado 2016). 11

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oceans. At this time, records show there were only 15 boats on the entire Pacific coast of Panama (Camargo 1983). Production increased again toward the turn of the twentieth century, as the Isthmus entered the postcolonial period. This time, with extraction in the hands of private companies, Panamanian government records show that harvest reached 1200 metric tons of oysters per year between 1905 and 1925. A dramatic decline in resources was recorded again in the 1930s, with production estimated at about 200 metric tons per year (Cipriani et al. 2008). Continued harvesting led to collapse of the resource in the middle of the twentieth century (Camargo 1983; Cipriani et al. 2008; Delgado 2012).

Postcolonial Pearls As part of a groundswell movement of decolonization experienced in Latin American between 1808 and 1836, Panama gained independence from Spain in 1821 and annexed its land to the newly formed Confederation of Gran Colombia (Conniff 2012). During the first years postindependence, various explorers and government officials of Gran Colombia continued to describe the extraction of pearls as one of the main sources of income for the region of Panama (Araúz and Pizzurno 1993).12 Camargo (1983) also highlights the importance of pearls as a desirable product (in addition to gold, wood, and dyes) for wealthy Panamanians and citizens of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, and England. At this time, England began to rise in importance in the region, with the decline of Spanish control over commerce. Camargo (1983) describes how the English operated to maximize benefits from pearl extraction by offering payment plans, creating consulates in the region to expedite business transactions, and acquiring land on various islands in the Archipelago. Camargo (1983) further points out that the English also regulated pearl exploitation in the Pearl Islands and guaranteed the availability of the product to buyers through the establishment of commercial operations with which they forced locals to pay for their purchases with pearls and oyster shells. A report by the North American doctor J. H. Gibbon (recovered in Castillero Calvo 2004b), who was in Panama around 1836, supports Camargo’s narrative of a thriving pearl industry with descriptions of a population of about 2000 individuals13 dedicated to pearl extraction and commercialization, suggesting that the industry was one of the largest contributors to the local economy. The growing interest in the region and its resources did not go unnoticed by the United States. As evidenced by the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, by which European powers were warned by President Monroe not to interfere with the “newly free” world, the timing of decolonization processes coincided with shifts in U.S. policy  Estimates suggest that income from pearls corresponded to approximately 56.4% of the total value of exports (Castillero Calvo 2004a). 13  Considering that, at that time, the population of Panama City barely reached 10,000, the Pearl Islands Archipelago would have been considered a densely populated area (Castillero Calvo 2005). 12


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toward the former dependencies of the Spanish Crown. Imperialistic practices of the U.S. government were accompanied and supported by commercial and economic interests in the region that spurred early discussions of an interoceanic passage across Central America. For instance, in 1852, the San Francisco Daily California advertised and promoted the pearl fisheries in the Archipelago: Pearls being considered as the natural products of the sea, and like all other fish, free to all. There is, now, no duty required14—every man enjoys the same privilege in common with another, and is entitled to all the results of his labor.15 He can dive anywhere in the waters of the bay, and is protected in the possession of all he can in this way acquire … There are, at this time, from twelve to fifteen hundred people engaged in the pearl fisheries of these islands. The pearls divers recovered between $80,000 to $150,000 in pearls each year, and from 900 to 1,000 tons of pearl shells, averaging in value $40,000 (San Francisco Daily California 1852 in Delgado 2012:92).

This type of reporting was done with the intention of incentivizing investments in new technologies to overcome the already noticeable resource decline. For instance, in 1852 the Daily published the following: “By means of a submarine armor, or by the use of a proper machine constructed for the purpose, in connection with a submarine armor, we have no doubt that a fortune could be realized in a very short time” (San Francisco Daily California 1852 in Delgado 2012:92–93). The decline of pearls and shells was evident by the end of the 1880s. T. Herrera,16 in a report presented in 1888 about the situation in the Balboa, Darién, and Chepo subdivision (which to this day is a political subdivision that includes the Pearl Islands Archipelago), attributed this decline to machine-supported extraction (Camargo 1983). Ironically, that same year, a proposal was submitted to the government of the Province of Panama for the artificial production of pearl oysters in incubators, which was approved in 1889 (Camargo 1983). There is no further information as to whether this project was effectively implemented. The only thing we know for certain is the move toward mechanized pearl extraction, as evidenced by a still-visible witness to that era: The Explorer submarine, currently still stranded on one of the beaches of San Telmo Island in the Archipelago, across from Isla del Rey (Fig. 3.3). The story of the Explorer dates back to 1862. Julios H.  Kroehl, an American businessman of German descent, was seeking funds to take a submarine to the Pearl Islands (through the recently formed Pacific Pearl Company). The Explorer arrived in Panama before 1870, with its creator, Kroehl. Kroehl and his team spent several months preparing the Explorer to be submerged in the depths of the Archipelago. Then U.S. Consul in Panama, Thomas Kilby Smith, wrote the following:  This, in reference to the duty known as the quinto: “Fishermen were allowed the privilege of diving for pearls by paying to the government a duty called ‘Quinto’, that is, 5%, of their earnings. Soon after this country threw off her allegiance to Spain and assumed independent powers as part of the Republic, the duty on pearl-fishing was abolished” (San Francisco Daily California 1852 in Delgado 2012:92). 15  The author is referring to the abolition of slavery in 1821 and complete emancipation in 1851 (Castillero Calvo 2004c). 16  Prefect of the Province of Panama. 14

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Fig. 3.3  Explorer submarine on San Telmo Island (Photo: ©M.E. Mellado 2014) There are now employed upon these islands an average of four hundred and fifty native divers. A boat, or submarine Explorer as it is called, has been invented, and is now here, by means of which it is expected that larger and finer pearls and shells than ever before been brought to light, will be fished up. The usual method of fishing is attended with many ­disadvantages and dangers. The divers cannot go beyond certain depth, about seven fathoms. They are at all times in danger of an attack from the Tinteros grounds sharks and Macugos. They can only work three hours per day, just before and after low slack water, on account of the heavy currents. These difficulties, it is expected, by the use of a new and improved machinery, will be overcome (Delgado 2012:96).

Despite Kroehl’s death in 1867, the Explorer embarked on a highly criticized expedition to San Telmo (under the supervision of the new submarine engineer from New York), primarily due to the debt incurred by the Pacific Pearl Company. The person in charge of the Explorer returned to Panama City, leaving the submarine on the island. In 1870, the company curiously disappeared from the business registry, leaving no trace in New York or anywhere else. The U.S. government cancelled the official registration of the Explorer and assumed it had been lost at sea after several years of inactivity (Delgado 2012).17 By 1890, mechanized pearl extraction was prohibited (Camargo 1983). However, this conservation measure was short lived and was repealed just before the beginning of the twentieth century. A decade later, in 1900, pearl fishing was, once more, officially recognized as an important contributor to national industry, and the gov At this time, not much was known about decompression sickness, which ultimately caused the untimely death of the inventor of the Explorer. With his passing, the dream of reaching the deepest pearls in the Archipelago also disappeared. 17


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ernment instituted a tax of at least 25% of the catch as a way to guarantee exclusive fishing rights. In 1903, local enterprises Pinel Bros. and Piza & Piza Co. submitted proposals to the government of the Province of Panama to fish along the entire coast and islands of the Pacific Ocean. Pinel Bros. gained exclusive rights, and Piza & Piza Co. obtained 10-year use rights to the pearl fishery (Camargo 1983). Notably, at this point, U.S. interests in the region disappeared. We believe this is due to the fact that investments in the fishery were no longer economically beneficial and/or another great enterprise had emerged: the prospect of the construction of an interoceanic canal. In this way, upon the retirement of U.S. interest in the pearl industry, local companies emerged as key players, whose nineteenth century U.S.-inspired business practices continue to this day.

Twentieth Century Pearls The final demise of the resource occurred in the middle of the twentieth century, due to overfishing and unsustainable practices. Initially spurred by the discovery of the Mar del Sur in the sixteenth century, the more than 300-year story of the demise of the pearl industry shows that the fate of the Pacific pearl oyster was sealed when it became commodified, mechanized, and, thus, systematically exterminated by U.S. and other interests in the region. In contrast to more than 300 kg of shells per day fished in the Pearl Islands in 1905, divers in 1925 were able to collect only 11–45 kg per day (Camargo 1983). Currently, the population of the Archipelago is dedicated to artisanal fishing, specifically for lobster and octopus. Interestingly, this fishery employs the same tools and techniques as those used for pearl diving, and the ocean continues to be the main source of subsistence (Mellado 2014). Despite the resilience of this long-­ term activity and relation to the ocean by the local population, the pearl industry contributed to important modifications to resource abundance and distributions, as well as to the genetic makeup and histories of the locals. Most are primarily Afro-­ descendant, remnant witnesses to Spanish slavery. The relationship between these people, who have inhabited the islands over the past 500 years, and the pearl oyster has contributed to the creation of their identities as islands and as representatives and key actors in the industry that produced one of the largest and most famous pearls in the world. Locals continue to speak of “pearls” as that which continues to give then unity, cohesion, and a reason to exist. Despite being near extinction, the presence of pearls in the collective imaginary is more alive than ever (Figs. 3.4 and 3.5)18: … el nombre de estas islas viene del tiempo de la bucería, los mayores en esos tiempo buceaban … y entonces había mucha ostra, mucha perla, la más grande salió de aquí, de  Pearls are no longer commercialized. Finding one is a fortuitous event, and oysters are mostly used as a source of food. If a small pearl is found in an oyster, it usually ends up being sold to the occasional tourist. 18

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Fig. 3.4  Recently found pearls in the community of Esmeralda [Photo: ©M.E. Mellado 2014]

San Miguel, fue a España y a dar a la corona de la reina Isabel … ya entonces con el tiempo, los inventos japoneses, ellos viven también en esta agua del Pacífico … se dice pues, que ellos soltaron una sustancia química en el agua para que la ostra no produjera perlas, y como ellos comenzaron a cultivar las perlas y así la perla de verdad, perdió el valor19 (interview with local residents from Pearl Island, conducted by Mellado in 2013). … the name of these islands comes from the times of pearl diving. Our elders dove in the old day … and there were lots of oysters, many pearls. The biggest pearl came from here, from San Miguel, and it went to Spain and ended up on the crown of Queen Isabel … over time, with the Japanese inventions, they also come to these Pacific waters …, they say that they released a chemical substance in the water so that the oyster would no longer produce pearls; and as they began growing pearls, so then the real pearl lost its value (author’s translation).

“ The Land Divided, The World United”: Socioenvironmental Implications of the Panama Canal (Late Nineteenth Century Through 1999) While the colonial era (1501–1821) was characterized by the exploration and extraction of pearls and other natural resources for financial gain of the Spanish Crown, the postcolonial period saw the emergence of U.S. interests in Panama’s strategic geographic location (Delgado 2012) and the birth of the Republic of Panama as an independent country in 1903. U.S. entrepreneurs involved in the pearl industry were replaced by Panamanian elites, as focus on the Isthmus as the potential location for the construction of an interoceanic canal became a priority. As Conniff (2012) points out, U.S. public and private interests in the Isthmus were the result of decolonization and

 It is interesting to note how locals describe the reason for resource collapse. Locals never speak of overexploitation as a cause. Instead, they speak of the possible release of a chemical or, simply, the migration of the species to other regions. 19


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Fig. 3.5  On the log, pearl oysters. In the bowl, oyster meat for consumption. No pearls were found this time. [Photo: ©M.E. Mellado 2014, taken during field work in 2013]

the expanding power of the United States throughout the American continent. With word spreading of U.S. intentions to build an interoceanic path across the narrowest point of the Isthmus, the Panamanian government positioned itself as the ideal location for this enterprise. None of these ambitious goals, however, would have been possible without the unique physical and demographic characteristics of the Panamanian Isthmus, as well as the historical institutions and infrastructure that were created around its role as a transit route (Carse 2014). As a result, most, if not all, existing industries, resources, and people in Panama were affected by this new venture (Conniff 2012). Thus, although primarily politically and economically driven, the story of the construction of one of the world’s most renowned engineering feats is also a story of environmental and cultural change and habitat modification. In this section, we embellish the macroeconomic narrative of financial markets, political ambitions, and global power that led to the construction of the Panama Canal with a perhaps less visible microlevel story of resilient local populations and a fragmented landscape. Indeed, the phrase “the land divided, the world united,” the title of a book by Rink (1963) and an interactive online exhibition (, as well as a frequently used motto of the overall enterprise, captures the essence of its contentiousness. The vastness of digging a ditch through the middle of a country (and its forests and people) was overshadowed by the global effect of securing trade and geopolitical power (Fig. 3.6). The history of the Canal dates back to 1850, when Agustín Codazzi, an Italian military engineer of the Republic of Nueva Granada, was charged with exploring a possible route for an interoceanic canal. The engineer identified the current Colón– Panama City route as the most suited for the project (Pérez Rancel 2010). This idea

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Fig. 3.6  Perham Wilhelm Nahl's poster for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition depicts Hercules standing in for the builders of the Panama Canal at the challenging section known as Culebra Cut. [Source: Perham Wilhelm Nahl (1915)]

was initially pursued by French entrepreneurs in 1878 (among them, Ferdinand de Lesseps, successful developer of the Suez Canal in 1869), following the example of the Suez Canal (Castillero Calvo and Conniff 2004). However, several obstacles emerged, including inclement weather, a deadly epidemic of yellow fever, and a lack of funds to cover essential technical, labor, and sanitation needs. Greed, unbridled ambition, and unrealistic expectations in the face of such obstacles contributed to the financial ruin of the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interocéanique and, with it, the end of the French canal era. The failure of the French effort to build the canal is telling of the social and environmental conditions of the Isthmus at the time: “In 1885, the death toll peaked and investors panicked. Progress on the ground in Panama was slow, partly because of the shortage of healthy bodies but partly because of mudslides, floods, and the physical difficulties of digging a sea-level canal through the river-crossed rugged terrain of the isthmus” (McNeill 2010:310). With the retreat of the French in 1888, vast amounts of machinery and equipment disappeared into the jungle, and thousands of foreign workers were left, often starving, to find new ways of making a living (Rink


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1963). As Rink (1963) stated: “To the ghosts who walked the isthmus were now added thousands of new ones. They watched and waited to see who would be the next visitor to their festering strip of earth. They didn’t have long to wait” (Rink 1963:79).

Independent Panama Following the unsuccessful attempt by French entrepreneurs, the United States took on the challenge of building the interoceanic canal.20 U.S. economic interest, as evidenced by political support led by Theodore Roosevelt,21 a debilitated Colombian government (following the so-called Thousand-Day War22), and an emboldened separatist movement (built on the growth of Panamanian nationalism with strong financial and political support from the United States23) resulted in the independence of Panama from Colombia in 1903. The declaration of independence on November 3 was quickly followed, on November 18, by the signing of the Hay-­ Bunau Varilla treaty between the United States and the newly independent Republic of Panama. This treaty established the legal and material guarantees (mainly related to the land that was handed over to the United States24) for the construction of the Panama Canal between 1904 and 1914. With these guarantees, the U.S. government assumed exclusive jurisdiction, as well as judicial and police power, over the Canal Zone (as the swath of land parallel to the path of the Canal was known) at the narrowest point of the isthmus (Carse 2012:546) and was guaranteed the right to intervene in local affairs whenever it was deemed necessary (Weeks and Gunson 1991).25  The failure of the French canal meant that U.S. plans for a Central American interoceanic canal, originally planned for Nicaragua, could move ahead without competition. Once the French abandoned their efforts in Panama, and independence from Colombia was consolidated, the United States jumped in and initiated construction to complete de Lesseps’s dream of building the Panama Canal (Castillero Calvo and Conniff 2004). 21  U.S. economic interests in Panama were also fueled by the global commercial and military expansion phenomenon known as “imperialism.” 22  The Thousand-Day War was a contested battle between liberals and conservatives in Colombia between 1899 and 1902 (Rojas Acosta 2004). 23  In his book El País Creado por Wall Street, Díaz Espino (2001) tells how Panamanian independence was conceived from the United States jointly by American entrepreneurs and Panamanian rabiblancos (individuals from Panamanian families that were descendants of the Spanish explorers; they considered themselves to be aristocrats and maintained a clear boundary between themselves and the rest of the population), in exchange for large amounts of money for the latter. This version of history is different than what is found in most textbooks or in public opinion manifested through media outlets, where little attention is paid to the U.S. role in the planning, execution, and financing of this effort. This version also provides insights into the emergence of the current dominant class that politically and economically controls the Republic of Panama. 24  Panama granted the United States the “use, occupation, and control” in perpetuity of a strip of land 5 miles wide on either side of the proposed canal route in exchange for a modest cash payment (LaFeber 1978 in Carse 2012:545). 25  Scholars claim that between 1856 and 1903 North American forces intervened in Panama on at 20

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Another agreement between the United States and Panama, the Torrijos-Carter treaty, signed in 1977, limited the tenure of U.S. control in the Isthmus from perpetuity to an official end on December 31, 1999. Between 1904 and December 31, 1999, two parallel governments existed in the Panamanian territory: one for Panama and the other for the Canal Zone. Socioenvironmental implications of the tightly coupled Panamanian independence and U.S. construction of the Panama Canal are extremely complex and have been interpreted differently from a range of perspectives, including political ideology, national sentiment, and neoclassical economics. In this chapter, we review social and environmental change (e.g., Carse 2014; Sutter 2007) as a way to introduce readers to the stories behind these complex webs of interactions.

Society and the Environment Ecologically, the narrowest point of the Isthmus was characterized by dense tropical forest cover in the Chagres River basin, located along a north-south climate gradient, with more pronounced precipitation on the Caribbean (north) side. The river basin is part of an ecologically important freshwater storage system that provides important ecological services for transportation and basic human needs. Soils in the basin are nutrient-poor and easily degradable and are located in rugged, steep terrain on moderately low elevations. While not conducive to the establishment of large-scale agriculture, these geographic features were eventually controlled for the construction of the Panama Canal (Heckadon Moreno 1993). While agriculture and cattle production flourished elsewhere in the country, as demand for food grew along with the increase in population, land in the Chagres basin was limited to uses related to canal construction efforts. In keeping with environmental conditions, the human population in the region during the early nineteenth century was small and was clustered in small communities along the Chagres River, where people engaged in subsistence agriculture and historically provided support for the transportation of people and goods from the Caribbean to the Pacific (Cramer 2013). However, the discovery of gold in California in the mid-nineteenth century rapidly changed the socioecological conditions of the Isthmus. The desire for gold drove the development of new uses of the landscapes of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Americas, initiated a new era for trade and transportation across the Isthmus, and highlighted the need for a reliable transportation and communication system that was shorter and faster than crossing the continental United States over land. This system had first been put in place by French entrepreneurs when, in 1844, they negotiated concessions across the Isthmus to build an interoceanic railway. A New  York-based company joined this effort in least 14 occasions, under the pretext of the Mallarino-Ballack treaty, signed by the Colombian government.


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1846, supported by the U.S. Congress, with the goal of establishing a commercial connection between Panama and the Pacific coast of California and Oregon. California gold was, however, merely a catalyst for expansion in the region. The revolution in transportation, combined with the advantageous geographic position of the Isthmus, ultimately determined its role as a key transportation hub in the mid-­ nineteenth century (Castillero Calvo 2004b).26 On the ground, habitat change and rapid population growth quickly ensued. The disturbance of forests and landscapes for the construction of infrastructure required to satisfy this new role for the Isthmus had important implications for local people and the environment, as well as for the future of foreign interests in the region. What started out with clear-cutting for the transisthmian railroad (and cutting, draining, and filling in coastal mangroves to build the city of Colón on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus [Cramer 2013]) ended up as a massive movement of land. In addition to the infrastructure required to support administrative staff, their families, and the large workforce, the construction of the canal itself required significant modifications to the landscape, from damming the Chagres River to literally cutting through the highest point of the continental divide along the path of the Canal, known today as Culebra Cut. By damming the river, the United States was able to control its flow to serve the future requirements of year-round navigation. With the decision, in 1906, to build a lock-based canal, the final design of the path between the seas was established. Ships would enter from either the Atlantic or Pacific side, go up in elevation through a lock system that took them to a lake, located 85 m above sea level, that encompassed the middle section of the Isthmus. This artificial lake had been formed by flooding the valley of the Chagres River, effectively resulting in forced resettlement of existing communities and the creation of entirely new landscapes. Concerns over the environmental implications of such land mass modifications spurred the Smithsonian Institution biological survey of the Panama Canal Zone between 1910 and 1912. Limited existing studies suggested that the narrow Isthmus hosted high levels of diversity of flora and fauna. As a result, tropical scientists at the time were particularly concerned about the effects on biodiversity of flooding the forests for the creation of the artificial lake, expected changes from mixing Pacific and Atlantic marine organisms, and the ability to augment the collections of Panamanian flora and fauna in museums (Heckadon Moreno 2004). By cementing a long-term interest in the region from naturalists, primarily from the Smithsonian, scientists were able to discover and tell the world a new story about the evolutionary history and relationships between natural systems of North, Central, and South America (Henson 2016). Effectively, this scientific expedition and subsequent studies, carried out, mostly, in Smithsonian facilities in Panama, was key to our current understanding of biodiversity in the tropics. Importantly, the expedition did not attempt to identify impacts of the Canal on biodiversity. Instead, it shed light on newly discovered plant,  English businesses announced the opening of new maritime routes and schedules across the Isthmus in response to the first transisthmian railroad, built in 1855 (with support primarily from U.S. capital and some British investments). Global interest in Panama was officially on the rise. 26

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mammal, fish, and bird species, many of which were new to sciences (Heckadon Moreno 2004). While this information says very little about the changes resulting from the construction itself, the value of recognizing the high levels of biodiversity that are found in the relatively small land mass of Panama is significant. An environmental aspect that played an important role in the failure of the French effort and was emphasized during the initial stages of U.S. presence in the Isthmus was the inability of the French to tame tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. This contributed to a massive loss of life in the short-lived French canal era. As a result, the United States recognized the importance of providing sanitation, health services, and capacity for research on tropical diseases. Dr. William Gorgas, best known for his discovery of the mosquito as the vector for malaria and yellow fever and for the identification of simple measures such as drainage, mosquito nets, sanitation of the environment, and fumigation as effectively protecting the workforce from illness and/or death, was sent to Panama to work on sanitation. Despite these efforts, estimates of the death toll during construction of the Panama Canal range from 10,000 to 25,000 people (McNeill 2010). The massive land movements required for the construction of the Canal are analogous to the demographic shifts that had to occur in order to manage and maintain a workforce capable of completing such a feat. Workers arrived voluntarily or were brought in from all over the world, although migrants were primarily from the West Indies and China. Both groups currently represent important segments of the Panamanian population. Indeed, Conniff (1983) estimates that between 1850 and 1950 as many as 200,000 West Indians traveled to Panama to work on the railroad, the failed French canal, and the U.S. canal. At the time, however, the success of the American enterprise relied on strict controls over both people and the environment. For the former, the United States exercised racialized practices such as the establishment of the Gold and Silver Rolls, whereby whites and blacks were segregated and subjected to different workplace rules (Conniff 1983). Compared to other groups in Panama, the latter at least had the option of working for the Americans, albeit in lower-ranking jobs, given their ability to speak English. The question of “blackness,” or African descent, in Panama is not quite as simple as it would appear from the white-black binary represented in the Gold and Silver rolls, respectively. As Watson (2014) points out, there are two distinct groups of Afro-descendants in Panama: Spanish-speaking blacks, or Afro-Hispanics, who are descendants of former African slaves of the Spanish Crown, and West Indians, originally from the English-speaking Caribbean, who arrived in Panama initially around the mid1850s for the construction of the Panama Railroad and subsequently for the construction of the Canal. The struggles for a “Panamanian identity” and a place to call home experienced by West Indians were clouded by politics and policies of the Canal administration and its influences on the Panamanian government. Indeed, West Indians were not granted full citizenship until after World War II (Conniff 1983). Until then, they only had the option of emigrating or fully assimilating into “Panamanianness,” which typically meant adopting Afro-Hispanic practices such as speaking Spanish, engaging with the Catholic church, and supporting the dominant “Hispanic” national identity (Watson 2014).


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However, non-elite Panamanians of Hispanic and indigenous descent did not exactly hold a better position with respect to the Americans. In fact, contrary to the West Indians, they were rarely even considered as potential employees, other than for occasional opportunities in construction of infrastructure to protect the Canal, led by the Panamanian government (Carse 2014). Furthermore, the rural, subsistence-­ agriculture farmers who lived close to the Canal Zone were disproportionately affected by forced evacuations, technically for the development of the lake in the central portion of the Canal, and sociopolitically to rid the Canal Zone of Panamanian “natives” (Lasso 2016).

Conclusion The discovery of the Mar del Sur by Europeans constituted a fundamental shift in global geographic and ecological imaginaries, as well as an economic and commercial revolution that continues to this day. Panama unintentionally became the epicenter of this process, due to its strategic geographic location and to the intertwined histories of people and places, which have been shaped over the past 500  years. From colonial times through the present, Panama has been conceived by the elite (national and international) as a bountiful place. Indeed, it is precisely the various uses (and abuses) of these geographic, natural, and human resource riches that transformed Panama into what it is today. In this chapter we have demonstrated that two major industries, pearls and the Panama Canal, were simultaneously negotiated by international geopolitics and markets and also caused changes at the local level. An extended marine ethnobiological lens (Narchi et al. 2014) allowed us to embellish the traditional narrative by exploring colonial and postcolonial influences of the pearl industry and its actors. We found that these seemingly global processes of discovery, conquest, and market creation drove the pearl oyster to near extinction and shaped the local population of the Pearl Islands by practically exterminating the indigenous native groups and replacing them with African slaves. Similarly, but at a much larger scale, the political-economic narrative of the construction of the Panama Canal was retold in a way that highlighted the role of nature in both enabling and limiting development (in the case of the failure of the French canal). The subsequent interoceanic canal effort, led by the United States, succeeded in uniting the world and dividing the land. More often than not, the success of a united world overshadowed the outcomes of a divided land. On the ground, yellow fever and malaria mosquito vectors ruled and controlled human activities until the U.S. enterprise focused on sanitation efforts, naturalists from the Smithsonian and other U.S. institutions documented and showed the world the impressive biodiversity of the Isthmus, and a ditch was dug across the continental divide, forever altering the flow of the Chagres River and surrounding landscapes. Simultaneously, demographic shifts occurred rapidly with the sudden introduction of foreign laborers (most of West Indian and Chinese descent) and white elite managers and military personnel to enable the construction of the Canal.

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History has shown that Panama has always been considered an ideal place for investing in and taking advantage of natural resources—both materially and symbolically—through the richness of its landscapes, people, and natural resources. Despite the official handover of the Canal to Panamanian control in 2000, numerous tourism and business enterprises are currently conducted by foreign corporations on Panamanian soil. These new types of service-oriented industries represent the next phase of indivisible connections between Panama and the rest of the world. While the next chapter of this story of discovery and connection will undoubtedly be shaped by broad political economic interests, land, resources, and people will continue to have a story to tell.

References Araúz, C.  A., & Pizzurno, P. (1993). El Panamá colombiano: 1821–1903. Panama: Diario La Prensa de Panamá. Camargo, M. (1983). Las pesquerías de perlas y conchas madreperla en Panamá. Lotería, 326– 327, 33–76. Cariño, M., & Monteforte, M. (2007). De la sobreexplotación a la sustentabilidad: Nácar y perlas en la historia mundial. El Periplo Sustentable, 12, 81–131. Carse, A. (2012). Nature as infrastructure: Making and managing the Panama Canal watershed. Social Studies of Science, 42(4), 539–563. Carse, A. (2014). Beyond the big ditch: Politics, ecology, and infrastructure at the Panama Canal. Cambridge: MIT Press. Castillero Calvo, A. (2004a). El oro y las perlas en la economía colonial. In A. Castillero Calvo (Ed.), Historia general de Panamá (pp. 431–456). Panama: Comité Nacional del Centenario de la República. Castillero Calvo, A. (2004b). La economía hasta mediados del S. XIX. In A. Castillero Calvo (Ed.), Historia general de Panamá (pp. 46–62). Panama: Comité del Centenario de la República. Castillero Calvo, A. (2004c). La esclavitud negra. In A. Castillero Calvo (Ed.), Historia general de Panamá (pp. 428–453). Panama: Comité del Centenario de la República. Castillero Calvo, A. (2005). Ciclos y coyunturas en la economía panameña: 1654–1869. Interpretación sumaria (primera parte). Tareas, 119, 5–30. Castillero Calvo, A., & Conniff, M. (2004). Proyectos para la construcción de un canal por Panamá, siglos XVI–XIX.  In A.  Castillero Calvo (Ed.), Historia general de Panamá (pp.  292–309). Panama: Comité Nacional del Centenario de la República. Cipriani, R., Guzmán, H., & Lopez, M. (2008). Harvest history and current densities of the pearl oyster Pinctada mazatlanica (Bivalvia: Pteriidae) in Las Perlas and Coiba archipelagos, Panama. Journal of Shellfish Research, 27(4), 691–700. Conniff, M. (1983). Black labor on a white canal: West Indians in Panama, 1904–1980. University of New Mexico Digital Repository: Research Papers, Latin American and Iberian Institute. Conniff, M. (2012). Panama and the United States: The end of the alliance. Athens: University of Georgia Press. Cooke, R., & Sánchez, L. A. (2004). El Panamá prehispánico. In A. Castillero Calvo (Ed.), Historia general de Panamá (pp. 47–78). Panama: Comité del Centenario de la República. Cramer, K.  L. (2013). History of human occupation and environmental change in western and Central Caribbean Panama. Bulletin of Marine Science, 89(4), 955–982. Crosby, A. W. (2003). The Columbian exchange: Biological and cultural consequences of 1492. Westport: Praeger. de Anglería, P. M. (1989). Décadas del nuevo mundo. Madrid: Polifemo.


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Delgado, J. P. (2012). Misadventures of a civil war submarine: Iron, guns, and pearls. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. Díaz Espino, O. (2001). How wall street created a nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows. Guerra, F. X. (2009). Modernidad e independencias: Ensayos sobre las revoluciones hispánicas. Madrid: Fundación Studium-Ediciones Encuentro. Heckadon Moreno, S. (1993). Impact of development on the Panama Canal environment. Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, 35, 129–149. Heckadon Moreno, S. (2004). Naturalists on the Isthmus of Panama: A hundred years of natural history on the biological bridges of the Americas. Panama: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Henson, P.  M. (2016). A baseline environmental survey: The 1910–12 Smithsonian biological survey of the Panama Canal Zone. Environmental History, 21(2), 222–230. Hernández Muro, G. (2013). Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Alcántara, 77, 63–70. Jopling, C. (1994). Indios y negros en Panamá en los siglos XVI y XVII: Selecciones de los documentos del Archivo General de Indias. Antigua: Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica, Plumsock Mesoamerican Studies. Lasso, M. (2016). From citizens to “natives”: Tropical politics of depopulation at the Panama Canal Zone. Environmental History, 21(2), 240–249. Linares, O., & Sheets, P.  D. (1980). Highland agricultural villages in the Volcán Barú region. In O.  Linares & A.  Ranere (Eds.), Adaptive radiations in prehistoric Panama (pp.  44–55). Cambridge: Harvard University. MacKenzie, C. (1999). A history of the pearl oyster fishery in the Archipiélago de Las Perlas, Panama. Marine Fisheries Review, 61, 58–65. McNeill, J. R. (2010). Mosquito empires: Ecology and war in the greater Caribbean, 1620–1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Medeiros, M. F. T. (2014). Procedures for documentary analysis in the establishment of ethnobiological information. In U. Albuquerque, L. V. F. C. da Cunha, R. Farias Paiva de Lucena, & R.  Nóbrega Alves (Eds.), Methods and techniques in ethnobiology and ethnoecology (pp. 75–85). New York: Humana Press. Mellado, M. E. (2013). Aproximación al período colonial del Archipiélago de Las Perlas, Panamá. Memorias, 19, 140–174. Mellado, M. E. (2014). Informe: Estudio de la idiosincrasia y gobernanza de los actores clave involucrados en la pesca y el buceo en el Archipiélago Las Perlas, con énfasis en la captura de langosta (Informe técnico de consultoría). Panama: Conservación Internacional. Mellado, M. E. (2016). Turismo: Una nueva marea para el Archipiélago de Las Perlas. Pasados y presentes de unas poblaciones del Pacífico oriental tropical panameño (PhD dissertation). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from Mena García, C. (1984). La sociedad de Panamá en el siglo XVI. Sevilla: Excma. Diputación Provincial de Sevilla. Mosk, S.  A. (1934). The Cardona Company and the pearl fisheries of lower California. Pacific Historical Review, 3(1), 50–61. Narchi, N. E., Cornier, S., Canu, D. M., Aguilar-Rosas, L. E., Bender, M. G., Jacquelin, C., et al. (2014). Marine ethnobiology a rather neglected area, which can provide an important contribution to ocean and coastal management. Ocean & Coastal Management, 89, 117–126. Pérez Rancel, J. J. (2010). Canalización para la colonización: La comisión coreográfica y el Canal de Panamá. Apuntes, 23(2), 132–149. Pigafetta, A. (1999). El primer viaje alrededor del mundo. Relato de la expedición de Magallanes y Elcano. Barcelona: Ediciones B. Ranere, A.  J., & Rosenthal, E.  J. (1980). Lithic assemblages from the Aguacate Pensinsula. In O.  Linares & A.  Ranere (Eds.), Adaptive radiations in prehistoric Panama (pp.  467–483). Cambridge: Harvard University. Rink, P. (1963). The land divided, the world united. New York: Julian Messner.

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Rojas Acosta, E. (2004). La economía panameña: 1903–2003. In A. Castillero Calvo (Ed.), Historia general de Panamá (pp. 96–109). Panama: Comité Nacional del Centenario de la República. Solano, Y., Cabrera, J., & Palacios, R. (1997). Estructura de la población y crecimiento de Pinctada mazatlantica (Pterioida: Pteriidae), Golfo de Nicoya, Costa Rica. Revista de Biología Tropical, 45(3), 1055–1060. Strack, E. (2008). Introduction. In P. Southgate & J. Lucas (Eds.), The pearl oyster (pp. 1–37). Oxford: Elsevier. Sutter, P. S. (2007). Nature’s agents or agents of empire? Entomological workers and environmental change during the construction of the Panama Canal. Isis, 98(4), 724–754. Watson, S. S. (2014). The politics of race in Panama: Afro-Hispanic and west Indian literary discourses of contention. Gainsville: University Press of Florida. Weeks, J., & Gunson, P. (1991). Panama: Made in the USA. London: Latin American Bureau.

Chapter 4

Lessons of Governance from Traditional Fisheries: The Huaves of San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo, Oaxaca José Alberto Zepeda-Domínguez and Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio

Introduction Aiming to promote inclusive social development and major economic efficiency, the Mexican government recently began sharing—with states and municipalities— rights and obligations related to the regulation of productive activities previously considered to be exclusively under the purview of the federal government. This administrative devolution is accompanied by an increasing delegation of functions to social actors involved in their respective productive sectors (Zepeda-Domínguez 2010; Espinosa-Romero et al. 2014). In the fishing sector, the administrative devolution started with the enactment of the General Law of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2007. These legal reforms have reached different levels of progress, depending on the regions and characteristics of the fisheries in which they are implemented (Espinoza-Tenorio et al. 2011b). The General Law of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (GLSFA; the term “general” term means that permits depend upon state laws for full implementation) lays the foundations for the aforementioned transition, but the absence of operational regulations has impeded a generalized implementation of co-management schemes in domestic fisheries. Nonetheless, there are some successful cases in which political willingness, along with the existence of technical and logistical capacities on the part of stakeholders, has permitted the implementation of co-­management plans (e.g., Carabias et  al. 2010; Zepeda-Domínguez 2010; Pérez-­Ramírez et al. 2012). However, nationwide implementation of comanagement paradigms is still pending. While it is true that the decentralization

J. A. Zepeda-Domínguez Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, La Paz, Mexico A. Espinoza-Tenorio (*) El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Lerma, Campeche, Mexico © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



J. A. Zepeda-Domínguez and A. Espinoza-Tenorio

of the ­decision-­making process has advanced, it is also a fact that only delegation of low-level responsibilities (surveillance, monitoring, etc.) in sectors other than government (productive sectors, nongovernmental organizations) has occurred (Espinoza-­Tenorio et al. 2015). Achieving fisheries co-management is particularly important on the coast of the Mexican southern Pacific, where activity has deeply rooted socioenvironmental histories and implies so many complexities that its administration requires a deep understanding of socioeconomic, cultural, and moral factors (Alcalá-Moya 1999). Given the technical and logistical limitations of the government agencies responsible for fisheries management, a better understanding of local customs, livelihoods, and fisheries management schemes can be useful when designing public policies that recognize and cooperate with traditional governance institutions existing in the region (Villagómez 2004; Espinoza-Tenorio et al. 2012). The Huave Lagunar System (HLS) is living a key moment in the use of its fishing resources, so it is necessary to review lessons learned to guide decision making, including local participation and, consequently, local needs. This chapter describes the artisanal fishing system of San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo from the premise that this indigenous community has a historical and intimate interaction with their fishery resources, thereby providing key elements in the search for a sustainable plan for the fishing sector in HLS. We worked hand-in-hand with the fishing cooperative of Jaltepec del Mar because it is considered to be a representative and significant entity in terms of administering the economic units of the region.

Huaves: Mero ‘Ikooc’ Mero ‘ikooc’ (“True we”), also known as mareños or huazantecos, were named as Huave by their Zapotec neighbors, who refer to them as “the people that rot in the humidity.” Attempts have been made to locate Huave within groups in Central America and the Caribbean. To date, however, Huave are considered unclassified, as tenable genetic connections have not yet been firmly established (O’Connor and Kroefges 2007). This ethnic group, which speaks an isolated language of the OtoMangue phylum, occupies a narrow strip of coastal land around the brackish lagoons east of the Tehuantepec River (Lupo 1999), an inhospitable region where Huaves have been historically preoccupied with territorial conflicts with the Zapotec civilization. All Huave territory is arid due to the drying effect of winds known locally as tehuanos.1 These xeric conditions render the land especially vulnerable to the two  Tehuanos, or nortes, are arid, strong winds of up to 120  km/h that flow along the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from October to February for periods of 3–5 days. This large-scale phenomenon temporally defines the dynamics of coastal lagoons (e.g., replacement of water masses, evaporation rates, recruitment of organisms) and strongly influences the Gulf of Tehuantepec (CervantesHernández et al. 2006). 1

4  Lessons of Governance from Traditional Fisheries: The Huaves of San Francisco del…


Fig. 4.1  Huaves municipalities in Oaxaca and the locality of San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo and its fishing area, Laguna Occidental [Source: INEGI]

extreme weather seasons (rainy and dry). The dry months are particularly drastic, since the evaporation process is reinforced by the tehuanos, intensifying the desiccation of the lagoons and causing displacement of dune troughs, cultivated lands, and human settlements. Such was the case of the “loma blanca” in San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo.2 Currently, there are approximately 18,539 Huave speakers, most of them (about 96%) in the state of Oaxaca. Some are also found in other states, such as Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, and Veracruz (INEGI 2015). In Oaxaca, most Huaves live in the municipalities of San Mateo del Mar (10,925), San Dionisio del Mar (2549), San Francisco del Mar (617), and the agency of Santa María del Mar (212), which is part of the Zapotec municipality of Juchitán de Zaragoza (INEGI 2009). Today, this ethnic population is distributed in two coastal areas around HLS (Fig.  4.1), interconnected mainly by boat when the wind allows it:

2  In 1970, most of the inhabitants left this locality because dunes, known locally as the “loma blanca,” broke through the town and covered it. This phenomenon was occasioned by the introduced livestock that intensively grazed the native coastal vegetation, eroding the capability of the dunes to withstand wind erosion. A new locality, San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Nuevo, was created and, since 1994, has been the head of the municipality. Few inhabitants remained in the old town.


J. A. Zepeda-Domínguez and A. Espinoza-Tenorio

• The southwestern area covers the municipality of San Mateo del Mar and the municipal agency of Santa María del Mar (part of the Zapotec municipality of Juchitán); its territory is almost two-thirds of a 40-km  bar separating the Mar Tileme from the Pacific Ocean. • The eastern zone includes the municipalities of San Francisco del Mar and San Dionisio del Mar, southeast of the Laguna Inferior and Laguna Superior.

Fishing Tixum3: Huave Ethnobiological Knowledge The close socioenvironmental relationship Huave people have with the HLS has helped them build a whole system of ethnobiological knowledge that has historically helped them adapt—originally and ingeniously (Espinoza-Tenorio 2010) their productive activities to an environment conducive to desertification. This explains why the entire cosmological system, including ritual and sacred narrative, is centered around weather themes (Lupo 1979, 1999). Huave agricultural systems are characterized by techniques that rely on the ecosystem’s regenerative capacity; for example, temporal polycultures give priority to creeping species to avoid soil erosion (e.g., sweet potato, beans, watermelon, squash, melon). Additionally, a number of different strategies are used by Huave people to reduce the abrasive and erosive effects of wind and sand on their crops and houses (e.g., they build live fences or cover the land with manure or stubble when it is not cultivated) (Zizumbo-­Villarreal and García-Marin 1982). For the case of dune vegetation, Huave knowledge has allowed for the development of a local pharmacopoeia that takes advantage of the vegetation of local ecosystems without destroying them (Cheney 1979; Signorini 1979). na. Similar to other coastal cultures in Mexico, such as the Seri people of Sonora (Basurto 2005; Hernández-Santana and Narchi, Chap. 7 of this book), Huaves have distinguished themselves by their high sense of ethnicity and their roots in fishing culture. Huave toponomy, extremely precise in morphological details, attests to a peculiar adaptation of the language, where land and water have blurred confines (Tallé 2004). According to the research of Millan-Valenzuela (2003), the strong linguistic and geographical borders minimized the impact of external influences. The group took refuge in a fishing economy based on shrimp, which allowed Huave to exchange resources that they did not have, mainly corn, with the Zapotec peoples. In the same study, the author argues that not maintaining a strong relationship with corn is a factor that distinguishes them from most Mesoamerican peoples. Fishing has caused both daily life and Huave cosmogony to revolve around water and wind; the saints and nahuales4 connect with everyday situations (Signorini  Shrimp.  Simplified, each person is linked to a companion animal life force, which is the nahual (Scholz 2011). 3 4

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Table 4.1  Huave name for principal fisheries resources in the Huave Lagoon System (Serrano-­ Guzmán et al. 2007; Espinoza-Tenorio and Reyes-Girón 2010) Huave name Tixum Mill/leap Rew Piüw Chiuj

Resource Shrimp Mullet Sea catfish Yellowfin snook Yellowfin mojarra

Scientific name Litopenaeus stylirostris, L. vannamei Mugil cephalus, M. curema Arius platypogon, A. seemanii Centropomus robalito Gerres cinereus

1994). Some examples include the association of the direction of the wind with a gender and cosmogonic origin. The south wind is feminine and comes from the waves of the sea formed by the Virgin of the Candelaria, while the north wind is masculine and comes from the Earth and is associated with Saint Matthew the Apostle. Examples are numerous: the presence of turtle caps and deer antlers as musical instruments (Campos-Velázquez 2016); fishing gear that takes advantage of the force of the wind (canoes with sails or fishing with kites); sacred sites on the shore of the beach, on islands, or at coastal elevations; and a high number of toponyms (Espinoza-Tenorio and Reyes-Girón 2010; Espinoza-Tenorio et al. 2012). Huave livelihood has historically been described as the product of a fishing culture deeply rooted in ethnic imaginaries that center fishing in coastal lagoons as a fundamental Huave activity (de la Cerda-Silva 1941; Millán-Valenzuela 2011). Fishing in HLS is artisan, and its main target is tixum (shrimp), but additional resources are also collected throughout the year (Table 4.1). Thirty-seven fishery lagoon resources have now been documented (Espinoza-Tenorio and Reyes-Girón 2010). As in other small-scale fisheries, preferences for obtaining a specific catch are dictated by a combination of market value and the species’ relative abundance.

Methods From June to July 2009, we distributed 20 surveys to more than 10% of the total village population. The survey focused on organization, leadership, management, community empowerment, and changes to decision-making processes since enactment of the GLSFA. In addition, we located key actors in the community and conducted semistructured interviews with them. Interviewees included the current president of the cooperative, the two most recent former presidents, three academics involved with the local fishing sector, and two government fisheries administrators. The interviews were focused on their knowledge and understanding of the fishing, management, and organizational practices of the fishermen and the main changes they have seen over the past 20 years. The fishers, on average, are 44 years old and have been fishing for 30 years. The majority have a literacy level no higher than fourth grade of elementary school.


J. A. Zepeda-Domínguez and A. Espinoza-Tenorio

These actors represent the core of the stakeholders as recognized by the GLSFA. In this case, there was no evidence that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs, known locally as civil society organizations) are involved in fisheries, environmental, or social issues. We could not find a single NGO focused on fostering self-organization capacities among these producers or on strengthening the value chain of fisheries production (legally known in Mexico as Product System Committees).

Current Fisheries System Federal laws group fishery stakeholders into two main groups: cooperatives and permit holders. It is exclusively under these legal categories that stakeholders can access fishing rights and become eligible for federal subsidies to support their economic endeavors. Nonetheless, there are a significant percentage of unregistered (“free”) fishers who are regulated exclusively and informally by local social institutions such as community authorities, social leaders, and traders. Free fishers can be fully dedicated to fishing, but they can also be half-time fishers, mainly during the shrimp season. The rest of the year, they work as peasants, construction workers, and/or service providers. The increasing number of free fishers is complex and worrying. This national phenomenon is related to the reduction of economic incentives to associate with fishing cooperatives and the absence of new fishing rights. Consequently, most Mexican fisheries are fully exploited, so it is possible to fish only by working with those who own fishing rights (Basurto et al. 2012). In HLS, population growth and the absence of other profitable economic activities have led the poor and marginalized to depend on temporary subsistence fishing to satisfy their most basic needs. As a result, free fishers have increased in numbers, representing up to 50–60% of the fishing population, a magnitude that resembles the number of people involved in other illegal fishing activities, such as fishing without permit (Cisneros-Montemayor et al. 2012). According to Bozada-Robles (2008), the inclusion of free fishers in the regulated sector is hampered by the government’s restriction on granting new fishing permits, either to individual permit holders or to cooperative societies. The lack of new permits is because the size of the fishing stock, as assessed by the Mexican National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (INAPESCA) will not allow for an increase in fishing activities. In other words, the majority of HLS fisheries are exploited to the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and, in some cases, can be considered overexploited (INAPESCA 2006). Therefore, new fishing permits and, consequently, an increase in fishing efforts would translate into the expansion of the social vulnerability of the communities in the region. According to the fishing gear and means of transport used, three prototypical types of fishers can be distinguished within HLS: atarrayeros, cayuqueros, and lancheros. Atarrayeros are those who fish with cast nets on feet. Cayuqueros fish using small wooden boats to reach zones far out in the lagoon. Lancheros are those who

4  Lessons of Governance from Traditional Fisheries: The Huaves of San Francisco del…


use fiberglass boats with small outboard engines. In addition, depending on their working environment and fishing season, fishers can continue on foot (lagoon shores and sea) or use pangas (fiberglass boats) or hollowed-out wooden canoes made from guanacastle (Enterolobium cyclocarpum). Canoes are propelled by sails or rowing, and some have outboard motors. Although instruments such as nylon gillnets are common, fishers still use hemp thread nets in the lagoons. The fact that the traditional knowledge system is still in force influences factors such as profit-sharing schemes among fishers, which, in spite of subtle variations between communities and fishing systems, are maintained according to local customs. In HLS, it is still common to see an equitable distribution of profits (money that remains after subtracting gasoline spent on a given day) among a fishing crew (three or four fishers) and owner of the team. Regarding the ownership of fishing gear and means of transport, in the case of pangas, the most common situation is that fishers rent these from private owners. Conversely, casting nets and wooden cayucos are usually owned by the fishers and are acquired with family savings, government subsidies, or other types of support (Bozada-Robles 2008). Huave fisheries are also distinguished by the spatial organization of labor and labor skills. Traditionally, multispecies fisheries and shrimp fishing have been linked to the way in which the community organizes and partitions its fishing zones. These zones are allocated to specific individuals in accordance with the fisher’s strength, skill, and equipment. For example, children and old people with cast nets fish in shallow and protected areas, while experienced young people use gillnets in deeper waters (Espinoza-Tenorio et al. 2012). The Huave community gave birth to the first fishing cooperatives in HLS, established in 1968. In 1990, the community managed to formalize a supracommunal organization for the first time in the region, known as the Unión Regional de Cooperativas, or The Seven Huaves. This regional union brought together 7 fishery cooperatives and 1273 fishers; however, internal conflicts affected the organization, and its role in the region has diminished. In this lagoon system, nine cooperatives fish nominally; two of these do not actively operate for different reasons (e.g., migration, dissolution of the group due to disappointment in the face of management problems by the cooperative authorities). Of those that do operate, four are represented by the union of cooperatives, and the other three represent themselves before the authorities and do not participate in any larger organizational scheme or conglomerate.

The Cooperative of Jaltepec del Mar The cooperative of Jaltepec del Mar belongs to the community of San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo (Fig.  4.1) and has 211 members, of which 180 operate in the southern zone under concession to the cooperative. The rest operate 25 km to the north in another area of the system.


J. A. Zepeda-Domínguez and A. Espinoza-Tenorio

Benefits of the Cooperative We found that 100% of the fishers in the community are members of the cooperative. All of the respondents attributed their willingness to become a member mainly due to the rights and benefits that allow the organization to exercise exclusive fishing rights in a precise polygon of the lagoon. A second benefit of becoming a member, as mentioned by 80% of the respondents, is the general idea that gaining membership in the cooperative helps fishers obtain subsidies. The remaining 20% think that membership status is of no help, and they base their opinion on the idea that the high costs of membership fees, in comparison to those fees paid to become a member of a fishing cooperative elsewhere, are a disadvantage. However, these people recognize that, regardless of lower fees, other cooperatives do not give their members as many benefits as they can obtain by joining Jaltepec del Mar. Each cooperative decides how it is capitalized. In many regions, the “peso per kilo” scheme is used. In that system, the cooperative keeps one peso for each kilo that fishers place in the market. The earnings derived from membership fees and “peso per kilo” duties are used to create loans and credit plans for the members or to cover expenses associated with management duties carried out on behalf of the cooperative. When there is no transparency on how and by whom these earnings are spent, dissatisfaction among partners increases. Ninety percent of our local collaborators think that the cooperative provides them with some visibility in the eyes of fishing authorities. In this way, they can express their needs more emphatically and collectively. However, they still are aware that they are not taken into account to the extent that they would like to be or deserve. This situation is ubiquitous among small-scale fishers in Mexico. The lack of mechanisms and legal articulation in terms of paths and procedures to foster and ensure public participation limits, and often silences, the claims, points of view, and demands of nonassociated fishers at the state and national level. Regardless, it has been noted that co-management operates in a better way at the local level, allowing the system to acquire adaptability, efficiency, and resilience (Berkes and Jolly 2002; Folke et al. 2002; Ratner et al. 2012; Heenan et al. 2015). Half of the fishers surveyed and all of the experts interviewed agreed that decisions are still made mainly by the government, although some key actors are now taken into account. They also believe that long-term intentions are to include everyone’s voice in the decision-making process. However, certain actions are necessary for this goal to be achieved. In practice, the combination of limited participation in decision making, fostered by a business-as-usual authority-supported approach, as well as the authority’s limited capacity to implement plans and decisions on the ground, allows for HLS communities to informally develop a scheme closer to self-­ management or self-government than to alleged co-management. Among the most important logistical deficiencies mentioned is training users to construct representative institutions, budgeting to logistically support representatives so that they can attend sectoral meetings, and training and renewal of fishing authorities. On another scale, but no less important, is the consolidation of a regulatory

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framework that actively supports public participation in Mexican fisheries policy. The GLSFA has 10 years without regulation, and the lack of clarity in some definitions complicates the participation of all the sectors involved. Ninety-five percent of respondents said that the cooperative society acts effectively as a means to facilitate consensus on agreements between them and other cooperatives. Eighty percent of fishers know that the current management regime of the lagoon (through cooperatives) represents a 50-year-old idea. Only six of the respondents worked before the cooperative was formed; of these, five think that prior to the existence of cooperative regimes, fishing was carried out in sustainable ways since everyone worked practically in the same way (fishing together and distributing the product equally) without being bound by law. These people also note that traditional fishing and benefit-sharing schemes were used and respected for more than 50 years, until the law forced them to join cooperatives in order to continue carrying out their fishing activity. This information shows how in cases where cooperation and a sense of community are present, legislation validates and reinforces the operation of the system but can only rarely help in consolidating these types of systems. No significant change was found in the perception of public participation. Wide participation of stakeholders 5 years ago and today (student’s t = −0.94; n = 19) implies that the respondents did not perceive any differences in the ways in which they participated over a 5-year period. The fishers feel that both 10 years ago and now, their opinions are not taken into account and that decisions are made by the central offices of the fisheries administration, although fishers are consulted about the measures adopted. The cooperative’s administrative staff agreed that although they are invited to attend informative meetings on fishing matters and regulations, these meetings are held in the city of Salina Cruz, and they often cannot attend. Salina Cruz is 117 miles from the town, and, due to poor roads, people need up to 3 h to travel there. In addition, no significant change was recorded in terms of how fishers perceive the effectiveness of the decentralization process regarding the fishery’s administration of the lagoon system (Mann-Whitney U = 135; n1 = 20; n2 = 18). The aforementioned means that the fishers perceive that government administrators have not yet changed their willingness to accept the participation of other sectors in fishery administration. Fishers believe that 5 years ago the rules of operation forced officials to approach users directly, but only by obligation. Officials do not accept advice or different points of view and do not recognize outside advisors as having a legitimate opinion (Unión of Cooperativas Los Nueve Huaves).

External Collaboration There is slight collaboration with academic institutions in the region. Although some institutions, such as the Institute of Ecology of Xalapa, Veracruz, have conducted studies in the area, their competencies do not include fishing. The only


J. A. Zepeda-Domínguez and A. Espinoza-Tenorio

research institutions that routinely work in the area are the Regional Fisheries Research Center (CRIP) of Salina Cruz (part of the National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture) and researchers from the Resource Institute of the Universidad del Mar Campus (Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca). The fishers only interact with the CRIP, although they say that they would like to cooperate with regional researchers and their institutions. Recently, in the city of Tonalá, Chiapas, the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas (UNICACH) established a new campus. The institution offers a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and could be the regional hotbed for a cohort of professionals generating information on this lagoon system and engaging with communities, depending on the institution’s resources. Environmental civic society organizations (the local term for NGOs) and their activities are absent throughout the region. Surprisingly, this sector has a consolidated presence in other coastal regions of the country and in some cases has successfully served as a link between producers and federal fisheries management agencies. In other cases, NGOs have advocated for environmental causes, becoming, for the most part, antagonistic to the views and concerns expressed by the fishing sector. In our area of study, there is a deep distrust toward the NGO sector. All fishers surveyed expressed an interest in interacting with regional seafood marketers and retailers. They think that, with some internal organization and external networks, they can achieve better sale prices for their products. The former can result in new opportunities for consolidating commercial alliances to support a stronger value chain. In terms of Mexican legislation, these organizations are known as Product System Committees of the resource in question. Unfortunately, these organizations also depend on the capacity of fishers to organize themselves to be effective. In the state of Oaxaca, Municipal Councils, Product System Committees, and even the State Council for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture have not yet been put in place. This situation has prevented the level of public participation from increasing. Interviewees consistently mentioned that there have been a number of previous efforts that sought to establish such councils, but political instability in the state of Oaxaca has prevented the fishing sector from having the same administrative reach (secretariat, undersecretary, direction) and personnel for two of the administrations within the last four. In 2013, the Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Law of the State of Oaxaca was enacted. However, similar to what occurs in the federal sphere, this law has not been articulated into active rules and regulations. Therefore, it operates at the discretion of state officials without any operational support or legal scaffolding. A security aspect mentioned in the interviews is that it would be important for the Secretariats of Health and Social Development to participate in the fishing and aquaculture councils of the coastal municipalities of the state. The main explanation for this is that fishers have observed corrupt and illegal practices on the part of the authorities, along with same-as-usual deficiencies in basic health and nutrition services. The former highlights the importance of intersectoral cooperation, because from a strictly sectoral perspective, the secretariat in charge of fisheries is in charge of food production and does not have the funds to address these other problems.

4  Lessons of Governance from Traditional Fisheries: The Huaves of San Francisco del…


Theoretically, it could be considered that HLS has reached an instructive and consultative co-management system, where the government is responsible for making decisions after informing and hearing testimony from local users. However, in practice, Huaves are closer to self-government than to co-management, because although they know official government institutions, they respect and enforce their own social institutions and rules more. Recently, only some voices representing stakeholders were effectively taken into account within the decision-making process, undermining the legitimacy of the agreements by excluding some stakeholders from their administration. This throws a shadow of suspicion on the agreements reached in collaboration with governmental institutions. The exclusion put in place by the institutional decision-making process encourages cooperatives to make decisions for themselves and apply them at the community level without informing the corresponding authorities or even those members of the communities poorly represented in cooperative structures.

Future Limitations The main factors identified as limiting the application of co-management systems are as follows: • Technical incapacity and corruption on the part of authorities. These problems are thought to be diminished through training and design mechanisms that favor the transparency of government agencies. • Negative actions carried out by local negative leadership (one-man rule), which limit the consolidation of new representative institutions • Lack of regulation that defines the character of collegiate bodies, thus favoring the evasion of responsibilities by authorities, who claim they are not the only ones making decisions, when, effectively, they are.

Final Considerations In promoting its inclusion into “developed” Mexico, the Isthmus of Oaxaca has found itself in the midst of a set of forces that oscillate between external models of development that seek a rapid growth of economic poles—with the hope that these will subsequently permeate the rest of society—and local structures that historically have fought for the reaffirmation of their territory and the recognition of their identity as basic conditions for their development (Espinoza-Tenorio et al. 2012). The state of artisanal fishing is an example where an activity traditionally managed according to local environmental and cultural imaginaries was handed over to federal agencies whose main goal was to establish a national fishing model designed and evaluated mainly through production and infrastructure indexes.


J. A. Zepeda-Domínguez and A. Espinoza-Tenorio

However, the lack of recognition by local authorities did not mean that communities stopped operating within their internal organizational frameworks and agreements. Currently, the regional fisheries system moves between federal-state and municipal-­traditional administration instruments. Both are known for being command controlled, typical of a centralized administration with hierarchical governance, where the authority commands to the institutions the rules that regulate the behavior of a society. Social capital is, in sociobiological terms, social resilience—the ability of a system to self-organize or to return to its original state after some extreme event. Thus, coherent with its strong cultural and territorial roots, Huave communities in HLS have chosen to perpetuate fishing as their predominant activity but have also sought alternative productive activities that allow them to remain in the region’s municipalities. The most recent project in the zone is wind energy (JuárezHernández and León 2014). The design of a Regional and Climatic Fishing Planning Agenda—with short-, medium-, and long-term goals—that includes strategies sensitive to social diversity (e.g., marginality and migration, validity of the traditional system of organization, the role of women) is an option that would facilitate the reach of social support to strengthen and democratize decision-making processes, an essential step on the road toward true sustainability of the sector. The lack of continuity in the implementation of public policies is a problem not only in the natural resources sector, but also in the entire national policy. Espinoza-­ Tenorio and collaborators (2011a, 2015) identified lack of policy continuity as a problem that has limited the consolidation of Mexican fisheries. In opposition to the lack of continuity, strategic planning exercises, such as agendas, which are used to guide informed decision making, seem to offer new possibilities for change. Nonetheless, the articulation of public policies implies the realization of specific activities by certain actors of the system. Such an articulation would favor the effectiveness and efficiency of the system. That is, it contributes to achieving the final objective and avoids the use of resources in non-priority actions. The involvement of the scientific sector in the development of these agendas allows for the inclusion of multisector and multidisciplinary criteria. The lessons that need to be reviewed in order to incorporate them into instruments that already exist in the fisheries and environmental regulations arena—which would allow this type of comprehensive exercise—are lessons that pertain to regulations (coastal, marine, or fishery) and management plans (by species or by environmental system). That is, management measures that find their legal sustenance in the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection and in the GLFSA need to be enforced. In fact, some recent strategies put into place by the federal and state governments were reached through coastal ordinances (Serrano-­ Guzmán 2001) and the management plans of the Mar Muerto lagoon (INAPESCA 2006) and HLS (Serrano-Guzmán et al. 2007). Municipal and state committees should address the problems that occur between local representatives of sectors involved. This, combined with an increased level of

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community organization within Huave society, opens the door to achieving better cooperation with governmental and civic stakeholders.

References Alcalá-Moya, M.  G. (1999). Con el agua hasta los aparejos. Pescadores y pesquerías en El Soconusco. Ciesas-Cesmeca de la Unicach-Ciad: Chiapas. Basurto, X. (2005). How locally designed access and use controls can prevent the tragedy of the commons in a Mexican Small-Scale Fishing Community. Society and Natural Resources, 18, 643–659. Basurto, X., Cinti, A., Bourillón, L., et  al. (2012). The emergence of access controls in small-­ scale fishing commons: A comparative analysis of individual licenses and common property-­ rights in two Mexican communities. Human Ecology, 40, 597–609. s10745-012-9508-1. Berkes, F., & Jolly, D. (2002). Adapting to climate change: Social-ecological resilience in a Canadian western arctic community. Ecology and Society, 5, 1–18. ES-00342-050218. Bozada-Robles, L.  M. (2008) Las pesquerías del complejo lagunar del Istmo de Tehuantepec. Istmo mexicano. Instituto Tecnológico de Oaxaca. Campos-Velázquez, R. (2016). Sonidos símbolo: una etnografía del calendario ceremonial de los huaves de San Mateo del Mar. México D.F.: UNAM, Coordinación de Estudios de Posgrado. Carabias, J., Sarukhán, J., de la Maza, J., & Galindo, C. (2010). Patrimonio natural de México, cien casos de éxito. Mexico city: CONABIO, SEMARNAT. Cervantes-Hernández, P., Ramos-Cruz, S., & Gracia-Gasca, A. (2006). Evaluación del estado de la pesquería de camarón en el Golfo de Tehuantepec. Hidrobiológica, 16, 233–239. Cheney, C. (1979). Religion, magic, and medicine in Huave society. Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers, 55, 59–73. Cisneros-Montemayor, A.  M., Christensen, V., Arreguín-Sánchez, F., & Sumaila, U.  R. (2012). Ecosystem models for management advice: An analysis of recreational and commercial fisheries policies in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Ecological Modelling, 228, 8–16. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.12.021. De la Cerda-Silva, R. (1941). Los Huave. Revista Mexicana de Sociología, 3, 81–111. Espinosa-Romero, M. J., Rodriguez, L. F., Weaver, A. H., et al. (2014). The changing role of NGOs in Mexican small-scale fisheries: From environmental conservation to multi-scale governance. Marine Policy, 50, 290–299. Espinoza-Tenorio, A. (2010). Necesidad, conocimiento y creatividad: La pesca con papalote en Santa María del Mar, Oaxaca. Cienc y Mar, XII, 47–50. Espinoza-Tenorio, A., & Reyes-Girón, A. (2010). Para que el viento no se lo lleve; el conocimiento tradicional de los pescadores huaves y zapotecas de las lagunas superior e inferior. 1, ZMT, Universidad del Mar. Espinoza-Tenorio, A., Espejel, I., Wolff, M., & Zepeda-Domínguez, J. (2011a). Contextual factors influencing sustainable fisheries in Mexico. Marine Policy, 35, 343–350. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.marpol.2010.10.014. Espinoza-Tenorio, A., Wolff, M., & Espejel, I. (2011b). Are ecosystem models an improvement on single-species models for fisheries management? The case of upper gulf of California, Mexico. In H. Dupont (Ed.), Environmental Management Systems: Systems, sustainability & current issues (pp. 269–280). Hauppauge: Nova publishers. Espinoza-Tenorio, A., Bravo-Peña, L., Serrano-Guzmán, J. S., Ronsón-Paulín, J., et al. (2012). La diversidad étnica como factor de planeación pesquera artesanal: Chontales, Huaves y Zapotecas del Istmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, México. In M.  G. Alcalá-Moya & A.  Camargo (Eds.),


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Estudios etnográficos sobre pesca y pescadores en América Latina y el Caribe (pp. 167–216). GEACES: IPN. Espinoza-Tenorio, A., Espejel, I., & Wolff, M. (2015). From adoption to implementation? An academic perspective on Sustainable Fisheries Management in a developing country. Marine Policy, 62, 252–260. Folke, C., Carpenter, S., Elmqvist, T., et  al. (2002). Resilience and sustainable development: Building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations. Ambio, 31, 437–440. Heenan, A., Pomeroy, R., Bell, J., et al. (2015). A climate-informed, ecosystem approach to fisheries management. Marine Policy, 57, 182–192. INAPESCA. (2006). Plan de Manejo Pesquero para el Sistema Lagunar Mar Muerto, Oaxaca-­ Chiapas, Méx. Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, México. Inegi. (2009). Perfil sociodemográfico de la población que habla lengua indígena. Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía. Inegi. (2015). Conteo intercensal. Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía. Juárez-Hernández, S., & León, G. (2014). Wind energy in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec: Development, actors and social opposition. Problemas de Desarrollo, Revista Latinoaméricana de Economia, 46, 178. Lupo, A. (1979). La etnoestronomía de los huaves de San Mateo del Mar. In J.  Broda (Ed.), Arqueoastronomía y etnoastronomía en Mesoamérica (pp. 219–234). Mexico city: UNAM. Lupo, A. (1999). The womb that nourishes and devours. Representations Huave of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. In B. N. Saraswati & Y. González Torres (Eds.), Cosmology of the sacred world (pp. 113–137). New Dehli: Decent Books. Millan-Valenzuela, S. (2003). Huaves. Pueblos indígenas del México contemporaneo. Mexico city: CDI, PNUD. Millán-Valenzuela, S. (2011). Pueblos indígenas de México y agua: Los Huaves, representantes de una cultura lagunar. In: Atlas de culturas del agua en América Latina y el Caribe. O’Connor, L., & Kroefges, P. C. (2007). The land remembers: Landscape terms and place names in Lowland Chontal of Oaxaca, México. Language Sciences, 30, 25. langsci.2006.12.007. Pérez-Ramírez, M., Ponce-Díaz, G., & Lluch-Cota, S. (2012). The role of MSC certification in the empowerment of fishing cooperatives in Mexico: The case of red rock lobster co-­ managed fishery. Ocean and Coastal Management, 63, 24–29. ocecoaman.2012.03.009. Ratner, B. D., Oh, E. J. V., & Pomeroy, R. S. (2012). Navigating change: Second-generation challenges of small-scale fisheries co-management in the Philippines and Vietnam. Journal of Environmental Management, 107, 131–139. Scholz, R. W. (2011). Environmental Literacy in Science and Society, from knowledge to decisions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Serrano-Guzmán, J. S. (2001). Estudio de ordenamiento ecológico para la zona costera del Istmo de Tehuantepec que favorezca y contribuya al desarrollo ordenado y racional de la pesca y la acuicultura. Puerto Ángel: Dirección General de Acuicultura (DGA-Semarnap)/Universidad del Mar. Serrano-Guzmán, J.  S., Cervantes-Hernández, P., Robles-Zavala, E., & González-Medina, G. (2007). Plan de manejo acuícola y pesquero de la zona Huave, Oaxaca. Puerto Ángel: CONAPESCA, Subsecretaria de Pesca y Acuicultura-Oaxaca y Universidad del Mar. Signorini, I. (1979). Los Huaves de San Mateo del Mar. Instituto Nacional Indigenista-Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. Mexico City: Dirección General de Publicaciones del Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. Signorini, I. (1994). Rito Y Mito Como Instrumentos de Previsión Y Manipulación Del Clima Entre Los Huaves de San Mateo Del Mar (Oaxaca, México). La Palabra Y El Hombre 90(abril-junio):103–14. Retrieved from antropologia-del-clima-en-el-mundo-hispanoamericano/. Tallé, C. (2004). Observaciones sobre la terminologia toponimica de los huaves de San Mateo del Mar (Oaxaca). Cuadernos del Sur, 10, 51–70.

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Villagómez, Y. (2004). Diversidad étnica e identidad en la llanura costera del istmo oaxaqueño. Mundo Agrar Rev Estud Rural, 4, 19. Zepeda-Domínguez, J. (2010). Comanejo pesquero en México: fortalezas y debilidades del concepto. CICESE. IPN. Zizumbo-Villarreal, D., & García-Marin, C. P. (1982). Los Huaves: La apropiación de los recursos naturales. Chapingo: UACH. Departamento de Sociología Rural.

Chapter 5

A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California Mario Monteforte and Micheline Cariño-Olvera

Introduction This chapter examines pearling in the Gulf of California, whose role in the world history of fishing, trading, and cultivation of nacre and pearl began 482 years ago. The narrative of this chapter touches on two key species: the mother-of-pearl, Pinctada mazatlanica (Hanley 1856) or madreperla, and the winged pearl oyster, Pteria sterna (Gould 1851) or concha nácar. Both are bivalve mollusks of the family Pteriidae, which comprises about 300 species, subspecies, and varieties assigned to 8 genera, Pteria and Pinctada included. There are 28–33 species and sub-levels known for Pteria and 21–23 correspondingly for Pinctada (World Register of Marine Species). Within these two genera are included what may be called “true pearl oysters”, but only 10 in total of them have had measurable influence on the environmental history of coastal areas and islands across the wide tropical-­temperate marine belt where these species are distributed In the case at hand, we have derived our data from a number of articles on the subject, most of them from our authorship. This line of research has been part of our academic interests for the past 30 years. Thus, the purpose of offering a new look at this subject is to strengthen the argument that pearling heritage has played a role in the development of mariculture farms and the conversion-diversification of fisherfolk communities in the region. Throughout this chapter, we present an analysis of the historical profile of the Gulf of California and argue that the area was formed through a dynamic relationship linking societies and pearl oysters over time. We have arranged our argument in

M. Monteforte Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, La Paz, Mexico M. Cariño-Olvera (*) Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, La Paz, Mexico © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

a chronological way, emphasizing actors and key events and focusing on the series of coincidences that led from one episode to another, from the arrival of Hernán Cortés to La Paz Bay until the application of mariculture technologies and their integration into modern coastal development schemes. In this analysis, we carry out a critical review of the processes that have had far-reaching effects on the configuration of societies in the Gulf of California. These processes, rooted, for the most part in pearling, have social and environmental implications, both regionally and globally. For example, they still exert significant effects on regional politics, as well as on the global advancement of science and technology. These processes are also tied in complex ways to market and climatic uncertainties of a global nature. In sum, our conclusion is that mariculture in the form of social microenterprise is revealed as the best alternative to achieve a sustainable state and could create a significant longue durée impact if adequate strategies for integrated coastal management are applied. This chapter is built principally upon the bibliographical background of a number of previous publications of our authorship exploring two professional avenues— oceanology and history—and a shared dream. The reader will find here abundant citations to works that provide more detailed information. The rationale for adding one more version to this body of work is to ratify a perspective on the use of natural marine resources to which we have dedicated our lives in the Gulf of California. In September 1985, when we decided to plant roots in this region, its history showed us that nacre and pearls had deeply influenced the profile of nature and societies in every period from Paleo-Indian occupation up to the present. Lessons learned from reconstructing a world history of nacre and pearl industries led us to understand the wide potential that this region had for the wellbeing of coastal communities. However, it was also evident that we would have to deal with a vulnerable and overexploited resource. Thus, our research portrays the environmental history of pearling in Baja California Sur under a broad and diverse scope of events (i.e. systematic construction of key episodes over time), focusing on multifactorial issues related to target species (socioeconomic, cultural, political, psychological, and group dynamics; scientific and technological state of the art; and more). Our objective is to offer a small-scale mariculture-based conversion/diversification model paralleling successful cases occurring in coasts and islands of the Indo-Pacific roughly at the same time, not only with pearl oysters but also with edible species. We show that in order for pearling to promote prosperity through cultivation and replenishment of pearl oysters and cultured pearl production, sectoral planning must take into account specific social groups (e.g., fisherfolk and local entrepreneurs), while also being sensible and overtly critical toward the particular trend of coastal development and environmental issues prevailing in the Gulf of California. In the next sections, we construct a succinct analysis that endorses such an approach under the lens of environmental history. To do so, we first contextualize pearling and nacre industries in a global context, offering a general review of the bioecological data on farmed and cultured pearls. Second, we offer a historical reconstruction of the human use of pearls in Baja California Sur, from Paleo-Indian times until the exhaustion of wilds stocks (circa 1940). Finally, we make use of archival research (Bruner 1991; Polletta et al. 2011) to describe the many maricul-

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tural attempts to recover the productivity of pearling assets, emphasizing the need to apply a coherent farming-based activity to an integrative scenario of sustainable use, with La Paz as a pilot application.

Pearl Oysters, Nacre, and Pearls: Thematic Framework Historical Background As said before, about ten species of true pearl oysters are considered as milestones in spatial and temporal episodes of the world history of fisheries, commerce, and cultivation of nacre and pearls. Based on several indicators (e.g., distribution, abundance, size, nacre quality, incidence of natural pearls, and quality), we have identified 11 pearling regions with historical significance (Cariño and Monteforte 2005). We have also registered and classified the fishery periods and regions based on their date of first operation, resource lifespan, and onset of pearl oyster farms and cultured pearls development . By a spatiotemporal approach, the ethnobiological role of nacre and pearls was analyzed in each region, taking into account the environmental, economic, cultural, social, political, and managerial aspects of pearling. We discovered that the exploitation of nacre and pearls over the vast Indo-Pacific seascape (broadly from eastern Africa, the south Arabian and Red seas, to Tuamotu, Kiribati, Micronesia, and Japan) ended by the early 1930s. The considerable size of the aforementioned pearling metaregion can be explained only through the lens of colonial capitalism. The material and subjective value of nacre and pearls has always been significant, regardless of species size. In strengthening the processes of accumulation, capitalism expanded at the expense of sumptuary commodities and became a remarkably strong force that enabled the opening of an incipient pearl fishery. Larger shells and pearls obviously have been preferred at all times, yet for hundreds of years every shell was useful for the enormous button manufacturing and nacre inlay industries. This changed when plastic imitations displaced natural nacre and pearls within the global market (circa 1948–1950).1 In order to envision the intensity of extraction of pearling goods (and gold, silver, luxury wood, precious minerals, etc.), consider the adornments in many Roman Catholic temples (in Latin America, Spain, Portugal, Italy), in palatial collections (e.g., Topkapi, Tower of London) and other monarchical treasures, and in personal collections of magnates and countless women, “even Mrs. Smith next door” (George 2008).  English chemist, Cameron Douglas-Castle registered a patent in the United Statesin 1906 (US809909) claiming the manufacture of “artificial mother-of-pearl” out of shell and mica powder. The know-how took several years (and enhancements) to reach commercial level while the declination of natural stocks was unstoppable. By browsing the internet databases (e.g., journals, magazines, open-access libraries, and special-interest channels such as the Gemological Institute of America and Pearl Guide), it seems that artificial marine nacre acquired presence in the market since the early 1950. Nevertheless, it is difficult to set a precise date because the industry also exploited some large naiads inhabiting continental rivers and lakes, mainly the Mississippi region (U.S.).



M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

The transition from pearl oyster fisheries to farms and cultured pearls has followed different paths in different regions over time. However, the gradual drainage of natural stocks by intensive fisheries remains a common feature in all cases (Cariño and Monteforte 2005). By the mid-nineteenth century, businessmen had been eagerly urging scientists to find a way to cultivate oysters. So did pioneers such as William Saville-Kent, Gastón Vives, and Cyril Crossland, respectively, in the Thursday/ Albany Islands, Australia; La Paz Bay, Mexico; and Dongonab Bay, Sudan. Among these researchers, only Vives (with Pinctada mazatlanica) and Crossland (with P. erythreaensis) practiced extensive culture,2 making nacre shells their most important product. Nonetheless, the added value of natural pearls was always appreciated. Vives managed a large operation at La Paz Bay from 1902 to 1914, the Compañía Criadora de Concha y Perla de Baja California (Conch and Pearl Nursery Company of Baja California, CCCP), whose annual harvests were around ten million cultured adults of P. mazatlanica (Cariño and Monteforte 1999). Vives himself commercialized in Europe the beautiful natural pearls that appeared in amazing numbers, thanks to the high density of oysters on his farm. Crossland’s farm at Dongonab Bay remained in operation for l8 years (1905– 1923), after which the Sudanese government seized the facilities and its oysters (Crossland 1931). It was smaller than Vives’s (about four million P. erythreaensis a year) and also focused on nacre shells and the eventual bonus of natural pearls. However, Crossland also produced Mabé (half-dome, or blister, pearls) in profitable amounts and quite likely assayed surgery for round pearls as well. William Saville-Kent is considered the original inventor of the so-called Mise-­ Nishikawa surgical procedure to inoculate oysters with round pearls. He did so on the giant mother-of-pearl, P. maxima, by 1892–1893 on his farm at Thursday/ Albany Islands, as validated by Denis George’s posthumous paper (George 2008). However, some do not question the Japanese origin and even relate their own versions of the story (e.g., Taylor and Strack 2008; Nagai 2013). In any case, Saville-­ Kent was not collecting spat; instead, wild adults were extracted, placed into cages or baskets suspended in off-shore systems,3 and then utilized to produce Mabé and free nucleated pearls. It was a small operation that lasted from 1890 to 1891 until his death in 1909 (George 1968). As a scientist, he was eager to share his expertise with anyone who asked (George 1968, 2008), including Tokichi Nishikawa and Tatsuhei  The Internet provides plenty of information and details about methods and techniques to cultivate shell-bearing mollusks and induce production of every kind on them, particularly pearl oysters, naiads, queen conch and abalone. Sources include manuals, pictures, slides, videos, formal publications, documents from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, vendors of surgery instruments and anesthetic compounds, specialist and not-so-specialist web pages and interest groups, and so on. 3  This modality is called “capture-based extensive culture” or “enclosure modality.” It is still used by many modern commercial farms of P. maxima in southeast Asia and northwestern Australia (the Broome-Exmouth area), usually under draconian rules (e.g., expensive fines for violating restrictions on minimum and maximum size, sites, quota, seasons, management, equipment, and so on), especially in Australia. The modality also applies to carnivorous fish ranching (tuna, skipjack), shrimp husbandry in ponds, naiad farming, and other examples. To a certain extent, the traditional management of ornamental marine species may be assigned to this modality. 2

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


Mise (Taylor and Strack 2008; Nagai 2013). The former was a young biologist recently arrived in Australia to work on Japanese fishery licenses for P. maxima. The latter was a stepson of a midlevel Japanese fishery official who undoubtedly knew about Saville-Kent working locally with the target species. Those pioneer experiences established the core of scientific and technological research in pearl culture and thus became the cornerstone of commercial pearl farms. Pioneers such as Denis George in Australia and later in Mexico4; Kasim Alagarswami and team (A.  Chellam, S.  Dharmaraj, A.C.  Victor, and others) in India; and William Reed, André Intes, Martin Coeroli, and Philippe Cabral in French Polynesia pursued the endeavor and played major roles in the initial stages of what would ultimately develop into a multimillion dollar industry. At this point, Kokichi Mikimoto’s merit would be his entrepreneurial approach to (indirect) teachings by Saville-Kent, which contends with different interpretations (Nagai 2013). Nevertheless, the milestone post-World War II report by A.R. Cahn, a U.S./Allies commissioner in Tokyo (Cahn 1949),5 may introduce further support for D. George’s statements: • Mikimoto commenced his farming operation on P. martensi circa 1890, very likely with the enclosure modality used by Saville-Kent in Australia (Nagai 2013). He produced Mabé pearls with an adaptation of the millenary Buda pearl method learned in China. Could it be that he heard about Saville-Kent and sent Nishikawa to inquire what was happening in Australia? It does not sound illogical since the young biologist was Mikimoto’s son-in-law. • Based on Cahn (1949) (e.g., historical arguments, dates and contents of patents, drawings, and descriptions of methods and techniques), Mikimoto seemingly started to employ extensive culture circa 1920. This assumption concurs with Nagai (2013), although the paper provides scarce details about culture modalities. Therefore, we believe Mikimoto could have had a key opportunity to listen/see the pictures of Leon Diguet’s publications about Gastón Vives and the CCCP (Diguet 1899, 1911, 1919) between 1920 and 1925, when he began promoting his cultured pearls in Paris, the world center of the natural pearl business at that moment (Cariño 1996a, 1998; Cariño and Monteforte 2005). How did he learn about Diguet or the CCCP? Perhaps the French greeted him with a tour of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, and someone tried to impress the visitor or a superior. It is conceivable that some of the French professors would have preferred not to divulge any information since they were aware of Mikimoto’s role and what he needed.  Professor Denis George (+ 2007) assisted in the development of a pearl farm (P. mazatlanica) at La Paz Bay from 1970 to 1972. It was the first successful project since the CCCP, but personal rivalries with government actors resulted in decommission and closure just a few days before the farmers had planned to harvest the first generation. The farm had more than 10,000 animals, each with at least a Mabé pearl. Professor George himself told us the pearls were beautiful (personal communication, May 1994). The fate of this material is unknown. 5  Cahn (1949) is a meticulous disclosure of the long-secret Japanese “pearl files” on P. martensi and the naiad Hyriposis schlegeli (endemic to Lake Biwa, Japan, and almost extinct today). This report is regarded as one of the most influential factors in the subsequent spread of pearl oyster farms based on larger species. 4


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• Vives published technical details of the CCCP until 1918, when he was engaged in (unsuccessful) negotiations with the postrevolutionary Mexican government to reinstall his work, which had been destroyed in 1914 (Cariño 1998). In 1908 a group of Japanese (sent by Mikimoto?) once wanted to visit the farm already renowned by then, but Vives did not allow them (see interviews with Vives’s relatives in Cariño 1991). Several years later, Mikimoto traveled to Paris. Since the Muséum library was already famous by then, he may have asked to include it in the tour. • In the faraway Red Sea, Cyril Crossland was doing extensive culture with P. erythreaensis (1905–1923), probably independently or based on Diguet’s papers. He published his work until 1931 (Crossland 1931), and there is no mention of Japanese visitors or communications with them. It is plausible that Crossland learned his implanting techniques (Mabé) from the work of naturalists such as Carl Linnaeus (in Margaritifera margaritifera, a large European naiad) and Louis Boutan (in Polynesian pearl oyster, P. margaritifera and European abalone, Haliotis tuberculata), both of which may have been inspired by the sight of Chinese Buda pearls brought by Marco Polo. Cahn’s report became a seminal reference for researchers and entrepreneurs. Hence, the possibilities of harvesting large species broadened the scientific and technological perspectives on pearl culture while impacting the pearl market preferences of the day. From the late 1950s to the early 1990s, the number of non-P. martensi farms (and specialized technicians) rapidly grew until thousands were located throughout Indo-Pacific coasts (Southgate et al. 2008; Tisdell and Poirine 2008; Monteforte and Cariño 2013). In 1986, the vogue reached Latin America, with La Paz Bay as its first stop. We will explain later why this date is considered important not only in chronological terms. After 30 years of experimenting and hence accumulating a robust body of knowledge and expertise, seven non-American pearl oysters (six species of Pinctada and one of Pteria, Pt. penguin, the latter still at an experimental scale) were the key species of a multimillion dollar market relying exclusively on extensive culture and cultured pearls. This market flourished from the late 1950s on and generated a large body of knowledge and practical expertise (Gervis 1991; Gervis and Sims 1992; Tisdell and Poirine 2008). For example, post-­World War II Japanese scientists had founded the National Pearl Research Laboratory, and in its Bulletin (22 volumes, 1956–1978) a large number and wide variety of studies about P. martensi were published, including those related to biotechnology, genetics, quality improvements to nacre and pearls, and other ­innovations.6 The existence of these previous lessons represented an advantage for the initiation of studies on Latin American species.

 M.H. Gervis compiled a bibliographic list containing 1227 references to a large variety of studies on pearls oysters done to that date (Gervis 1991). Except for a few cases, it does not break down the list of publications in the 22 volumes of the Bulletin. It should be noted that before 1990 the complete collection was available for consult only in situ and only in a very small number of nonJapanese institutional libraries: University of California San Diego, Library of Congress, Washington, DC (incomplete), and Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris. 6

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


Aims and Scope The Gulf of California supplied a large share of the world nacre/pearl fishery during the 400 years that followed Hernán Cortés’7 arrival to La Paz Bay (May 3, 1535). From 1937 to 1939, the effects of overexploitation rendered the pearling industry unprofitable. The Gulf of California was one of the world’s last discovered pearling regions and the last to reach overexploitation (Cariño and Monteforte 2005, 2009). Although pearling grounds at the Gulf of Panama were discovered virtually at the same time (see Spalding and Mellado, this volume), pearling there ended earlier, circa 1920 (Cipriani et al. 2008). A key factor differentiating the lifespan of pearling in Baja California Sur and Panama was CCCP’s massive contribution to stock replenishment. We are now able to sketch a standard pattern of development and evolution of the pearling industry throughout the world. Pearling begins as an aboriginal low-scale, low-technology activity, then is massively exploited by sumptuary capitalism and transformed from a rustic to a highly mechanized fishery so efficient as to overstress natural stocks to the brink of extinction. Finally, the introduction of mariculture and pearl technologies leads to conservation/management policies. Such a pattern, combined with the sociocultural and environmental histories of the Gulf of California, allows us to explain how a natural resource was transformed from food and simple ornament, initially harvested in the wild by native people, into a global commodity farmed at commercial scales.

Nacre and Pearls Through Time in the Gulf of California Nutrition and Ornaments for Indigenous Societies The Baja California Peninsula extends more than 1200  km, from about 23°N to 32°N, with an average width of 140 km. It is bordered by the Gulf of California on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. In addition to aridity, rugged terrain, and wide climatic and oceanographic variations, the peninsula has historically been disconnected (in a broad sense) from the continent. Under these conditions, its quasi-­ insularity has had a great impact on the evolution of diverse regional societies, particularly the development and evolution of Baja California Sur’s native societies: the Guaycuras, Pericúes, and Cochimíes (del Barco 1973). In their arduous process of adaptation, these groups developed multiple strategies to exploit scarce natural resources distributed throughout their territory. The regional population before the Spaniards’ arrival varied from 40,000 to 50,000 (Aschmann 1959; Bendimez 1987). These groups were nomadic hunter-gatherers limited to a harsh livelihood due to the  The “Mar de Cortés” (also Cortes, Cortéz, Cortez), also known as the Sea of Cortez, should not exist. It is a looting schema and geographically incorrect; also, each user writes it differently whether in English, Spanish, or French (see Monteforte 2008; Monteforte and Cariño 2009). 7


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

inherent constraints of their territories. Subsistence and social reproduction was possible because they had achieved deep knowledge of the environment. They practiced sustainable ways of living, e.g., obtaining different food in different seasons and areas at coastal zones and inland and never threatening the balance of ecosystems (Cariño 1996b). Seaweed and marine fauna (sea cucumbers, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, turtles, mammals, and other edibles) constituted a more nutritious contribution than foodstuffs of terrestrial origin because these species thrived in the bays and coastal lagoons of the Pacific and the Gulf and were easy for primitive, yet skilled, free divers to catch. Freshly captured mollusks were heated over embers to open the shells. Shellfish were eaten fresh or salt/sun dried to preserve for later consumption. These peoples used the shell of pearl oysters as tools and ornaments and were familiar with natural pearls. Malacological analyses of concheros (ancient shell deposits coinciding with human settlements in Baja California) have shown that size-driven selection of shells was a general norm regardless of species. People limited collection to mature adults, thus assuring that the resource would be renewed (Castellanos and Cruz 1995). It is common to find that these shell mounds contain a lesser amount of pearl oyster shells (generally medium-sized), and most of these broken. This observation suggests that these peoples used the larger and better preserved shells for ornamental and/or religious purposes. In addition, nacre and/or pearls also seem to be part of the offerings on the few burial sites found so far. Evidence has been placed under custody of the National Museum of Anthropology.

The Colonization Period (Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries) When Christopher Columbus inadvertently discovered “Las Indias” in 1492, he found groups of Caribbean-Antilles natives whose clothing was adorned with nacre and pearls of P. imbricata and Pt. colymbus. Bartolomew Columbus, his brother, exploited the natives’ diving skills to become the first pearl entrepreneur of the New World. In contrast, pearl exploitation in the Gulf of California had to wait for a series of coincidences (Monteforte and Cariño 2012). In 1534, an individual named Fortún Ximénez, pilot of La Concepción, conducted a mutiny against his captain and ran the ship aground somewhere along the southern coast of the Baja California Peninsula. Some mutineers survived and reported back to Hernán Cortés about “indianos” (Pericúes) wearing long hair braided with “beautiful pearls and large startlingly bright nacre shells adorning their bodies” (size selection of shells, that is). No doubt they also commented on how unfriendly the encounter had been because the natives had rebelled and killed some of the mutineer crew when they tried to force them to dive for pearl oysters or seize their adornments. Cortés immediately assembled an expedition, arriving in La Paz Bay on May 3, 1535. (He named it Santa Cruz Bay; Sebastián Vizcaíno renamed it in 1596.) The newly founded colony lasted only a few months. Cortés confirmed the wealth of pearl oyster beds but also reported that the land was dry and difficult to live in; it offered poor food and no other supplementary goods worthy of consideration. He finally realized that pearl oysters fishery was extremely difficult because it relied on aboriginal people, who were skilled but unmanageable.

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


For the next 170 years, there were several unsuccessful Spanish attempts to settle a colony and exploit the placeres perleros8 of the Gulf of California—an effort to develop self-sustaining explorations and map the Baja California Peninsula coast without burdening the royal treasury. The viceroyalty granted licenses for exploiting pearl oyster fisheries. In order to receive such a license, grantees had to supply navigation charts and knowledge and find a proper port-refuge for the Nao of Manila.9 These settlers would pay a quinto de perlas, a 20% tax on the value of pearls found. It is very likely that grantees intentionally undercounted their pearl production in order to evade taxation. Among well-known licensee fleets, some that stand out are Sebastián Vizcaíno’s (licensed in 1596 and 1602), Tomás de Cardona’s (1611), and Pedro Porter y Casanate’s (1640) (del Río 1985). These successive exploration and colonization efforts, along with those dedicated to the pearl oyster fishery, did not help much in broadening information about the Peninsula and its surroundings—nor the rest of the continental coast—but definitively consolidated the Gulf of California as one of the most important pearling regions in the world. By 1685, King Carlos II ordered Admiral Isidoro Atondo y Antillón to launch another expedition. In his final report, Atondo y Antillón stressed the critical impoverishment of placeres perleros as a result of intensive fishery over the past decades. In parallel, this expedition awakened the interest of the Jesuit missionary Francisco Kino, for the aridity of the land and the “pure state” of the indigenous people matched the Jesuit image of a natural paradise (Bayle 1933).

Secular Establishment (Eighteenth Century) During the missionary era (1697–1740), Jesuit friars settled missions close to the principal pearl oyster grounds and, to the great dissatisfaction of soldiers, enforced fishing prohibitions (del Río 1984). While the Jesuits’ goal was to prevent sinful (lustful) behavior and the abuse and corruption of the natives, the prohibitions indirectly increased the resilience of shell beds, giving them a respite after more than 160 years of constant extraction. Then, in 1740, Manuel de Ocio, a soldier serving at the San Ignacio Mission, challenged the priests’ authority when he received news that thousands hundreds of oysters had been cast ashore by the tide. After collecting those on the beach, he abandoned his service to the Jesuits and set out to exploit the Gulf of California central coasts so intensively that in an 8-year span the beds faced complete depletion, so de Ocio changed his interests and moved inland toward the gold and silver mines in Sierra de San Antonio (about 100 km south of La Paz),  The term placer relates to mining sites, i.e., profitable deposits of gold, silver, precious stones, or other valuable minerals. A placer perlero (pearly pleasure) is a site with an abundance of large, healthy pearl oysters and good incidence of natural pearls. 9  The “Galeón de Manila” or “Nao de China” or “Nao de Manila” was the generic name for big commercial sail-ships that travelled the transpacific route back and forth twice a year … between the Philippines and the major Mexican ports over the Pacific coast (Cabo San Lucas, South Baja California, Banderas and San Blas bays in Nayarit, and Acapulco, Guerrero). The Naos had different names (Santísima Trinidad, Nuestra Señora de Covadonga, etc.) 8


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

where he invested his pearling-derived earnings. Then he founded (1748) the first colonial establishment of the Californias, the Real de Santa Ana, leading to the establishment of the first regional economic structure. In the winter, de Ocio focused on terrestrial mining, and in the summer he turned his attention to the sea. He practiced cattle raising and commerce year-round. Since aboriginal people had been decimated by that time, de Ocio imported cheap labor from elsewhere (Yaqui Indians from Sonora; Indians and slaves from Costa Grande, Acapulco, and inland zones of what now is the state of Guerrero; and European immigrants), finally achieving the goal of colonization (del Río 1984).

 he Bourbon Dynasty and First Management Policies T (1770–1830) As a consequence of political struggles involving the Jesuits, King Carlos III endorsed Marquis José de Gálvez as Visitador Real (royal supervisor) to the north of New Spain. The new Visitador was commissioned to apply Bourbonic reforms, and evicting the Jesuits from the Peninsula was among his instructions. Gálvez promptly perceived nacre and pearls as highly valuable resources and promoted their commercial exploitation. He designed an Asian-Mexican company that would export nacre and pearls to Asia; unfortunately, the natural stock had already been depleted by the previous actions of de Ocio and other entrepreneurs (Cariño 1998). A few months after the beginning the independence movement, the Courts of Cádiz published an ordinance (April 1811) to promote the development of the Californias on the basis of prosperity from fisheries and other marine resources. The document declared pearling to be a free activity, accessible to all of His Majesty’s subjects throughout the Indies. The document also released the contracts made between armadores (owners of fishing fleets) and divers (AHPLM 1811). These decrees became legitimate when Emperor Iturbide eliminated the quinto real tax. Alas for the young independent Mexican government, the peninsular region became a burden, as it was always necessary to send support to cope with its chronic economic penury and to ensure mechanisms that could guarantee a growing population and infrastructure development. In search of solutions, the central government created the Junta de Fomento de Las Californias (Las Californias Development Commission), a special bureau to plan for rebuilding the economy and governance of these provinces. The result was a package of seven documents. The sixth document was a proposal seeking to secure trade agreements with Asia to exchange pearls, fine fish, and leather handcrafts (BNM 1828). Although the Junta de Fomento took a different approach than Marquis de Gálvez, it also placed the pearl/oyster industry at a central role as a source of regional wealth and, thus, one of the region’s most valuable assets. Since the sixteenth century, placeres perleros displayed constant cycles of abundance and exhaustion that resulted in extensive periods of rest and recovery (approximately 50 years). The former can be seen in the historical literature from the colonial era and until the mid-twentieth century—when pearl oyster fisheries had completely

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


ceased in the Gulf of California; the holistic role of nacre and pearls is constantly, but intermittently, present in the history of this region (Monteforte and Cariño 2012). In the early days of the twentieth century, pearl oysters saw a new phase of abundance so that the mirage of pearling utopia became reality when nacre shells became the principal target of fisheries in 1830. Joint incomes from armadas perleras,10 mining at Sierra de San Antonio, and commerce derived from both helped to build the first regional Marine Customs office in the region of La Paz (Southworth 1989). The city and port of La Paz became the most important pearling business center in Mexico and a world supplier of high-quality nacre and natural pearls.

 acre Shells, the Hub of La Paz Socioeconomic Development N (1830–1879) The first decades of the nineteenth century saw new commercial channels when Gulf of California nacre became appreciated and demanded in the world market. Previously, natural pearls were considered the only valued good in the pearl industry, and shells were treated as refuse to be discarded at the beach. In 1830, Cyprian Combier, a French marine merchant, used discarded piles of shells to ballast his ship and sold them in Europe (Diguet 1899). From then until 1938, shells constituted the main focus of fisheries and the main export. The new commodity revitalized the regional economy, reconfigured the socioeconomic structure, and promoted the establishment of new human settlements, mainly around La Paz. Between 1838 and 1868, about a hundred armadas perleras requested new pearling licenses (Cariño 1998; Valadéz 1963). The fleets traveled along the southwestern Gulf of California from Cabo Pulmo to Mulegé Bay, including the Gulf’s islands up to the Tiburón Basin. Native divers were able to free-dive as deep as 5–6 fathoms and remain on the bottom for up to 2 min collecting pearl oysters, repeating such immersions for a daily average of 40 times. Divers and their families were fed by their employers. These meals were considered an advance payment to their salaries. The diet was basically corn and dry meat, equivalent to one real per person per day (estimate US$0.0017). Pearling divers were supposed to pay back their food debt to the armador once the pearling season was over. They were allowed to freely sell pearls, but the armador had the first option to buy them, usually at a low price so that divers barely paid their debts (if at all) and owners kept the entire product. Eventually the pearls were sold at a high profit (Esteva 1977).  An armada was a fleet formed by a steam vessel—a brig, frigate, or sloop—and a number of small canoes. Some armadores even had pilot boats to move bulky air-compressor machines and diving gear such as scaphander helmets, canvas suits, lead plummets, long rubber hoses, and cables, plus the cabo de vida (pump-man) and crew. Generally, the armador was not proprietary of the fleet but an employee of richer businessmen. Problems among armadores and divers were frequent because the latter lived eternally in debt. In addition, paying the divers in advance for a diving season was customary, but often a number of them furtively escaped with the money and did no work. This was a pursued crime, along with the concealment of harvested pearls; this robbery was the logical consequence of low salaries and hard working conditions. 10


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Pearling activities boosted the regional economy and fostered its development throughout the nineteenth century. In the meantime, pearling became a detrimental activity for the region, as it depended on highly vulnerable and already overexploited mollusk stocks, causing a marked decline of natural beds. Aware of this decline and its impact, José María Esteva, a government delegate, applied and enforced regulations to manage pearl oyster fisheries in the Gulf of California in 1857. Although the regulations were limited to a reduction in the fishery quota (basically, the number of oysters collected), it was one of the first preservation decrees issued in modern history (Cariño and Monteforte 2005). Several laws followed Esteva’s decree in other pearling regions of the world, such as the Gulf of Mannar, India, the northern banks of Australia, and the Tuamotu atolls. A later decree (1874) divided the Gulf of California into four coastal sections and established rest periods for pearl fisheries of every 2 years. An 1878 reform increased the rest period to 4 years. Armadores rarely obeyed those restrictions and continued exploiting the pearl banks relentlessly, taking advantage of difficulties in applying the law because it depended on surveying the ever-expanding and unpopulated marine and coastal area. Surprisingly, pearling remained a profitable enterprise for a number of decades. Placeres began to show signs of exhaustion; thus the armadas became less profitable. Against this backdrop, the introduction of compressed-air diving gear was fundamental in reviving pearl companies in the Gulf of California.

I ndustrial Fishery Under the Porfirio Díaz Government (1875–1912) The arrival of mechanized diving in the Gulf of California (in 1874) reconfigured pearling fisheries by implementing concessionary policies over vast marine areas until 1912 (Cariño and Monteforte 1999). Porfirio Díaz’s presidential administration fostered economic growth by attracting foreign capital. To do so, the administration implemented new legislation that favored foreign investment and colonization. Within this new framework, natural resource exploitation concessions in Baja California were granted to foreigners and Mexicans alike. Partnerships between Mexican nationals and foreign investors were common. The whole Peninsula was fragmented into mining and pearling concessions. The granting of marine areas and their pearl grounds was a flagrant violation of the 1874 regulation that had declared these to be common access resources. Government offices received constant complaints from armadores who refused to cede fishing rights in areas where large pearling companies had obtained exclusivity. That same year, the pearling industry changed dramatically with the introduction of mechanized diving gear. Productive advances from the new technique attracted large managers and raised a new working organization in the armadas perleras. Scaphander divers could reach natural beds in deep bottoms, while chapuz (traditional free-dive) divers, soon to be displaced by the former, did so in shallow coastal areas. The licenses followed similar guidelines to those previously issued. These

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


new licenses were valid for a starting period of 16 years, later to be shortened to 10 years. The tax paid to Marine Customs was MEX$8 per ton of oysters during the first 2 years of a contract, increasing to MEX$10 afterward. The fourth clause of the contract stated rights and obligations for concessionaires to cultivate pearl oysters. However, not a single contract was canceled for breaking the law. All licenses issued to foreign concessionaires had equal considerations to those issued to Mexicans. A particular point is that the granting of a license obliged grantees to give employment and training preference to Mexican workers. The fifth clause exempted armadas from paying import taxes on some articles and goods needed in their operations. In exchange, armadas were to aid the government in dealing with smugglers. Pearling companies were forbidden to sell, give, or mortgage their license without federal authorization; these actions would render the license null. Extracting juvenile oysters and damaging marine grounds were other causes of license forfeiture. The federal government had two main goals for this strategy: conserving resources and earning money through taxes. It also counted on positive effects for the regional economy and social wellbeing. Pearling companies were supposed to give to the Secretaría de Fomento three silver pesos per ton of fished oysters to continue fostering regional infrastructure development. Yet, from a total of 26 contracts signed over 22 years, only 10 were put in operation, and only half of the operating companies, aside from the CCCP, had significant earnings. These companies were González & Ruffo Asociados (GRA), Compañía Perlífera del Golfo de California (CPGC), Compañía Perlífera de San José (CPSJ), and Compañía Perlífera de Baja California (CPBC) (Cariño 1998). CPGC, owned by Adolfo Schirabe and Edmundo Vives, Gastón Vives’s brother, worked for 10 years. Their concession comprised a portion of the eastern peninsular coast between 24°N and 29°N. CPBC was established in 1885 in San Francisco, California, with a capital investment of US$100,000 as a co-venture of a U.S. citizen, Herman Levison (55%), and Mexicans Juan Hidalgo (30%) and Maximiliano Valdovinos (15%). The concession for this company covered the entire west coast of the Gulf of California—from Cabo San Lucas to the outlet of the Colorado River, and from Acapulco, Guerrero, all the way to the Guatemalan border. The Cerralvo, Espíritu Santo, and San José Island complexes were not part of the lease because they had been granted a year earlier to GRA. CPBC had great regional importance due to its working capital and number of employees (400–500). It owned five steam vessels and numerous ships and canoes that served as much for fishing as for building a regional communication network. Under Porfirio Díaz’s regime and his policy of exclusive territorial concessions, the federal government favored the participation of rich entrepreneurs who imposed their conditions on smaller armadas. Their aim was to eliminate the access of armadores and local divers to marine resources. As a consequence, in 1893 several companies joined together to create the Compañía Perlífera de Baja California Sucesores. This new company was short lived because that same year it sold its rights to the British company Mangara Exploration Limited Co., better known as La Mangara (AGN 1899), thus giving this company almost absolute control of the Mexican pearl resources and fisheries in general.


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

La Mangara never reached its goals of establishing sites to develop pearl oyster farms and cultivating at least 10,000 specimens a year, as indicated in the contract. On the contrary, the company used devastating fishery methods such as dynamite, dredges, and trawlers, along with a quadrille of mechanized divers. Nonetheless, the government, instead of revoking La Mangara’s concession, extended it for 16 more years starting from 1916 (AGN 1905). Besides the burden of dreadful working conditions, La Mangara was accused of many irregularities, while British owners complained that Marine Customs employees failed to investigate “crimes” that harmed their interests. Despite the lack of social justice and unfair agenda of exploitation carried out by La Mangara under Díaz’s regime, it is important to underline that the policies of economic development prevailing then gave origin to the only pearling company that engaged in conservation of pearl oysters and positioned Gastón Vives as Mayor of La Paz City.

 irst World Mariculture Experience by Gastón Vives F (1903–1914) Gastón Vives is the first mariculturist of America and the first scientist in the world to achieve massive quantities of cultivated pearl oyster—P. mazatlanica (madreperla). In 1903, after several years of research, he founded the Compañía Criadora de Concha y Perla de Baja California, S.A. (CCCP), the first pearl emporium of the world first pearl emporium of the world and largest operation known to present even with modern technologies at hand. It is relevant to highlight the fascinating innovations developed by Vives’s farm, although the crucial role of Gastón Vives and the CCCP has been thoroughly described elsewhere (e.g., Cariño 1998; Cariño and Monteforte 1995, 1999, 2009; Monteforte and Cariño 2012). Hence, for the purpose of this chapter we will highlight three main points: (1) CCCP employed 16–18% of the active population of La Paz and created supplementary services; (2) Vives established the traditional three-stage extensive culture of commercial bivalve mollusks (spat collection, nursery culture, and late culture), and (3) the CCCP cultivation system at Isla Espíritu Santo is considered the largest mariculture-based replenishment source ever known. After 9 years, the CCCP multiplied its capital and became the world’s most important exporter of high-quality nacre shell and natural pearls. Unfortunately, it was targeted by looters and rioters in 1914 during the Mexican Revolution. In spite of demonstrating the results of this looting campaign before the judiciary and arguing how much the region would benefit from his company’s activities, Vives was not able to reestablish the company. Without the reproductive fitness of millions of farmed P. mazatlanica, the renewed intensive fisheries in the Gulf of California exhausted the resource in just two decades. The fate of Mexican pearling wealth had been sealed.

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


 iberation of the Pearl Oyster Fishery and Exhaustion L of the Resource (1912–1939) Although the destruction of the CCCP was a consequence of the Mexican Revolution, it was not caused by the movement itself but rather by vengeance of a bitter enemy of Vives, who, having received the grade of colonel, saw the perfect opportunity to put an end to Vives and his work once and for all. However, the greatest expression of the revolutionary movement in regards to the Gulf of California was against La Mangara. Since 1910, fishermen and armadores of La Paz led an epistolary war and a series of public protests against the company’s power and abuses. Some of La Mangara’s workers joined in and accused the company of submitting them to near slavery conditions (Cariño 1998). La Mangara retaliated against its workers, escalating the situation until June 1911, when an enormous protest against La Mangara took place. Demonstrators petitioned President Francisco I. Madero to cancel La Mangara’s licenses. In response to the popular clamor, President Madero’s first signed ordinance (May 28, 1912) was the definitive cancelation of La Mangara and its licenses. Therefore, the conflict was directed against La Mangara and not the CCCP, despite Vives’s connection to Porfiro Díaz, because even La Mangara’s plaintiffs recognized how much pearl oyster cultivation had benefited, in terms of resilience, the natural pearl beds they sought to exploit. The La Mangara concession was supposed to expire in 1932, and the owners demanded reimbursement of MEX$300,000 (they had invested MEX$150,000 initially). The fishing infrastructure and all equipment were given to the federal government and were auctioned off for a meager MEX$70,000 (AHPLM 1912). With the liberation of fishing, the people of Baja California Sur hoped for a period of prosperity because every diver and armador sought the resources that the British company had previously monopolized. The productivity of the placeres perleros survived only 22–23 years, yet this was enough to revitalize the regional economy. Conditions for approval of fishery permits remained relatively the same as those during the Díaz concessionary regime; the only requirement now was to request a legal license from Port authorities and respect regulations. Wages paid to crew members and divers of armadas also were the same or even less than those previously paid by the big pearl companies. However, workers were at last able to offer their services to any armador. Therefore, working conditions, at least in this regard, were better than before. In addition, beginning in 1913, the benefits generated by exploitation of pearl oysters were invested in the town instead of being repatriated by foreign companies, contributing therefore to increased local wealth and infrastructure. In such a way, the revitalization of pearl oyster fisheries again had an important multiplier effect in the regional economy (AHPLM 1913). Up to this time, the history of pearl oysters in the Gulf of California had been characterized by phases of collapse and recovery, revealing the underlying mechanism of a resilient cycle that worked as follows: (1) a period of natural overabundance, (2) marked declines in capture volumes, (3) suspension of pearling efforts, and, finally, (4) resurgence of shell beds after a stressor-free period.


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

Between 1884 and 1914, in spite of increased pearling efforts, the signs of placeres exhaustion were delayed. This is attributable to the fact that it was shells—not natural pearls—that were the focus of exploitation. Therefore, the extractive intensity was reduced, allowing armadas to capitalize their activity. However, the CCCP and its decisive influence in replenishing P. mazatlanica natural stocks along the southwestern coast and islands of the Gulf of California also played a key role in delaying overexploitation. In the late 1920s, after the dismantling of CCCP and the liberation of fisheries, the consequences of overexploitation became obvious. To halt this process and prevent, once again, disastrous economic consequences to the region, Andreu Almazán suggested a 3–4 year ban on pearling (AHSRE 1930). Armadores refused, arguing that free fisheries were one of the achievements of the Mexican Revolution. Thus, the victories of the people could not be suppressed, leading to increased overexploitation. By 1937–1938, divers could harvest barely 200–300 pearl oysters in a journey. In contrast, 20 years earlier, divers could collect more than 1000 pearl oysters in a single day. Vives died in 1939. That same year, a strong degradation of the placeres did not help pearl oysters overcome mass mortality. Divers discovered numerous dead pearl oysters lying on the bottom of the Gulf of California, their valves opened. Folk stories attributed this phenomenon to Japanese sabotage. Allegedly, Japanese pearl entrepreneurs managed to poison the waters in order to eliminate competition from the Gulf of California. A more plausible explanation for mass mortality could be oceanographic oscillations in salinity, temperature, oxygen, pH, and nutrients. These oscillations, atypical in nature, may have been a consequence of the construction of upriver dams (Hoover in 1936, Imperial and Parker in 1938). These dams on the Colorado River reduced the fresh water and terrigenous material input into the system. Agriculture spills (pesticides, fertilizers), El Niño/La Niña events, red tide, starvation, and/or opportunistic infestations (parasites, fungi, bacteria, etc.) may have contributed to increased oyster mortality. These alterations undoubtedly impacted other species. However, because of their importance to economic prosperity and regional identity, it was the decline of pearl oysters that was most frequently reported. Finally, in 1940, the federal government declared a permanent ban on pearling (DOF 1940; Estrada 1977). The ban was specific to P. mazatlanica, although it included Pt. sterna to a certain extent.11 Nevertheless, this measure was ineffective at eliciting recovery. Clandestine and tolerated fisheries did not cease until all actors were faced with the disappearance of nacre and pearl mines. It was necessary to wait out several decades of accumulated and successive failures to demonstrate that the model carried out by Gastón Vives could be emulated only by working as he did—engaging in research on the environment, biology, and ecology of targeted species and integrating technological mastery with perspectives on sustainability and social integration.  The decree of 1940 established mother-of-pearl (Pinctada mazatlanica) as a species “in danger of extinction.” Its status was changed in 1994 to “under special protection.” None of these decrees underlined Pt. sterna but its commercial fishery is rather illegal. However, both species are extracted somewhat clandestinely on a small scale for shell artcrafts and immediate consumption in snack stalls, particularly Pt. sterna, which is called “callo de árbol.” On occasion, they are part of the fisherfolk’s lunch during fishing journeys or become souvenirs for irresponsible tourists. 11

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


 he Winding Pathway to Redeem the Pearling Potential T in the Gulf of California First Scientific and Commercial Attempts (1939–1988) Between 1939 and 1988, the growing value and success of pearl farms in other regions of the world triggered about 20 known pilot farms around La Paz Bay aimed at reviving pearling. However, the CCCP remained the most feasible model to ensure sustained and sustainable production of pearl oysters. Table 5.1 presents a compilation of these projects. A series of variables was constantly present in pilot farms, which may explain their failure and successive abandonment: • Lack of knowledge about the bioecology of native species and their physiological response under culture management and pearl induction methods • Application of inadequate methods and techniques (imported and/or adapted) unsuitable for the native species and local environment • Lack of attention to development of culture techniques that would foster repopulation (The focus was on producing cultured pearls using wild individuals.) • Other obstacles: changing national or local government actors and policies, financial shortfalls, logistical complexity, rivalry among actors and groups, etc. Few of these projects performed assays of extensive culture, and even fewer had positive results. Among the 20 projects, only one assembled hatchery and larval culture tests yielding promising results (Table 5.1). The remaining projects prioritized pearl production using the meager wild population, an unaffordable supply if taking into account the steep learning curve of untrained technicians and impatient entrepreneurs. Japanese experts who handled the species for the first time were involved in two major fiascos that resulted in the extraction and subsequent killing of thousands of oysters at La Paz Bay and its surroundings (Table 5.1). This accumulation of failures provoked immediate rejection of any proposal involving pearl farms as an axis for regional development. On the contrary, the buoyancy of white shrimp and edible oysters took over and, along with the efforts and funding for scientific and technological research, monopolized the investment flow for mariculture development. We faced a somewhat related experience in 1986 at the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas de La Paz (CIB) when presenting yet another pearl oyster proposal before the General Director, Dr. Daniel Lluch-Belda. Nearly 2 years of independent experiments on pearl oyster cultivation finally rendered reliable proof of applicability. Professor Lluch, perhaps worn down by our insistence and probably swayed a bit by a handful of juvenile oysters grown on the experimental farm, decided to endorse the project. The first pilot was placed in the sea in April 1988 with a meager MEX$30,000 budget granted by the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). The Pearl Oysters Research Group (GOP) was formed, and students were incorporated into the team (although none under official hire). Thirteen successfully concluded projects were sponsored over the next 15 years by national and international agencies. CONACYT granted us research funding on two


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

Table 5.1  Projects related to pearl oyster management (culture or other) and pearl production in the Gulf of California, 1939–2016 Actors Y. Matsuii, Mexico-Japan agreement

Date, location Actions 1939, La Paz Bay Prospecting for natural beds; and Loreto Bay pearl culture assays on wild individuals

Secretaría de Pesca 1961–1962, La (Mexico) Paz Bay

Assays of spat collection and extensive culture

A. Martínez (CRIP, 1962, La Paz Secretaría de Pesca, Bay, Loreto Bay, and nearby Mexico) islands

Prospecting and transplants

1969, La Paz Bay Denis George (Australia), agreement with the Secretaría de Pesca 1970–1971, La M. Díaz-Garcés Paz Bay and A. Gallo (Mexico); trained by D. George in 1969

Spat collection and culture (Mabé and round pearls in wild individuals)

1979, La Paz Bay Shoei Shirai and K. Sano (Japan), Agreement with the Secretaría de Pesca (Mexico)

Prospecting for natural beds and sites; attempt to install a pearl farm; assays of pearl culture in wild individuals

1976–1978, La Delegación de Paz Bay Acuacultura de Baja California Sur (Mexico)

Assays of extensive culture

Yamamoto and K. Sano (Japan), “confidential” agreement with private group in La Paz Jaime Singh (CRIP-BCS, Secretaría de Pesca, Mexico)

Extensive culture and Mabé implants

1979–1980, La Paz Bay

Pearl culture in wild individuals

1981–1982, La Paz Bay

Assays of extensive culture; pearl culture in wild individuals

Observations Very scarce natural populations. Large mortality postsurgery. Project abandoned Results not satisfactory. Project cancelled after changes in government actors Populations in alarming state of exhaustion. Barely acceptable results on transplanting. Project abandoned Great mortality and rejection postsurgery. Promising results on extensive culture Good results, but the commercial initiative did not progress because of political rivalries. Project abandoned with a large economic loss Deceiving results concerning abundance of pearl oysters. Great mortality and rejection postsurgery. Project abandoned Acceptable results. Project abandoned because of budget shortfall and administrative shifts Scandalous failure. Ransack of natural beds. Expensive installations were abandoned and later pillaged Good results overall. High mortality postsurgery. No pearls (continued)

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


Table 5.1 (continued) Actors Manuel Mazón (CRIP-BCS, Mexico)

Date, location 1987, laboratory in CRIP, La Paz

1988, Los Fernando Bückle, CICESE, Ensenada Ángeles Bay, northwest Gulf (Mexico) of California

Grupo Ostras Perleras (GOP/ CIBNOR)

1988–2002, La Paz Bay

ITESM (Perlas del Mar de Cortéz)

1995–2017, Bacochibampo Bay, Guaymas

Ingeniería y Síntesis (assisted by GOP/CIBNOR)

2002–2004, La Paz Bay

UABCS (Perlas del 2001–2017, La Cortéz) Paz Bay Fisherfolk cooperatives assisted by M. Monteforte

2009–2015, La Paz Bay

Actions Hatchery studies in P. mazatlanica

Extensive culture studies on Pt. sterna; some assays for round pearl induction

Research on science and technology applied to extensive culture and pearl production in P. mazatlanica and Pt. sterna Apply standard extensive culture on Pt. sterna; employ local manpower and interact with students Pilot microentrepreneurship; extensive culture of P. mazatlanica and Mabé

Observations Gonad conditioning and larval growth and survival were acceptable. No fixation. Project abandoned Excellent results in extensive culture only. Project interrupted and abandoned because of budget shortfall, administrative constraints, and vandalism First harvest of high-quality Mabé pearls in April 1992. Certified technology in 1998 Single farm producing round pearls on Pt. sterna

Harvest of 1500 high-quality Mabé. The project did not continue because of the entrepreneur’s personal reasons Extensive culture of Pt. Smaller than the farm sterna at Guaymas. Harvest is only Mabé so far Polyspecific extensive Excellent results. culture; special devices tested Project abandoned due to issues of group dynamics

occasions after that. Our research findings have been published in scientific and academic media, notably Monteforte12 (2005, 2013) and are available online. The research program comprised a series of sequential studies (Table  5.2) on fundamental components of extensive culture and management, with La Paz as a model scenario. Four objectives were pursued: (1) to become familiar with oceanographic parameters and their variations, along with general characteristics of the study area—currents, geomorphology, and geolocation of propitious sites; (2) to characterize spatial, biological, ecological, and bioenergetic profiles of wild popula Contains a compilation of the certified package of extensive culture and pearl production of P. mazatlanica and Pt. sterna. 12


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

Table 5.2  Principal study subjects on the extensive culture of pearl oysters performed by the Grupo Ostras Perleras (GOP) in La Paz Bay, 1987–1997 1987 1988 1989 Resource prospecting M, M, M, C C C Oceanography Evaluation of sites



M, C M, C M, C M, C M, C M



Ecology of spat collection Chronological distribution Vertical distribution Tests for substrates Tests for collectors Nursery culture General assays Sites Depth


1990 1991 1992 M, M, M, C C C M, C C

M, C M, C


Density Duration Artifacts

M, C

M, C


M, C M, C M, C M

M, C M, C M, C M

M, C M, C M

M, C

M M, C M, C

Late culture General assays Sites






M, C

M, C

Ecology M = P. mazatlanica, C = Pt. sterna


1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 M, M, M, C C C M, C M, C M, M, C C M, M, C C M, M, C C M, C C C

M, C M M

M, C C

M, C C

M, C

M, C

M, C

M, C M, C M, C M, C

M, C

M, C M, C

M, C

M, C

M, C

M, C

M, C

M, C

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


tions and how individuals would respond to extensive culture management and pearling manipulation, (3) to evaluate a number of strategies to ensure availability of healthy adult pearl oysters and maintain a productive source, e.g., ad hoc location of farms and sites to install repopulation cells; and (4) to promote a network of social microentrepreneurships as an alternative livelihood for vulnerable groups, based on social services, socioeconomic prosperity, and sustainable management.

Toward Modern Science and Technology (Twenty-First Century) Some colleagues in the pearling guild may consider the Pearls’94 International Congress and Exposition (Honolulu, Hawaii, May 1994) as a milestone in pearl oyster farming and cultured pearls in Latin America. The paramount contribution of this event—besides bringing together renowned scientists, farmers, jewelers, and pearl world VIPs (mostly non-Japanese)—was the exposition area, where huge displays of culture material added further information to 5 days of top-notch conferences and vibrant interactions (Fassler 1994). Monteforte and Cariño presented nine papers on behalf of the GOP. These papers touched on different aspects leading to a successful pearling culture in La Paz Bay from 1988 to 1993. These aspects included clear-cut proficiency as to how native pearl oysters should be managed in extensive culture conditions, as well as preliminary results on cultured Mabé and round pearls. Coincidentally, some Mexicans from the Instituto Tecnológico y Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM, Guaymas campus) and the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS, La Paz) also attended the event and learned a lot. Later, each group installed its own farm, Perlas del Cortez and Perlas del Mar del Cortez, at Guaymas, Sonora, and La Paz, respectively. The former was launched in 1995– 1996, while the latter required several attempts before formally starting operations around 2001. Remarkably, both companies display the same orthographic issue (Cortés …es, éz, ez), and their location/name is often mistaken or misinterpreted in real-estate and tourist promotions (Monteforte and Cariño 2009). Both farms work on extensive culture of Pt. sterna and produce Mabé jewelry, with the slight difference that the one in Guaymas achieved commercial production of beautiful round pearls by 1999 (Douglas MacLaurin, personal communication), while the other has continued with Mabé production and has diversified its production toward nacre-­ based cosmetic and dermatological products. Aside from the GOP and the two Mexican companies mentioned above, a quick review of other commercial and/or scientific initiatives in Latin America following Pearls’94 shows that most were one-time unsystemized projects of short duration. The GOP continued its research program at La Paz Bay, introducing improvements and innovations and producing a substantial number of publications and dissertations. By 1999–2000, nearly 75% of the post-CCCP literature about P. mazatlanica and Pt. sterna had been published by GOP students and alumni in collaboration with us (Monteforte 2005, 2013). In the meantime, the farm at Guaymas acquired notoriety thanks to strict quality control on oysters (Pt. sterna) and pearl production,


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

as well as effective marketing strategies. The front office of ITESM, a private university, had detected the value of this technology, so it gave the entrepreneurs—and continues to do so—full support. In fact, the ventures at La Paz received similar attention from their sponsor institution, the UABCS and its campus facilities at Port Pichilingue, but the level of production, marketing strategies, and image design have not been as successful as those of their private counterpart. GOP received attention from private national and foreign investors, who, for the most part, preferred enclosures as a pearl-producing modality. These proposals were rejected by the researchers in charge. In addition, CIB’s administrative system was not equipped to deal with the few investors, let alone the foreign ones, that were interested in true farming (only three Mexicans and a United States group). In the mid-1990s, neoliberal policies were fully adopted in some research centers that had the means to transfer technology, such as the CIB (Rodríguez-Araujo 1990; López-Zárate 2008). The Mexican government decided to establish rules on academia–entrepreneur associations. Until that time, these associations had been based on somewhat marginal agreements with knowledge-holders, principally those able to generate technologies with potential for investment. Special departments were established in several institutions, whose mission was to identify those technologies, seek a means of controlling them (institutional propriety, patents), and attract private entrepreneurs, whether national or foreign. The Mexican government’s regime for science and technology funding also experienced marked reforms. For example, financial channels were centralized, and associations with third-party partners were required to supply matching cash, operating costs, payments for expert services, and a share of future benefits. Similarly, the creation of the National System of Researchers in 1984 opened a supplementary source of income to elected members, based primarily on the number of publications per year (especially in foreign journals) and number of advised students (preferably at the post-graduate level). Such associations with wealthy private partners became an add-on that was economically rewarded. In 1994, CIB adopted the name of Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), and its appointing office, the Dirección de Gestión Tecnológica, willingly adopted the neoliberal model proposed by the national science bureau. Since the social perspective at the basis of the GOP model had remained a constant objective, we opposed what we considered privatization of public knowledge and expertise in detriment of coastal fisherfolk cooperatives. In response, in 1995 we founded an independent corporation named Perlamar de La Paz, whose purpose was to mount a permanent fundraising campaign in order to carry out outreach programs to support and transfer techniques, knowledge, and capacities to fishing cooperatives and to manage communitarian farms along the lines of the one implemented in French Polynesia since the late 1960s by the Group d’Intérêt Économique (Cariño and Monteforte 2005; Tisdell and Poirine 2008). Perlamar was a dissident initiative; it challenged the radical conservationism imposed by environmental policies and exposed the lack of interest in community development, thus raising a topic that annoyed authorities, who advised us to cease. Perlamar was closed in 1997 before ever having effectively commenced. The GOP was dismantled, and some of its graduate students moved into academic employment

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


elsewhere in Mexico or at CIBNOR, being absorbed by the establishment. A positive consequence was that, finally, studies devoted to pearl oysters were now considered a CIBNOR priority. However, this was not without significant modifications, i.e., biotechnological research was now aimed at publishing results in peer-­reviewed journals and, due to wealth-generating value, graduate dissertations were crafted in a sort of fast-track mode. Some outside experiments to improve and perfect key details of extensive culture and pearl production were still carried out by us (see Monteforte 2005, 2013). These experiments relied on polyspecific-integrated modalities based on other edible native bivalves and marine ornamental species (Monteforte and Cariño 2011; Monteforte et al. 2017a; Ivanova et al. 2017) and development of abalone pearl culture (Monteforte and Bervera 2010). It is worth mentioning that there is a gender-oriented abalone pearl microentrepreneurship underway on Natividad Island (Monteforte et al. 2017b). Especially as regards P. mazatlanica and Pt. sterna, the mastery of main components and walk-through strategies for management/production scenarios had been largely defined by 1996 (Monteforte 2005, 2013). An external prospection on the premise above may clearly highlight a neoliberal approach to science and technology policies (Rodríguez-Araujo 1990; López-Zárate 2008). As time went on, rural and coastal communities gradually found more obstacles, principally of financial nature, that hindered their access to productive alternatives. The most direct consequence of this trend, was the diminishing of funds for community-based productive projects and the strengthening of requirements for concurrent investment. Fewer academicians were willing to commit to developing outreach programs, which are severely underrated in institutional establishment. Additionally, outreach programs involve endless bureaucratic processes. These programs also place researchers in the middle of academic marginalization, conflictive intergroup dynamics, vandalism, complex governances, and more. While progress with special studies on P. mazatlanica and Pt. sterna continued after 1986, substantial advances also accumulated relating to similar species (see Southgate and Lucas 2008). Soon the Internet and software tools provided new methods of science dissemination, access, and information sharing. In parallel, the Pearl Myth (Monteforte and Cariño 2012) acquired a sense of technical feasibility, thereby attracting a good number of entrepreneurs, even though nacre and pearls have turned into simple objects of trade in a modern, ruthlessly competitive and saturated sumptuary market (Tisdell and Poirine 2008; Monteforte and Cariño 2013). In fact, the mid-1990s pearling economic peak has decreased quite rapidly as a consequence of excessive supply, low prices, Chinese pearls, and the global crisis in general (Tisdell and Poirine 2008; Monteforte and Cariño 2013). The creation rate of new farms has dropped sharply; nonetheless, new farms are still occasionally seen, although with less frequency and generally of short duration. For example, as recently as 2010–2013, ventures of extensive mariculture and cultured pearls on P. imbricata and Pt. colymbus were implemented in the Gulf of Cariaco, Venezuela, and Cozumel Island, Mexico. Interest is also seen in Acapulco and Huatulco, both on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and especially Peru have not underestimated their pearling potential, and some studies—still scarce and discontinuous—have been carried out. Furthermore, British Columbia, California, New


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

Zealand, Mexico, and Chile show substantial advancement in abalone pearl culture, and this appeal is attracting abalone farmers from Spain, France, and South Africa. In addition to achievements on cultured pearls, farmed species now include several pearl-producing mollusks like queen conch (Strombus gigas), lion paw scallop (Nodipecten subnudosus), red thorny oyster (Spondylus princeps), giant turban (Megastraea undosa), and the nacred top-shell (Trochus niloticus), among others. Embedded in these developments are two events that induced a particular change in the prospect of sustainable pearl farming. First, the Guaymas pearl company had been lobbying for a proposal to regulate pearl oyster farms and cultured pearls in Mexico and to declare them exclusive reserves for cultivation purposes, among other measures aiming at conservation and protection, correct management of oysters, and care of pearl quality standards. The promoters managed to gather support within the Mexican pearling guild and among other interested actors (e.g., entrepreneurs, government, and pro-conservation civil associations) so that the proposal achieved its goal in 2013 (DOF 2013). The decree states that farmers must collaborate with government offices (SAGARPA/CONAPESCA, PROFEPA, SEMARNAT)13 in periodic surveys and must provide reports of their farming activities, along with a thorough description of their harvests. It also precludes fisheries and import-export of rootstock and underlines strict measures related to the transport and/or exchange of native larvae, juveniles, or adults in Mexico, even between neighboring farms. However, the decree fell short of establishing the patrimonial strategic value of proprietary methods and techniques. This topic was neglected in various workshops held to develop the document, assuming that professional ethics would prevail.14 Second, beginning in the early twenty-first century, a conservationist upsurge in Mexican environmental policies and social sectors, in parallel with enforcement of fisheries regulations, created a gap between fisher cooperatives and the areas and/or species that previously provided a fishing livelihood (e.g., Natural Protected Areas,  SAGARPA: Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación. CONAPESCA: Comisión Nacional de Pesca y Acuacultura. PROFEPA: Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente. SEMARNAT: Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. 14  The gap in these patrimonial rights was exploited by Chilean academics and entrepreneurs in 2004–2005. They were assisted by a Mexican specialist in an unsuccessful trial of hatchery and/or extensive culture and production of pearls in Pt. sterna. This species’ latitudinal range usually extends north and south its normal distribution in the Panamic province due to temporary effects of El Niño/La Niña phenomena and/or anomalies of climate change. A subsequent, yet indirect, consequence of this gap was the swift introduction of abalone broodstock and foreign experts in Chile during the early 1970s—Haliotis rufescens (from Baja California) and H. discus (from Japan). In the former case, the expert also was Mexican. The outcome was the development of abalone farming in Chile on an industrial scale within a few years. Therefore, the coincidence of interests in cultured pearls and again Mexican assistance—now in abalone pearls—led to a logical expectation of profitability and the crafting of a tailor-made patent issued in 2015, which was restricted to Chilean jurisdiction in order to control knowledge related to a prosperous Chilean industry. Behind this patent lies two factors: (1) the inefficiency of patenting agencies in situations that are on the cutting edge of cloning and (2) plagiarism of deliberately uncited state-of-the-art sources, regardless of the high visibility of top-positioned sources in popular Internet browsers and academic databases (Monteforte and Bervera 2010; Monteforte et al. 2017b). 13

5  A History of Nacre and Pearls in the Gulf of California


Marine Reserves and Parks, Biosphere Reserves, and special labels for some of the species that make up the small-scale or artisanal fishery). In theory, these policies included maricultural activities, although eligibility criteria have been inadequately addressed, giving preference to high-impact projects as a means to attract investment at all cost (Monteforte 2008). As a combined effect, fisherfolk became marginal actors in the middle of fast-­ changing scenarios aimed at propelling megaproject expansion over coastal zones (Gámez and Ángeles 2010), sacrificing, as a trade-off for development, coastal small-scale fisheries. Either way, fisherfolk are required to submit to the one-sided guidelines of diverse programs of rational fisheries. Accordingly, conservationism (e.g., protection/vigilance against clandestine fishing or mistreatment of sites, cleaning and maintenance, control of biological invasions, environmental education, etc.) is applied to charismatic ecosystems, such as areas under legal status. Temporary agreements (subventions and temporary employment) are often used by megaproject developers to convince fishers to stop their activities, while private, small-scale ecotourism entrepreneurship is allowed. Sometimes, targeted groups may engage in activities related to replenishment of and caring for culture stock (e.g., endangered and/or key commercial species), wherein government and/or academic institutions supply laboratory-reared seed and husbandry training.

 ariculture-Based Social Microentrepreneurships: Potential M and Challenges GOP/Perlamar laid down a principle of community-based microentrepreneurship and untiringly pursued the integration of fisherfolk cooperatives, beginning with La Paz. After GOP was dismantled, we continued with that endeavor in a personal way. We did so before action by any of the currently involved entities, i.e., federal/state bureaus in charge of productive social development, civil associations, local entrepreneurs, and international foundations. Commitment from involved parties was limited, despite the alleged social focus of these entities. In addition, the cost of mariculture projects in Mexico, even small-­scale projects, exceeds the budgets of most social governmental programs, which are more commonly directed toward temporary social programs that serve to boost the image of officials. Any mariculture process needs time to reach equilibrium and a further period to become profitable. This is especially true in the case of large, slow-­growing species, such as local pearl oysters and cultured pearls (Monteforte 2005, 2013). Naturally, fisherfolk need financial backing to sustain mariculture until the first harvest. A workable plan should consist of a system of rotating teams in accordance with the different stages of cultivation, considering that the traditionally inefficient tradeoff between fishing and conservationism could be used more productively. The initial assumption of Indo-Pacific-style community-based socioeconomic prosperity—based on pearl farming—had to be adapted to the modern market. It must be realized that economic prosperity based solely on pearl production is no


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

longer realistic, even in the short term (Southgate et al. 2008; Tisdell and Poirine 2008; Monteforte and Cariño 2013). For the past two decades, many small pearl farmers have gone bankrupt and been forced to close their businesses. A small number of these farmers still manage to barely survive. With this in mind, a broader diversification of pearl farms was conceived. This new concept was aimed at tackling polyspecific cultivation by incorporating edible bivalves and ornamental marine species. Prototype systems, intentionally rustic, were successfully tested in real conditions. The project was submitted in response to various requests for proposals, mainly from CONACYT. However, there were few opportunities to integrate rural/ coastal people because they were required to offer matching funds and to cover expenses that were beyond their economic capabilities. Furthermore, regular funding from federal agencies such as SAGARPA and its bureau, CONAPESCA, is seldom available, and their budget is insufficient for projects of such a scale. However, on two instances we managed to obtain small amounts of funding to purchase at least some of the much-needed equipment and materials. At the same time, we promoted our plan in meetings and workshops with fisherfolk cooperatives in order to identify and evaluate conditions overall. We acknowledged that fisherfolk almost always were ready to participate, but in many cases few, if any, printed reports had resulted. These projects generated few effective results, while funds seldom were sufficient to achieve the announced objectives. This, in the long run, has caused great mistrust on the part of these groups toward promoters (government, academics, civil associations, and other special interest groups) and supposedly sustainable projects (Awortwi 2012; Bennett and Dearden 2014). In 2011, CONACYT issued a call for technology-based projects that were reasonably designed for rural communities. We submitted our new model, and it was funded with MEX$3 million. Two fisherfolk cooperatives partnered with the project on the assumption that they would work well together. Although the rules established that, as in all federally funded projects, beneficiaries had to raise matching funds and afford operating costs, we decided to undertake the venture since several local actors (e.g., state and municipal governments, entrepreneurs, and NGOs) had made a commitment (some written, others with a handshake) to contribute funds. The required amount was no more than a government official might spend on a shopping travel to US or Europe. However, unfortunately, as frequently happens, local actors did not honor their commitment. As a result, CONACYT canceled the project. Nonetheless, we were able to utilize a small part of the budget to launch the project, thanks to the fact that it complemented the previously acquired equipment and material. Unfortunately, old feuds between the senior presidents of the two cooperatives unleashed conflicts that hampered the development of our work. Finally, the project was abandoned and left afloat in the sea. The installations were vandalized, and the project ended with simple, throwing overboard a few thousand survivors of the approximately 40,000 bivalves—about nine species in total—including nearly 15,000 young adults of Pt. sterna that were contained in the installations when top advances had been (attained, accomplished, achieved) in those generations. Bringing together these two cooperatives was a mistake, as psychological factors and group dynamics were not detected until it was too late. As Perkins

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et al. (2002) put it: “Psychological factors point to what motivates individuals to participate in particular settings and behaviors, how to maintain that participation, and how those motivations and behaviors interact with various setting and organizational characteristics to promote effective social capital.” In addition, administrative issues related to aquaculture licenses were a roadblock, as licenses are given to a single cooperative and cover only its territory, even if two projects are contiguous, exactly the same, and directed by the same expert. This policy creates the need for two costly licenses and two copies of a bulky file differentiated only by the name of the project’s beneficiary and the shape or location of the working area. Arguments about optimization of labor, material, and financial resources were ignored. Other variables also impacted the system; for example, the cultivation site is part of the Balandra-Merito Natural Protected Area, and some of the targeted species are under some level of protection (e.g., P. mazatlanica, Pt. sterna,15 the lion paw scallop [N. subnudosus], and various fish and invertebrates identified as ornamental). However, the site’s aquaculture permits had been issued before the formal declaration of the natural protected area. In fact, our research in CIBNOR has been carried out in that location since 1988, including parallel studies by other colleagues and students (e.g., recruitment of cryptic fish and invertebrates, cultivation tests with hatchery-reared edible oysters and scallops, and others, along some oceanographic research). Ultimately, these issues should have been a minor problem; we always stressed that repopulation would be carried out and that natural populations would not be touched. The farm itself was seen as a source of larval dispersal, like the CCCP. Nonetheless, this experience showed the laxity of bureaucratic officials and a clear manipulation of federal resources.

Discussion and Conclusions Pearl oysters are particular assets in the environmental history of the Gulf of California across social, cultural, and political processes over time. The material and subjective value of nacre and pearls has gone beyond their role in the precarious economies of indigenous people, leading to the justification for intense fisheries in search of luxury goods. The processes involved in this particular environmental history are sociohistorical, multifactorial, and multicomponent. In specific moments, pearl production implied a true breakthrough in scientific and technological development around the cultivation of oysters and production of pearls. In many senses, the history of pearling has been analogous for all pearling regions, although fundamental differences stand out in geographical context (anthropological ecology, cultural frameworks, policies, marketing frameworks, configuration of actors, etc.). In addition, methods and techniques used in the extensive culture of pearl oysters— including pearl induction—are essentially standard, although each farmer may develop generally minor adaptations or innovations.  The decree on pearl oyster farming (DOF 2013) did not change the status of “special protection” for P. mazatlanica established in 1994, and, in fact, explicitly extended protection to Pt. sterna. 15


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We have presented the global evolution of nacre and pearl fisheries toward commercial farms as a holistic process that transformed the hazards of overexploitation of natural beds by equally overexploited divers into a more social and highly profitable activity based on small-scale mariculture farms, stock replenishment, and skilled, well-paid technicians. As a matter of fact, the modern pearl world is one excellent example of equitable gender roles in sustainable community-based ­models, wherein women are often incorporated equally with men in the entrepreneurial and cooperative structures that control pearl farms and marketing channels (Cariño and Monteforte 2005; Monteforte and Cariño 2013; Tisdell and Poirine 2008). Therefore, the chronological narrative analyzed in this chapter should lead us to place the pearling history of the Gulf of California in a global context, where key dates and events have given shape to 482 years (1535–2017) of coincidences that include a band of mutineers, the CCCP, a Director’s signature, and Pearls’94, among other events revisited in this chapter. Upon closer examination, the history of fisheries in this region ineluctably reveals the strong link between periodic cycles of resilience and resurgence of the Pearl Myth, finally transitioning to a technological enterprise in the late 1980s. Key to this chapter are the roles of P. mazatlanica and Pt. sterna as native assets. A set of cumulative episodes demonstrates why the presence of these species is considered a natural vocation, as much for their influence during the era of colonization and fisheries as for the approach to farms and cultured pearls. Throughout this chapter, the changes that occurred in environmental and socio-­ cultural systems were analyzed from many points of view, not just chronologically. We also take into account behavioral and psychological profiles of human actors, set against the backdrop of fluctuating profitability of pearl fisheries. The trend of pearl oyster mariculture and cultured pearls that took place in La Paz Bay and the succeeding transmission to other commercial ventures and/or studies in Mexico and Latin America may have taken a different direction if the CCCP had not been forced to cease operations or if the policies related to science and technology had allowed more coherent strategies, rather than limiting access by marginal communities such as fisherfolk cooperatives. At the structural basis of the peninsular history of small-­scale fisheries in general there has been a gradual, yet clear, shift from nacre and pearls in the Gulf of California to highly prized edible species in the Pacific (e.g., lobster, red crab, abalone, sea urchin, sea cucumber, giant snail, lion paw and Catarina scallops, and a variety of sport-fishing fish). In fact, fisherfolk cooperatives inhabiting the Pacific coast of the Peninsula have several advantages that allow them to be more prosperous than others on other Mexican coasts (Alcalá 2011; Tovar-Lee et al. 2015). It may be uncommon in the academic literature to find authors that write about themselves and practice extensive self-citation. We cannot help it. Destiny placed us in this history book, and this topic has been engrained in our livelihoods for the past 30 years. Perhaps our professional development may be counted as a form of regional asset insofar as it has led to systematic research and technological developments that provided valuable information to modern commercial ventures and/or efforts that eventually became profitable, specifically in pearl microentrepreneurship. Even if these ventures are more in line with private interests than with regional development, at least they can be considered to be environmentally sustainable.

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Thus, this chapter recognizes that environmental history—from a global to regional view—has to be understood as a significant constituent of community behavior and human interactions in general. What should be valued here is the strong historic nativeness of community capital (environmental, geographical, socioeconomic, political, cultural/group, knowledge/psychological) (e.g., Barbier 2007; Emery and Flora 2006; Glowacki-Dudka et al. 2013; Matarrita-Cascante and Brennan 2012; Perkins et al. 2002). This chapter has examined circumstances that shaped this case study in real-time conditions and discussed their effect on the evolution of fisheries and the culture of nacre and pearls in the Gulf of California. We explained what construct was followed, and why this construct was chosen, to draw interpretive conclusions that would ultimately serve to envision opportunities to activate community capital from technology-based social microentrepreneurships. An unanswered question remains: how to balance the criteria used to measure the relative level of prosperity through the lens of capacity-building actions. This implies the consideration of productive projects, such as mariculture, within concepts of conservation and sustainability that must address the need for coherent strategies designed to integrate vulnerable communities into the rigorous dynamic of coastal development models. It is recognized that coastal fisherfolk compete among themselves for scarce ecosystem services and resources. Competition is far more disadvantageous when fishers face more powerful actors. Privatization of a valuable common resource such as the coastal-marine interface by real-estate enterprises, luxury resorts, commercial and sport fisheries, over-conservation, and industrial mariculture has been associated with unequal policies and high socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural costs in exploited regions, such as the Gulf of California. In addition, despite the fact that the twenty-first century offers the latest scientific and technological upgrades, the principal stakeholders have demonstrated their incapability (or unwillingness) to conceive ideal project designs (Wallerstein 1998). This situation is reflected in the present state of stagnation and deterioration that characterizes Mexican mariculture, as well as other activities related to coastal management, including considerable evidence of the exhaustion of numerous species by unplanned and excessive fisheries. In mariculture, conservation-oriented approaches to the management of ecosystem services and the application of sustainable technology to alternative frameworks for regional coastal development rarely align with the interests of decision-makers, stakeholders, or science and technology entities, including those in the private and governmental sectors. It is not surprising that the generation of knowledge in the fields of sustainable management and landscape and natural resource conservation—as well as the proactive promotion of sustainable technology—has been cornered into models and requirements whose implementation is under the control of powerful groups, often influenced by external demands. Therefore, “Mar de Cortés” applies not only to the geographical Gulf of California (Monteforte and Cariño 2009; Gámez and Ángeles 2010), but also to the general trend in selected coastlines around Mexico (e.g., Vallarta, Cancún, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Huatulco, and many others). In this model, society obtains few positive outputs; benefits accrue to a few privileged sectors, while less privileged sectors of society receive few, if any, benefits. Among the deleterious consequences currently seen in many


M. Monteforte and M. Cariño-Olvera

coastal areas are the private monopolization of territory and the consequent concentration of wealth; the deterioration of environmental services and quality of life; and the ­irregular pattern of institutional, local, state, and national development plans that rarely converge to meet real local needs. Some sectors have raised clamor against pushing up the pressure on environmental and global factors in detriment of wellbeing. It is remarkable, for example, to see the creation and expansion of nongovernmental organizations dedicated to community development, conservation, and sustainable planning and the increase, in number and extent, of natural protected areas. In 2005, a World Heritage designation was awarded by UNESCO to the islands in the Gulf of California. In 2006, SEMARNAT published the Programa de Ordenamiento Ecológico Marino para el Golfo de California (Cariño and Monteforte 2008), wherein low-impact mariculture was identified as the best option for coastal zones that have not yet been irrevocably affected by deleterious development plans. However, the implementation of congruent and functional strategies, such as sustainable mariculture, needs participation of many responsible actors. This participation, in its simplest form, should go beyond the interests that exist in coastal areas themselves and should address the inertia of the complex policy system. There is no choice but to succeed in establishing a proactive criteria that would allow for an integrative and conservationist social vision, leading to a general improvement in the quality of life for the communities inhabiting this space. The previous framework has not changed much since 1986 when we started to work in La Paz Bay. The establishment of a community-based pearl-farming organization in French Polynesia had demonstrated since the 1970s the enormous benefits of applying science and technology to enhance the natural vocations by increasing socioeconomic wellbeing and environmental conservation from a productive perspective. However, at the turn of the new millennium, we may expect unavoidable changes in the Pearl World, resulting not only from technological advances but also from the expansion of pearl farms in developing countries. The future version of the world Pearl Myth will face the modern harmful development models of coastal and mariculture management as well as the demands of a growing society in need of survival alternatives that, most of the time, do not fit the definition of sustainable management. In that sense, and agreeing with principles of sustainability (notably those related to food security, self sustainability, and a solidarity economy (Toledo and Ortiz-­ Espejel 2014), it is evident that the extensive culture of pearl oysters and pearls has complementary links with edible mollusks and ornamental marine species. In either case, the activity represents the best alternative to achieve the resilience of many commercial species that have seen their numbers diminished in the wild or have nearly disappeared. Therefore, the idea of social-based mariculture (small-scale farms or social microentrepreneurships, gender-oriented or not) should debunk the traditional Pearl Myth of boundless short-term wealth, which is no longer realistic. This complementary input from polyculture modalities does not pretend to be a millionaire business; on the contrary, it is directed at supplying reliable and viable technologies to target groups and a means to acquire valuable skills through a process of conversion/diversification and training, as well as increased awareness of conservation and care for the environment.

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It is important to not forget that the glamor of nacre and pearls always will be grounded in sumptuary markets; hence, the products represent a significant add-on to the financial outline of polyculture modalities. At the bottom line, the activity should generate decent income for fisherfolk and their families. Only then will we be able to understand how to conceptually and pragmatically approach resilience in one of the most significant natural resources in the history of the Gulf of California. Hopefully, this time, the shine of pearls will not feed greed. Instead, it should feed deep sustainability.

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off the Baja California Peninsula Pacific coast, Mexico. Meeting of the World Aquaculture Society, Latin American and Caribbean Aquaculture (LACQUA 2017), Mazatlán, Mexico, November 7–10, 2017. Nagai, K. (2013). A history of the cultured pearl industry. Zoological Science, 30(10), 783–793. Perkins, D. D., Hughey, J., & Speer, P. W. (2002). Community psychology perspectives on social capital theory and community development practice. Community Development Society Journal, 33(1), 33–52. Polletta, F., Bobby Chen, P. C., Gardner, B. G., & Motes, A. (2011). The sociology of storytelling. Annual Review of Sociology, 37, 109–130. Rodriguez-Araujo, O. (1990). Neoliberalismo, crisis y universidades en México. Nueva Sociedad, 107, 145–163. Southgate, P., & Lucas, J. (2008). The pearl oyster. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Southgate, P., Strack, E., Hart, A., Wada, K.  T., et  al. (2008). Culture of major species. In P. Southgate & J. Lucas (Eds.), The pearl oyster (pp. 303–356). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Southworth, J.  R. (1989). Baja California ilustrada. La Paz: Gobierno del Estado de Baja California Sur. Taylor, J., & Strack, E. (2008). Pearl production. In P.  Southgate & J.  Lucas (Eds.), The pearl oyster (pp. 273–301). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Tisdell, C., & Poirine, B. (2008). Economics of pearl farming. In P. Southgate & J. Lucas (Eds.), The pearl oyster (pp. 473–496). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Toledo, V., & Ortiz-Espejel, B. (2014). México, regiones que caminan hacia la sustentabilidad. Una geopolítica de las resistencias bioculturales. Puebla: Universidad Iberoamericana. Tovar-Lee, N., Lluch-Cota, S., & Urciaga, J. I. (2015). Subdesarrollo en las localidades pesqueras del Municipio de La Paz, Baja California Sur. Región y Sociedad, 28(63), 127–154. Valadéz, A. (1963). Temas históricos de la Baja California. Mexico: Editorial Jus. Wallerstein, I. (1998). Utopistics: Or historical choices of the twenty-first century. New York: The New Press.

Chapter 6

Oysters from Tide to Table in the Pacific Northwest Lisa L. Price

Introduction Oysters are mollusks classified as bivalves (having a shell in two parts held together by a hinge). They make their own shells by secreting calcium, among other substances, from their glands (Gordon et al. 2001). There are more than 200 species of oysters worldwide. The scientific nomenclature of the two genera, Ostrea (flat oysters) and Crassostrea (cupped oysters), is based on the shape of the shell. Oysters live in brackish and saltwater bays, estuaries, and tidal creeks (Fig.  6.1). When oysters reproduce, they spawn tiny larvae that freely navigate the water column until they find an appropriate habitat and structure on which to settle, generally oyster shells. Ultimately oyster reefs are formed. Once the larvae permanently attach to a surface, they are known as spat (NOAA 2017). Oysters perform valuable ecosystem services such as regulating. Oysters have gills and are filter feeders. As they extract phytoplankton from the water, they take in large quantities of seawater (about 20–30 qt per h) and in the process purify the water that passes through their gills. Additionally, they play a provisionary and cultural role, as they are a component of culinary traditions in many places around the world (Grabowski et al. 2012; White et al. 2009; Wikfors 2011). However, because oysters are filter feeders, pollutants and pathogens present in the water are also extracted during the feeding process. Oysters may accumulate these substances and become potentially harmful to human health if consumed (Kuhnlein and Humphries 2017; White et al. 2009). Oysters are made safer for human consumption through the common practice known as depuration in the contemporary oyster farming industry. This procedure removes moderate amounts of contamination, including bacteria. Once harvested, oysters are put into purified saltwater tanks. The oysters naturally filter this sterile

L. L. Price (*) School of Language, Culture, and Society, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



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Fig. 6.1  Hama Hama estuary, Hood Canal, Washington. Source: Wyoming Aero Photo, Rita Donham photographer

water through their system and thus flush themselves. This process is approved by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and tends to be a government-­ regulated process and food-safety measure since oysters are consumed uncooked in many countries (Lee et al. 2008). North American oysters include only two species of true oysters: the Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida), occurring along the Pacific coast, and the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), occurring along the Atlantic coast, from the St. Lawrence River to the Gulf of Mexico (Kuhnlein and Humphries 2017). Oysters live in estuaries with various levels of brackishness and minerals, which flow into estuaries along with river water (Jacobsen 2010). O. lurida was an important food source for many west coast Native American tribes. This species ranged from southeast Alaska to Baja California. Individuals are quite small, reaching only 1–1.5  in. in diameter, about the size of a U.S. quarter. They grow mainly below the mean low tide and are most easily gathered when the tide is out (Fig. 6.2). Oysters were extensively incorporated into the diets of coastal indigenous peoples of both the northwest and northeast coasts of North America. They are a low-­ calorie food but an excellent source of vitamin A, B12, and minerals, along with noteworthy amounts of calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc (Jacobsen 2008). Peoples of the northwest coast, including the Twana of Puget Sound, Coast Salish, Nootka, and Tlingit populations, are noted collectors and consumers of oysters. The gathering techniques are similar across the Northwest (Batdorf 1990; Kuhnlein and Humphries 2017; Moss 1993; Suttles and Lane 1990). Oysters were traditionally

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Fig. 6.2  Ostrea lurida. Source: Oregon State University

gathered from tidelands by hand or with the use of a pry and were deposited into large, open-weave baskets for removal (Kuhnlein and Humphries 2017; Moss 1993). In most areas of the world, shellfish are collected primarily by women. In the Pacific Northwest, Native American women were the main shellfish collectors. However, men also engaged in this activity, and in-depth knowledge of shellfish ecology has not been solely the domain of women (Moss 1993).

The Olympia Oyster Business The richest areas for the harvesting of Olympia oysters in the Pacific Northwest have been Willapa Bay (called Shoalwater Bay until 1890) and the Puget Sound of Washington (Fig. 6.3). Willapa Bay is an estuary with a long beach strip and is relatively shallow. Every tide carries about half the bay’s water out and back in again, and a number of rivers empty into the bay. The Puget Sound is a large body of water and is part of the Salish Sea. It is a complex system of interconnected marine waterways and basins that join the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. While native commerce predates white settlement, the surge of European settlers in the mid-1800s ushered in an intensive commercial oyster extraction industry. The heart of the industry on the southern Puget Sound centered on the town of Olympia. The popularity of the native Olympia oyster and growing consumer demand stimulated intensive large-scale extraction. The economic value of commercial harvesting in northern California and parts of Oregon, in addition to Washington, ultimately brought O. lurida to the brink of extinction. By 1915, the harvests of Olympia oysters from Willapa Bay were negligible. The southern Puget Sound fared somewhat better,


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Fig. 6.3  Western Washington showing the Puget Sound and Willapa Bay. [Source: Kris Symer, University of Washington Puget Sound Institute, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife]

with some harvesting continuing into the 1940s, but polluted water from pulp and paper mills eventually played a large part in the decline of the Olympia oyster stock. Ultimately, commercial yields of O. lurida in Washington fell by about 98% between 1881 and 1961 (White et al. 2009). The Olympia oyster was not only central to the diet and culinary traditions of the indigenous populations of the Northwest but also central to the culinary delight and entrepreneurial fortunes of many others in these decades of the Olympia oyster industry (Gordon et al. 2001; Groth and Rumrill 2009). The earliest large-scale shipment of Olympia oysters was from Willapa Bay. Schooners loaded with oysters headed steadily for San Francisco starting in 1850. At the time, San Francisco was a boom town due, in part, to the 1849 California Gold Rush. Fresh oysters were available only from the west coast and fetched a premium price in San Francisco: a plate of Olympia oysters sold for about US$20 at the time. According to the U.S. inflation rate, US$20 in 1850 was equivalent to US$602 in

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2017 ( Fresh Olympia oysters were a symbol of wealth, prosperity, and celebration (White et al. 2009). Given the extraordinary prices oysters were fetching, oyster piracy increasingly flourished as government restrictions, oyster business monopolies, and privatization of oyster beds increased. Piracy occurred on both the east and west coasts of the United States, and Jack London was a notable oyster pirate in the San Francisco Bay area in the latter half of the 1800s (Kershaw 1999). Oysters were also a common request for a last meal of those condemned by law to die for their crimes (White et al. 2009). One such account follows: In 1862 occurred the hanging of “The Frenchman,” a notorious gambler of Eastern Oregon who poisoned his partners. As a last gesture he entertained the sheriff and deputies and a few other important citizens at an oyster supper, then rode to the gallows sitting on his coffin (Oregon Writers Project 1939:66).

In 1855, the U.S. acquired tideland by treaty with northwest tribes. At this time, oysters were already being harvested by white settlers in the Washington Territory. Between this time and 1873, oyster beds were worked based on squatter rights. Settlers also worked as middlemen and not in direct harvesting. An 1868 account identifies one white male merchant who purchased oysters from Native American women to resell to restaurants around the Puget Sound (Blankenship 1923). At low tide, the oyster flats were dotted with Native women digging oysters, which, according to Blankenship (1923:85–86), “they traded in town for stale bread and old clothes.” Oystermen also married Native women, but women in the history of this early era of the oyster business remain in the shadow of their businessman husbands. This was the case with Katie Kettle Gale, who was born in 1856 and died in 1899, a Coast Salish women who cofounded a successful oyster business and ultimately took over from her Euro-American husband (de Danaan 2013). This was also the case with the Olympia oysterman Charles Brenner’s marriage to Annie Brenner, who was Squaxin. Annie took over the partnership with Charles’s brother J.J. Brenner when Charles died in 1901. The wives were partners with their husbands in this historic business, now known as the J.J. Brenner Oyster Co. (Justia 2017). Documents from the Washington State Archives attest to oyster beds being passed on through bills of sale. In 1889, however, when Washington became a state, the state constitution asserted state ownership of tidelands and invalidated territorial laws (Patterson 1987).

 arly Commercial Oyster Harvesting, Processing, E and Management Early commercial harvesting of oysters in Oregon and Washington was done by small-scale harvesters who were also sellers, primarily Native women. Harvesting moved to a larger scale as white settlements grew, expanding into markets in California as well as Oregon and Washington. Laborers hired to do the harvesting and processing work included Native American tribal members and, increasingly in


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Fig. 6.4  Man with scow at Oyster Bay, Vancouver Island (1940–1943) [Source: City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 586-811, photographer Don Coltman, Steffens Colmer Studio Ltd

the mid-twentieth century, Asian laborers (primarily Japanese). Labor in commercial harvesting was dirty, physically demanding work and often dangerous. In a process similar to that used today, the harvesters positioned floating wooden scows (flat-bottomed rectangular boats used for transporting cargo) over the oyster beds at high tide. When the tide receded, they shoveled the oysters into the scow. When the tide came in, scows floated again and the men poled the oyster-filled scows to culling houses (Fig. 6.4). Oyster production from the 1880s into the 1920s included diking in an attempt to replicate tide pools. As recounted by Bill Taylor, a fourth-generation Puget Sound oysterman, the state of Washington allowed the ownership or leasing of tidelands, and the dikes were built on privately held tidelands (Fig. 6.5). The practice was to collect native oysters from common areas and deposit them in one’s own privately held artificial tide pool. Two or three inches of water remained in the tide pool covering the oysters. The oysters were kept there until they reached a marketable size (Walsh 2009). Qualman (1983), an oysterman working in Willapa Bay since 1933, says the belief existed that oysters would appear naturally on any diked land. This reveals a lack of understanding about the reproductive biology of oysters. The oystermen in the early to mid-twentieth century also ground up and used oyster shells in chicken feed or discarded them rather than returning them to the water. Today, however, oyster shells are used as a foundation in oyster cultivation. The successful farming of oysters relies upon successful settlement of larvae onto a selected substrate—typically other oyster shells, where the larvae ultimately build on each other and form oyster reefs.

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Fig. 6.5  Two workers from the J.J. Brenner Oyster Company shown constructing oyster bed dikes at Trotten Inlet, Thurston County, Olympia Washington (September 1910) [Source: Catakig UD # 1943.42.19963. Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Washington]

J.J. Brenner opened an oyster-processing plant in 1893 in the town of Olympia, Washington, on the south Puget Sound. Other companies with processing facilities followed. These facilities were built on stilts over the water so that boats could pull up and unload the oysters directly at the processing facility. Oysters were kept in submerged containers if not processed immediately. The J.J. Brenner Oyster company was, as of 2017, still in the hands of the Brenner family and was still being run by the fourth generation. What follows is a description of oyster harvesting and processing by J.J. Brenner in 1908: The much-sought bivalve is raked from its bed by tongs, and all sizes, ages and kinds are thrown in a heap at the bottom of a float. From this they are gathered into piles for assortment, the cull and young oysters being thrown back upon the beds, and the marketable oysters put up into bags containing 151 pounds each. After the oysters are gathered, sorted and sacked they are shipped to Olympia; where they are turned out to the openers to be shucked and put up for the market. They are opened into quart measures and placed into pans to be washed. They are then put up in tubs, pails and cans and shipped (Thurston County Oyster Industry 1909:143 cited in Echtl 2013).


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The East Coast C. virginica Goes West The decline of the west coast oyster industry, which depended on the indigenous Olympia oyster (O. lurida) stimulated attempts to farm the oyster indigenous to the Atlantic coast (C. virginica) in Pacific waters. These efforts were undertaken in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. According to one account, oysters arrived by train and were put out when the weather was still cold in early spring; they were harvested for sale during the fall and winter (Walsh 2009). C. virginica was farmed from San Francisco to the Puget Sound. Seed oysters were also purchased from the east in the hope that the Atlantic oysters would become established in western waters. The farming of the Atlantic oyster did not last long. This was partly because Atlantic oysters did not reproduce well in the cold Pacific temperatures (Gordon et al. 2001; Jacobsen 2010). Additional factors thought to have contributed to the demise of the Atlantic oyster are the virulent “red tide” Willapa Bay experienced in 1919 (the native Olympia oyster seed was unharmed) or the overharvesting of adult oysters in 1918 (Gordon et al. 2001). Time to maturity was also a complicating factor, as Atlantic oysters take three years to mature. Around 1920, the interest in cultivating C. virginica was replaced by interest in the Asian oyster Ostrea gigas. These oysters were large, took only 18 months from seed to maturity, and began to reproduce in Pacific Northwest waters.

Ostrea gigas: Japanese Immigrants in the Oyster Industry Most oysters grown and eaten on the west coast of the United States are no longer the Olympia oyster or the imported Atlantic oyster, but the Pacific oyster (O. gigas), which has conquered the oyster industry and the tables of common folks and connoisseurs alike. The first O. gigas were brought to the United States in commercial quantities from Japan in 1919. The earlier sporadic attempts made between 1902 and 1919 by fishermen of Japanese descent living in Washington and British Columbia had little impact. Success was achieved only when it was observed that young oysters attached themselves to the shells of adults that had died after the trip from Japan. These young oysters survived, grew, and reproduced. Natural oyster sets were found in Ladysmith Harbor in British Columbia in 1925. It became clear that by 1920 the Olympia oyster was being replaced in Washington with the introduced Pacific oyster. In Canada’s British Columbia, the first significant importation of O. gigas from Japan was in 1925 (Bourne 1979; Chew 1979). The Pacific oyster was also introduced to Mexico, but much later, in 1973, from oyster seed purchased from Lumi Indians in Washington (Levoie 2009). The importation of Pacific oyster seed from Japan to Washington peaked around 1955 and then tapered off, with the final shipment occurring in 1977. Catches of oyster seed from Hood Canal increasingly became a practice of Washington oyster growers and were notable in 1964, 1969, and the 1970s but failed in 1975 and 1976. At this time, it became clear to

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oyster growers that they needed a reliable supply of seed, and the business of remote setting blossomed in 1977 and 1978 (Chew 1979, 1988). E.N. Steele (1964) recounts the importation of O. gigas from Japan to Washington: Two young Japanese men, by name of J. Emy Tsukimato and Joe Miyagi, were busy making plans which involved the destiny of these oyster seeds in Japan. These young men had both been residents of Olympia, Washington. They had both been educated and graduated in the public schools in Olympia. Joe had earned his way through school mostly by acting as house boy for one John C. Barnes and family in Olympia; whenever he had spare time he had worked as an opener for the J.J. Brenner Oyster Company. J. Emy Tsukimato, commonly known as “Emy”, had earned his way through school by opening Olympia Oysters. Both boys had worked with oysters on the beds on Oyster Bay near Olympia during summer vacations. This writer knew both of them very well. They had not been out of school long until they began to have dreams of transplanting oysters from their native land to the waters of Puget Sound. Being familiar with the conditions both in Japan and in Puget Sound they felt that such transportation would be successful. They secured information concerning water temperatures, salinity of the water and other things pertaining to the requirements of oysters both from Japan and in Puget Sound. They knew that the food supply for oysters was abundant in Puget Sound from their own experience with the Olympia oyster. From all information gathered they concluded that they would go ahead and bring over a sufficient quantity of seed to make it not only an experimental test but sufficient to start the development of an industry. During several summers, Joe and Emy made a study of the oyster land both in Puget Sound and other bays such as Quilcene Bay, Samish Bay, and Willapa Harbor. Naturally, they were limited to areas where Olympia Oysters did not exist. After this study was completed they decided that Samish Bay, near Blanchard, Washington, about sixteen miles south of Bellingham, was the most suitable place. The Pearl Oyster Company owned approximately 600 acres upon which they had previously grown Olympia Oysters. Next these boys organized a company to join them in this venture. Mr. M. Yamagimachi, who was a partner in the Jackson Fish Company of Seattle, who operated a retail store and handled sea foods, was first to join them. Then five others joined. This made a total of eight in the company. They elected J. Emy Tsukimato as president of their partnership. By this means a sufficient amount of money was raised to pay for 400 cases of seed from Japan, and to buy the 600 acres of oyster land from the Pearl Oyster Company. They made a down payment and entered into a contract to purchase. A case of seed means a box of a certain size and shape suitable for export use, and holds about 2 bushels. The seed was purchased and packed by the Japanese Oyster growers. It was then placed on racks which were covered at high tide and left until they had become thoroughly soaked. They were then placed on deck of an American ship, the President McKinley, covered over with Japanese matting, and watered down with sea water to keep them cool during the voyage. During the voyage, which took approximately 16 days, they were kept drained by pumping sea water over the matting. Thus, these oysters became immigrants. They had to pass inspection before entry, by the United States Custom officers in Seattle. The oyster seed was then taken by scow to Samish Bay and scattered or planted on the oyster beds they had purchased. The oysters began to grow rapidly within a few days after they were placed in the water. This indicated that the waters were suitable and the oyster food plentiful (Steele 1964:1–2).

The ongoing efforts to import seed oysters undertaken by J. Emy Tsukimato and Joe Miyagi continued to be successful. However, after the passing of a Washington state law in 1922 that restricted ownership or leasing of lands by aliens, their company was forced out of business, as they were of Japanese ancestry. Their oyster lands and plant were purchased by E.N. Steele, who later named the company the Rock Point Oyster Company. Emy Tsukimato became an employee of E.N. Steele


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and made subsequent trips to Japan for Pacific oyster seed to ship to Washington. There is some evidence that sympathetic whites often only technically owned an operation or land, acting as a front for the Japanese business while employing the Japanese de facto owner (Cook 2001). This could have been the case with E.N. Steele and J. Emy Tsukimato, as Tsukimato stayed in the business with Steele. However, their exact arrangement is uncertain (Steele 1964). The situation of J. Emy Tsukimato and Joe Miyagi with regard to the loss of their oyster business due to the Alien Land Act was also reflected in other racist laws, as well as acts of physical violence against Asians, such as the brutal anti-Chinese mob riot of 1886 in Seattle (Dougherty 2013). The anti-Asian sentiment that was growing in the western states fed these laws, which targeted Chinese and Japanese immigrants and were meant to eliminate the possibility of citizenship, property ownership, and overall economic entrepreneurship. This was further exaggerated during World War II (Lyon 2014; Steele 1964). The Alien Land Acts in Washington and many other states were invalidated in 1952, when remaining alien land laws were found unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Sei Fuji v. California. This ruling determined that forbidding aliens from owning land was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause (Lyon 2014). This discrimination, coupled with the expansion of oyster harvesting and processing businesses requiring a larger and regular source of labor, was one reason many people of Japanese ancestry worked in both harvesting and processing rather than as oyster farming business owners. A number of early photographs state that people in the photographs can be presumed to be of Japanese ancestry (Figs. 6.6 and 6.7). Native American labor was replaced by Japanese labor in oyster work. The 1900 census includes Japanese, Chinese, African Americans, and Native Americans living in the state of Washington. Caldbick (2010) provides a breakdown of the 1900 census population by racial classification and sex (Table 6.1). World War II saw the removal of skilled Japanese oyster workers to a relocation center under the War Relocation Authority. In addition, no O. gigas oyster seed was imported from Japan during the war. The Alien Land Act and World War II Japanese internment camps can be viewed through the life of the oysterman Eiichi “Jerry” Yamashita, born in Seattle in 1923. Jerry’s father came from Japan in 1900, became a seafood importer in the oyster seed business, and worked leased tidelands adjacent to the Rock Point Oyster Company owned by E.N. Steele. Given the Alien Land Act, Jerry’s father probably had an informal arrangement or was officially an employee “manager” of the Rock Point Oyster Company. Yamashita’s father was also engaged with those who set up the seed cooperative with Japan. Jerry Yamashita started working with his father at the age of 13. When World War II came, Jerry’s father was arrested in 1942 and the business was put on hold. Jerry lived with his mother and siblings in the Tule Lake Internment camp during the war. After the war, Jerry Yamashita went back to being an oysterman growing oysters on the Puget Sound. He purchased tideland in 1946 and established the Western Oyster Co. on the Puget Sound; he is still listed as the owner of this business (Manta n.d., B58). As of this writing, Mr. Yamashita is in his 90s, and Yamashita’s Henderson Inlet oyster farm was purchased by the Nisqually Indian Tribe in 2010 (Jacobsen 2009).

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Fig. 6.6  Oyster opening room of the J.J. Brenner plant. Several men and women who appear to be Japanese sit on stools at the counter opening oysters (1910) [Source: Catalog ID # 1943.42.19970. Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Washington]

Fig. 6.7  Oyster Harvesters. Two men standing in a bay at low tide, shoveling oysters to place on a wooden scow (photograph dated between 1900 and 1940) [Source: Catalog ID # C 1950.8.6 Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Washington]


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Table 6.1  1910 Census data on race for Washington state (Caldbick 2010) White Japanese 1,109,111 (97.12%) 12,929 (1.13%) Negro Chinese 6058 (0.53%) 2709 (0.24%) Ratio of men to women in the various racial categories:  Chinese: 1325.8 males for each 100 females  Japanese: 665.9 males for each 100 females  Negro: 160.9 males for each 100 females  White: 136.3 males for each 100 females  Indian: 99.6 males for each 100 females

Indian 10,997 (0.96%) All other 186 (0.016%)

Note: Racial classifications used in the census are: White, Negro, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and All Others. The “All Other” category consisted of “161 Hindus, 17 Filipinos, and 8 Koreans”

Al Qualman (1983), an oysterman from the town of Oysterville on Willapa Bay, Washington, and later Coos Bay, Oregon, recounts that the oyster seed merchants were Japanese and provided his oyster seed. He states that his two main contemporaries in the seed business for Pacific oysters (O. gigas) were Mr. Tsukimato and Mr. Yamashita, who were business competitors (Qualman 1983). The Qualmans moved to Coos Bay, Oregon, from Willapa Bay, Washington, in 1927 for the good tidelands and established the Qualman Oyster Farm for Pacific oysters. The business grew steadily except between the mid-1930s and the war years. By 1949, Qualman’s business of farming Pacific oysters was well established and successful. Olympia oysters were not present in Coos Bay, although there is evidence they were in the past, given the massive shell deposits of O. lurida. A small, self-sustaining population was documented in 1997 (Groth and Rumrill 2009). Selected oyster production terminology, as defined by Qualman (1983), is found in Table 6.2. The Coos Bay Qualman oyster business is still in the hands of Qualman’s descendents. Alfred Qualman was born in 1904 and died in 1993 (Oregon Encyclopedia 2017; Qualman 1983).

Eating Oysters: A Taste of Place The French term terroir is used to denote the combination of environmental factors, such as climate and soil, and cultural practices that form the environment and, ultimately, unique qualities of wine, both in taste and aroma. Terroir is vital to the official French designation of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), which guarantees that a given wine is from a particular and legally defined geographical origin (Clarke 2003). This designation serves to protect the livelihoods of producers from being undermined due to product identity infringement and assures consumers of the qualities to expect from their purchase. The term meroir was coined in The Seattle Times in 2003 by the food journalist Greg Atkinson and oyster promoter Jon Rowley (Culinary Central 2015). This refers to the taste and texture of oysters and is based on the water environment in which

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Table 6.2  Selected oyster production terminology as listed and defined by Qualman (1983, adapted) Bateau Bed Case Clutch Dredging Larvae Live box Opening house Owners Picking Seed Seed ships Set Shucking Spawn Spotting Tide flat Tonging

A small, shapely barge that tows well Where oysters lie while growing to maturity A 2-bushel box of Japanese oyster seed Anything put into the water to catch swimming larvae Dragging a toothed bag across the bottom to scoop up oysters An oyster egg that has been fertilized and begun to swim. Larvae swim 2–3 weeks before setting. A slatted box suspended in water in which crabs, clams, fish, or oysters can be kept alive Where oysters are shucked and packed in raw form As distinct from working oystermen. Owners own the oysters and usually also the land on which they grow. When a barge or bateau is placed in a strategic spot and the tidewater drained away, oysters can be picked off the ground into baskets or directly aboard a vessel. As we use the term, any object with spat on it that can be used to seed a bed These carry little other than boxes or cases of seed from Japan Swarms of larvae attaching to clutch Same as opening When the entire body mass of an oyster turns from solid meat into sexual material or gonads, we call it “in spawn.” Putting a barge or other oyster-carrying craft in such a place as to be able to load it at low tide, when oysters are conveniently close Area left to dry during low-tide periods. The lower the “runoff,” the more land is bared. Oysters can be brought aboard with tongs while the barge or boat is still afloat and able to move.

they are found: “… the concept of meroir recognizes the existence of specific and unique properties and functions of a certain area of the sea (various aspects of the water column as well as the topography of the sea bottom) which contribute in giving whatever grows there its special flavor” (Meroir or Merroir? 2013). Most oysters sold today are commercially cultivated. There are five species of oyster cultivated commercially in North America and a wide selection of different “varieties” (Jacobsen 2008). There are 150 oyster varieties of these 5 species in North America, with 81 of these coming from the Pacific Northwest, including Vancouver Island, Washington (Puget Sound, Hood Canal, Washington coast), the Oregon coast, and California. Since oysters take on the flavor of the water they’re grown in, there are many subtle differences in flavor. These differences are commonly reflected in the place of origin, with the place of origin now often included in the varietal name. Even if the place of origin is not in the name, the water body where an oyster grew out is almost always known. Ultimately, the name of the variety provides an indication of both taste and place as a local specialty and live food “product.”


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The species cultivated in the Northwest include (1) Ostrea lurida, the Olympia oyster (the only oyster native to the west coast of North America); (2) C. gigas, the Pacific oyster; (3) C. sikamea, the Kumamoto oyster (Kumamotos are always labeled as such, although some places also specify where they are from); (4) C. virginicas, the Atlantic oyster; and (5) Ostrea edulis, the European flat or Belon. While the location where an oyster was raised is vital to its taste profile, each of the five species has its particular characteristics (Jacobsen 2016, 2008; Levoie 2009). The eating qualities that are identified in varieties of oysters are perceived in three stages, according to oyster connoisseur Jacobsen (2008). When consuming a raw oyster, the first quality the eater experiences is salinity, a result of the fact that oysters are filter feeders and grow in environments ranging in salinity from 12 to 26 parts per thousand. Oysters low in salinity can taste rather flat, according to Jacobsen. Too much salinity can be overwhelming. Once past the salinity, texture and level of chewiness come into play, with chewing releasing a “sweetness” (Jacobsen 2008:48). The third phase identified by Jacobsen (2008:48) is what he calls “the finish.” This last impression is what lingers on the palate after consumption and often has a floral or fruitlike taste. Pacific and Kumamoto oysters are known for a fruity melon or cucumber taste. Olympias are metallic and smoky. European flats are boldly metallic. The eastern Atlantic oysters taste of salt and minerals without fruit. In addition to metallic, smoky, or fruity taste at the end of consuming an oyster, many other qualities are also used to describe the meroir of oysters. The attributes used can include species, variety, harvest location, growout method, flavor influences, and flavor profile (Chef’s Resources Inc. 2017). Others also classify the “presence” (how the oyster presents itself), such as the shell hue and shell flourishes (Jacobsen 2008). The online resource for chefs also uses the term appellation for oysters and has an extensive index of oyster varieties by region for North America (Chef’s Resources Inc. 2017). In the context of the United States, the unscrupulous sell their oysters from outside a particular growing region under a popular name, since there is no legal recourse to protect a geographic name. Brands and trademarks, however, have legal protections (Element Sea Foods 2016). When oysters are presented to the public, their origin is not always identified, except in the case of the Kumamoto oyster and the Olympia oyster. Also, the eastern Atlantic species cultivated in the west contains the species identifier virginica, as in the variety raised in Totten Inlet, south Puget Sound, in Washington state named “Totten Virginica.” Examples of variety names that provide no indication of their source environment are Sea Cow (from Hammersly Inlet, Puget Sound), Steamboat (from Hammersly, Totten, and Eld inlets, Puget Sound), and Naked Roy (from Samish Bay and the Salish Sea).

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Biocultural Stress, Resilience, and Rebound There is no doubt that oyster harvesting and consumption have been and continue to be an important component of culinary traditions and livelihoods in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. There continue to be, however, many human-­ induced environmental problems that need to be addressed to ensure the endurance of this magnificent life form and nourishing food source. Human sociocultural aspects are also under stress (Perry et al. 2011). The biophysical stressors identified by Perry et al. (2011) include climate variability, climate trend changes, acidification, changes in oxygen concentrations, and internal ecosystem dynamics (predator–prey interactions and disease). Human stressors include harvesting, habitat degradation, contaminants, introductions of exotic species, and mineral extraction. These stressors most often interact. For example, research findings on Perkinsus marinus parasite infections in the Eastern oyster, C. virginica, show that Diel-cycling hypoxia is widespread in shallow portions of estuaries. Extended periods of low oxygen concentrations have been shown to make oysters more vulnerable to infection by this dangerous parasite. Human-­ induced nutrient pollution, particularly nitrogen and potassium, from farming, sewage, and industry negatively impact oxygen levels in the near-shore environments where oysters live their stationary life (Breitburg et al. 2015). However, oysters are also an answer to the problem, as they filter nitrogen and potassium out of the water. The issue is the amount of pollution relative to the number of oysters. Enhancing shellfish aquaculture and establishing oyster reefs that result in cleaner water is a subject of current research, discussion, and community initiatives and partnerships to reduce pollution and rebuild oyster beds (Bricker et al. 2014; NOAA 2014). In the Pacific Northwest, the impact of ocean acidification on oysters is of great concern. Pacific oyster seed is naturally captured from Willapa Bay or obtained from hatcheries. In 2005, there were no commercial quantities available from Willapa Bay. Then, oyster hatcheries in Oregon and Washington experienced substantial dieoff of Pacific oyster larvae for a number of years starting in 2007. The larvae were dying during periods when deep waters rich in CO2—and low in pH—come to the surface (upwellings). These waters are more acidified due to historic and continuing uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere. The carbonate ions already in the water are converted in the seawater to bicarbonate, which inhibited the f­ ormation of shells in the Pacific oyster larvae (spat). Once discovered, this problem was addressed in hatcheries through controlling for the compounds in the water where larvae are raised (Langdon 2011; Lockwood 2017; Waldbusser et al. 2013). Native Olympia oysters, on the other hand, are showing aspects of resilience to ocean acidification. The research results of Waldbusser et al. (2016) show that the native Olympia oysters’ tendency to build shell slowly can support their resistance to acute ocean acidification. The Pacific oyster larvae, on the other hand, are more susceptible, as they build their shells quickly and use up too much energy in this endeavor to survive.


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Berkes and Turner (2006) present two ways in which the evolution of conservation knowledge is generally thought to occur. The first is what they call the depletion crisis model, and the second is the ecological understanding model: The first one argues that developing conservation thought and practice depends on learning that resources are depletable. Such learning typically follows a resource crisis. The second mechanism emphasizes the development of conservation practices following the incremental elaboration of environmental knowledge by a group of people. These mechanisms may work together. Following a perturbation, a society can self-organize, learn and adapt. The self-organizing process, facilitated by knowledge development and learning, has the potential to increase the resilience (capability to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change) of resource use systems (Berkes and Turner 2006:479).

Strong cultural identities associated with oysters exist alongside the biophysical stressors that the oysters faced in their environment historically and today. For the general public, oyster farmers, oyster bar eateries, and processors, oysters are a way of life that connects them to their ancestry and heritage over three, four, or even five generations. A few of the historic family enterprises in Washington and Oregon include Taylor Shellfish of Washington (Taylor family), J.J. Brenner of Olympia, Washington (Brenner family), the Qualman Oyster Farm of Coos Bay, Oregon (Qualman family), the Western Oyster Co. on the Puget Sound, Washington (Yamashita family), Taylor Shellfish Farm on the south Puget Sound, the Hama Hama Company on Hood Canal (fifth generation), the Little Skookum Shellfish Growers (in its sixth generation since 1883), and Dan and Louis Oyster Bar in Portland, Oregon (owned, managed, and worked in by five generations of the Waschmuth family since 1907). There are also many newer family-owned businesses—oyster farmers, processors, vendors, and oyster bar restaurants—in Washington, Oregon, and California. With the consumption of oysters dating back to prehistoric times, Native Americans have the longest harvesting and culinary traditions in the Pacific Northwest. Oyster harvesting continues and ranges from individual tribal members’ harvests to tribal enterprises that are certified tribal harvests, as well as successful large Native-owned and operated Washington businesses, including Suquamish Seafood Enterprise and Salish Seafoods. The survey conducted with shellfish growers and hatcheries in Oregon, Washington, and California examined their experiences, perceptions, and understanding of ocean acidification. Research results … indicate that approximately half of the industry had personally experienced a negative impact from ocean acidification and this personal experience generally led to a higher level of concern about OA [ocean acidification]; however, self-reported level of understanding of OA resulted in slightly less concordance with the level of concern. Greater than 80 % of the shellfish industry noted that OA will have consequences today, approximately four times higher than the U.S. public’s perception of the threat (Mabardy et al. 2015:565).

Recreational gathering of oysters, as well as other shellfish, has a long timeline and continues to be a popular public activity. However, research assessing citizen perceptions and knowledge in Washington, Oregon, and California reveals limited knowledge of shellfish in relation to factors such as ecosystem services and aqua-

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culture, although there is public support for local foods and the jobs aquaculture creates (Hudson 2016). A number of activities to engage citizens in oyster production are part of a renewal of food heritage, community values, and social cohesion, accompanied by challenges to the view of food, in this case oysters, as a commodity. Engaging citizens in oyster production for food is a challenge to the idea that local, small-scale agriculture must also serve the global market, that food is a mere commodity, that people are compelled to conform to a single way of producing and consuming (Pieroni et al. 2016:54). One area of building collaborative knowledge is exemplified by the approach of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF). Tribes, researchers, community groups, industry, and government work with the PSRF to rebuild Olympia oyster populations and restore native oyster habitat (Puget Sound Restoration Fund n.d.-a, n.d.-b). Some of the initiatives involving citizens include community shellfish farms, shellfish gardening, and citizen science. The State of the Oyster Study (SOS) is a citizen science project of Washington Sea Grant that has been active for at least 20 years. In this program, citizens are trained by scientists to monitor oysters on their tideland property and bring them in for testing for disease and contamination. The citizen participants help to interpret the test results. Researchers and citizens work together to identify and remedy the source of problems uncovered. Community shellfish farms use the community supported agriculture model (CSA). In this model, participants purchase a membership in a farm and receive deliveries of clams and oysters throughout the season. Members can help with harvesting and have an opportunity to be on-site and learn by doing and talking with the shellfish farmer. Participants learn not only about harvesting, but also about oyster life cycle, tides, water quality and health, seasonality, and shellfish reproduction. Oyster gardening around the Puget Sound is a form of small-­ scale backyard aquaculture for personal consumption that enhances the tideland environment on privately owned or leased property. Good instructional information is available for backyard aquaculturalists, accompanied by educational information regarding biological processes and the environment (Puget Sound Restoration Fund n.d.-a, n.d.-b; Washington Sea Grant 2002). Resources containing shoreline management information focused on the environment rather than on production of shellfish for consumption are also available for the general public. This information addresses important themes such as ecosystem services (Coen and Humphries 2017). One educational resource for living on or near waters of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound, coasts, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia, lakes, rivers, and streams) is produced by Washington State University Extension and is called the Shore Stewards program. Participants must own or rent property on the shoreline (or have streams passing through their property) or have a shared community beach. Educational resources include guidelines, Shore Stewards video productions, a newsletter, county resources, and educational workshops. Ultimately, Shore Stewards become a knowledge community and a community of practice with a newsletter and workshops (Washington State University Extension 2018). The stated motivations of the Shore Stewards are first and foremost to keep


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the Puget Sound/Salish Sea healthy, but second and third to learn to care for their property and learn about where they live (Bates and Simmons 2017). Over the centuries, the biocultural costs of oyster exploitation have been high. Ethnobiologists are concerned about the support and protection of traditional food systems and the environmental, gastronomic, and spiritual knowledge and practices that support these traditions and foster food security and human and environmental wellbeing. Vital to these lifeways are knowledge, practices, community, and biodiversity. Conservation strategies must not only incorporate traditional ecological knowledge, but also must facilitate a community reengagement with nature and food resources in locations where knowledge, engagement, and biodiversity have dwindled as a result of historic trajectories, many of them painful, and the consequences of modernization. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (Rick et al. 2016) presents data on oyster size and human harvest from Chesapeake Bay archaeological sites across 3500 years of Native American, colonial, and historical occupation. Their results illustrate the sustainability of Native American oyster harvesting practices of C. virginica in the Chesapeake Bay: This model of a sustainable prehistoric Native American harvest of oysters, primarily by hand collecting from fringing reefs that left deeper-water reefs largely intact, provides insight into modern restoration. Although the effectiveness of the modern restoration strategy of Chesapeake oysters is debated … our Pleistocene-to-Anthropocene size and archaeological relative abundance data provide some support for recent Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration efforts, including reduction of modern harvest levels and creation of increased no-take zones … that would mimic the more mobile and flexible Native American fishery (Rick et al. 2016:6572).

The Chesapeake Bay oyster study by Rick et al. (2016) illustrates the importance of incorporating indigenous knowledge into oyster conservation and management strategies. Narchi et al. (2014), however, discuss how we can also fruitfully shift the focus toward collective production of knowledge or colearning in order to facilitate the building of local ecological knowledge. Local ecological knowledge can be accumulated in a single lifetime and over multiple generations and does not necessarily become a component of the broader shared culture as does indigenous knowledge. If local knowledge is gained through the many partnerships and programs outlined above, and programs are undertaken at a magnitude and in a manner suitable to the maintenance of ecosystem functioning, local knowledge can, over time, become traditional ecological knowledge (Narchi et  al. 2014). The approaches ­discussed above of building collaborative knowledge and of encouraging, supporting, and expanding experiential opportunities for people to engage with oysters and their environment builds local knowledge. Ultimately, such approaches can strengthen artisanal entrepreneurship based on oysters as a specialty and niche taste of place food (meroir), strengthen sustainable rural development, buttress local food security, and underpin a resilient biocultural heritage.

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References Batdorf, C. (1990). Northwest native harvest. Surrey, BC: Hancock House Publishers Ltd.. Bates, E., & Simmons, B. (2017). Creating a culture of shoreline stewardship in Puget Sound (abstract). Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. Retrieved January 2, 2018, from http://cedar. poster le=1920&context=ssec Berkes, F., & Turner, N.  J. (2006). Knowledge and the evolution of conservation practice for social-ecological system resilience. Human Ecology, 34(4), 479–494. Blankenship, G.  E. (1923). Lights and shades of pioneer life on Puget Sound (1972 reprint). Seattle, WA: Shorey Book Store. Bourne, N. (1979). Crassostrea gigas Thunberg in British Columbia and the South Pacific. In R. Mann (Ed.), Exotic species in mariculture: Proceedings of a symposium on exotic species in mariculture: Case histories of the Japanese oyster Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg) with implications for other fisheries (pp. 1–54). Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press. Breitburg, D. L., Hondorp, D., Audemard, C., Carnegie, R., Burrell, R. B., Trice, M., Clark, V. (2015, February 11). Landscape-level variation in disease susceptibility related to shallow-­ water hypoxia. PLoS One Retrieved December 30, 2017, from Bricker, S.  B., Rice, K.  C., & Bricker, O.  P. (2014). Headwaters to coast: Influence of human activities on water quality of Potomac River estuary. Aquatic Geochemistry, 20(2–3), 291–323. Caldbick, J. (2010). 1900 census: The 12th federal census reveals that population has grown in every county in Washington State, cities have gotten bigger, and populations of women and minorities have grown. Retrieved December 18, 2018, from File/9332 Chef’s Resources, Inc. (2017). Oyster varieties. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from http://www. Chew, K. K. (1979). The Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) in the West Coast of the United States. In R. Mann (Ed.), Exotic species in mariculture: Proceedings of a symposium on exotic species in mariculture: Case histories of the Japanese oyster Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg) with implications for other fisheries (pp. 54–79). Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press. Chew, K. K. (1988). Oyster aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest. In S. Keller (Ed.), Proceedings of the fourth Alaska aquaculture conference (pp 67–76), 18–21 November 1987. Alaska Sea Grant Report no. 88-4. Sitka Alaska: University of Alaska. Clark, O. (2003). Encyclopedia of wine. London: Time Warner Books. Coen, L.  D., & Humphries, T. (2017). Oyster-generated marine habitats and their services: Enhancement, restoration and monitoring. In S. K. Allison & S. D. Murphy (Eds.), Routledge handbook of ecological and environmental restoration (pp. 274–294). London and New York: Routledge. Cook, R. (2001). Justice failed Japanese immigrant. Associated Press, Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 December 18, 2017, from Culinary Central: What is merior? Le Cordon Bleu (2015, May 4). Retrieved December 22, 2017, from de Danaan, L. (2013). Katie Gale: A coast Salish woman’s life on Oyster Bay. Lincoln, NE and London: University of Nebraska Press. Dougherty, P. (2013). Mobs forcibly expel most of Seattle’s Chinese residents beginning on February 7, 1886. History Link Essay 2745. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from Echtle, E. (2013). The cultural history of the Olympia oyster. City of Olympia. Retrieved December 18, 2017, from


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Element Sea Foods. (2016, June 14). The appellation trail: What’s in an oyster name? Guides: meroir. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from the-appellation-trail-whats-in-an-oyster-name/ Gordon, D. C., Blanton, N. E., & Nosho, T. Y. (2001). Heaven on the half shell: The story of the Northwest’s love affair with the oyster. Portland, OR: Washington Sea Grant Program and Westwinds Press. Grabowski, J. H., Brumbaugh, R. D., Conrad, R. F., Keeler, A. G., Opaluch, J. J., Peterson, C. H., Piehler, M. F., Powers, S. P., & Smyth, A. R. (2012). Economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by oyster reefs. Bioscience, 62(10), 900–909. Groth, S., & Rumrill, S. (2009). History of Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida Carpenter 1864) in Oregon estuaries, and a description of recovering populations in Coos Bay. Journal of Shellfish Research, 28(1), 51–58. Hudson, B., (2016). Public opinion of shellfish farming. A report on the public perception of shellfish aquaculture in select counties of Washington, Oregon, and California. Olympia, WA: Pacific Shellfish Institute. (2017). U.S. inflation rate. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from http://www. Jacobsen, R. (2008). A geography of oysters. New York and London: Bloomsbury. Jacobsen, R. (2009, October 20). Henderson Inlet oysters. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from Jacobsen, R. (2010). American terroir. New York and London: Bloomsbury. Jacobsen, R. (2016). The essential oyster. New York and London: Bloomsbury. Justia. (2017). Brenner v. J.J.  Brenner Oyster Co. (48 Wn.2d 264, 292 P.2d 1052) (1956). Retrieved December 21, 2018, from Kershaw, A. (1999). Jack London: A life. New York: St Martin’s Press. Kuhnlein, H.  V., & Humphries, M.  M. (2017). Traditional animal foods of indigenous peoples of northern North America. Montreal: McGill University Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from http://traditionalanimalfoods. org/ Langdon, C. (2011). West coast upwelling impacts seed availability for Pacific oyster farmers (abstacts of technical papers presented at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the National Shellfish Association, Baltimore, MD, March 27–31, 2011). Journal of Shellfish Research, 30(2), 525. Lee, R., Lovatelli, A., & Ababouch, L. (2008). Bivalve depuration: Fundamental and practical aspects (FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 511). Rome: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Levoie, R. E. (2009). Oyster culture in North America: History, present and future (special edition of the 1st & 2nd International Oyster Symposium, The Foundation of the Oyster Institute, Japan). Oyster Research Institute News, 24, 14–21. Retrieved December 27, 2017, from http:// Lockwood, D. (2017). Can shellfish adapt to ocean acidification. Chemical & Engineering News, 95, 22–24. Lyon, C. (2014, May 23). Alien land laws. Densho encyclopedia. Retrieved December 18, 2017, from Mabardy, R. A., Waldbusser, G. G., Conway, F., & Olsen, C. S. (2015). Perception and response of the U.S. west coast shellfish industry to ocean acidification: The voice of the canaries in the coal mine. Journal of Shellfish Research, 34(2), 565–572. Manta. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2017, from western-oyster-company Meroir or Merroir? Ostreophile or ostreaphile? (2013). The oyster is my world: History of oysters and oyster cultivation. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://theoystersmyworld. com/2013/01/05/meroir-or-merroir-ostreophile-or-ostreaphile/

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Moss, M. L. (1993). Shellfish, gender, and status on the northwest coast: Reconciling archeological, ethnographic and ethnohistorical records of the Tlingit. American Anthropologist, 95(3), 631–652. Narchi, N. E., Cornier, S., Canu, D. M., Aguilar-Rosa, L., Bender, M. G., Jacquelin, C., Thiba, M., & Moura, G. G. M. (2014). Marine ethnobiology, a rather neglected area, which can provide an important contribution to ocean and coastal management. Ocean and Coastal Management, 89, 117–126. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). (2014, April 9). Oyster aquaculture could significantly improve Potomac River estuary water quality. Science Daily. Retrieved January 2, 2018, from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Habitat Conservation). (2017). Puget Sound finely aged oysters. Retrieved January 2, 2018, from Oregon encyclopedia. (2017). Alfred Qualman (1904–1993). Retrieved December 21, 2017, from Oregon Writers Project. (1939). An Oregon almanac for 1940. Salem: Oregon Works Project Administration. Patterson, N. (compiler). (1987). Washington’s oyster industry: A documentary history. Olympia, WA: Washington State Archives. Perry, R. I., Ommer, R. E., Barange, M., Jentoft, S., Neis, B., & Sumaila, U. R. (2011). Marine social-ecological responses to environmental change and the impacts of globalization. Fish and Fisheries, 12(4), 427–450. Pieroni, A., Pawera, L., & Sha, G. M. (2016). Gastronomic ethnobiology. In U. P. Albuquerque & R.  Nóbrega Alves (Eds.), Introduction to ethnobiology (pp.  53–62). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International. Puget Sound Restoration Fund. (n.d.-a). Retrieved January 1, 2018, from Puget Sound Restoration Fund. (n.d.-b). Shellfish gardening. Retrieved January 1, 2018, from Qualman, A. (1983). Blood on the half shell. Portland, OR: Binford & Mort, Thomas Binford, Publisher. Rick, T.  C., Reeder-Myers, L.  A., Hofman, C.  A., Breitburg, D., Lockwood, R., Henkes, G., Kellogg, L., Lowery, D., Luckenbach, M. W., Mann, R., Ogburn, M. B., Southworth, M., Wah, J., Wesson, J., & Hines, A. H. (2016). Millennial-scale sustainability of Native American oyster fishery. PNAS, 13(23), 6586–6572. Steele, E.  N. (1964). The immigrant oyster (Ostrea gigas) now known as the Pacific oyster. Olympia, WA: Warren’s Quick Print. Sterling, L. (n.d.). Yamashia family. Jerry Yamashita, the oyster saga. Retrieved December 21, 2017, from Suttles, W., & Lane, B. (1990). Southern Coast Salish. In W. Suttles (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians (Vol. 7: Northwest Coast) (pp.  485–490). Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. Waldbusser, G. G., Brunner, E. L., Haley, B. A., Hales, B., Langdon, C. J., & Prahl, F. G. (2013). A developmental and energetic basis linking larval oyster shell formation to acidification sensitivity. Geophysical Research Letters, 40(10). Waldbusser, G. G., Grey, G. W., Hales, B., Langdon, C. J., & Hutchinson, G. (2016). Slow shell building a possible trait for resistance to the efforts of acute ocean acidification. Limnology and Oceanography, 61(6), 1969–1983. Walsh, R. (2009). Sex, death and oysters: A half-shell lover’s world tour. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press.


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Washington Sea Grant. (2002). Small-scale oyster farming for pleasure and profit in Washington. Retrieved January 1, 2018, from Washington State University Extension. (2018). Shore stewards. Retrieved January 1, 2018, from White, J., Ruesink, J.  L., & Trimble, A.  C. (2009). The nearly forgotten oyster: Ostrea lurida Carpenter 1864 (Olympia oyster) history and management in Washington State. Journal of Shellfish Research, 28(1), 43–49. Wikfors, G. H. (2011). Trophic interactions between phytoplankton and bivalve aquaculture. In S. E. Shumway (Ed.), Shellfish aquaculture and the environment (pp. 125–133). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Chapter 7

The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change, and the (Re) Awakening of Dietary Resilience Among Coastal Hunter-Gatherers in the Mexican Northwest Guillermo Hernández-Santana and Nemer E. Narchi

Introduction Local Food Systems Throughout the history of our species, human populations from every latitude have developed countless adaptive mechanisms, known as biocultural knowledge, to learn about and exploit resources from different habitats. Among the many resources humans harness and harvest, none is more important to sustain human life than food. Therefore, human societies have developed complex bodies of biocultural knowledge around alimentary resources (Moran 2008). Food knowledge is vast and diverse, extending from very basic notions of what is edible, where and when it is available (Hama-Ba et al. 2017), how it should be harvested (Kuhnlein 2000), and how it should be cooked to make it palatable (Jones 2017) or, at least, harmless (Mlingi and Bainbridge 1994; Rosling 1996). When foods available from local natural resources are culturally accepted (i.e., they have sociocultural meaning, specific harvesting/processing/serving techniques, and ordinary and ritual uses), they form a local food system (Kuhnlein and Receveur 1996). The importance of local food systems in the health and wellbeing of rural and indigenous populations around the world has long been highlighted (Harris 1989). Despite their importance, however, there is a marked decrease in local food use and a significant erosion of local food systems (Turner and Turner 2007; Johns

G. Hernández-Santana Ph.D. student in Anthropology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico city, Mexico N. E. Narchi (*) CoLaboratorio de Oceanografía Social, Centro de Estudios en Geografía Humana, El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C., La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



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et al. 2013; Aswani and Albert 2015; Si and Lahe-Deklin 2015), causing negative impacts on diet quality (Receveur et  al. 1997) and human health (Whiting and Mackezie 1998; Johnson-Down et al. 2015), especially in marginal environments unsuitable for agricultural production. Three main factors explain the decrease in local food use: (1) The ever-­expanding reach of market-mediated energy-dense foods (O’Dea 1991), (2) the relatively poor understanding of the nutritional and cultural benefits of local foods (Kuhnlein and Receveuer 1996), and (3) environmental violence resulting from development plans that harm local livelihoods, alternative forms of economic development, and ecosystems (Narchi 2015). The decrease in  local food use and the collapse of food systems have immediate negative impacts on human health, as can be seen in the global increase in obesity and obesity-related chronic degenerative diseases such as type 2 diabetes (Barnes 2005 and references therein), high blood pressure, and heart disease (Manzel et al. 2014). However, there are also beneficial aspects to the changing diet of rural and indigenous people. These benefits are specific to areas in which noxious substances, e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum, pesticides, heavy metals, and organochlorine compounds, have polluted water or land and entered the food chain (Whiting and Mackenzie 1998; Chen et  al. 2015; Alava et  al. 2017). The debate about human dietary transition and its implications for human health is still vigorous and polarized (Villela and Palinkas 2000). Thus, this chapter represents a fresh effort to inform the debate with data-driven transdisciplinary research based on a linguistic, anthropological, and nutritional approach to coastal desert foragers’ heritage and dietary change.

Hunter-Gatherer Diet The claim that hunter-gatherer societies predate food-producing cultures is so strongly supported by archaeological evidence that it has gone uncontested since the early years of anthropology. However powerful, this claim was misinterpreted in the past in such a way that early anthropologists tried to infer the realities and livelihoods of the first human societies by observing the behaviors and activities of the few remaining hunter-gatherer societies (cf. Kelly 1995). While many of the simplistic notions of hunter-gatherer societies and economies have been discarded since the times of Julian Steward (Moran 2008), their spirit lives on in great books and articles (e.g., Lee and DeVore 1968) that, paradoxically, are considered as fundamental in redeeming the image of contemporary hunter-gatherer societies by means of generating a large body of empirical data on their time allocation and foraging yields. To better illustrate our point, consider this statement from the great George Peter Murdock:

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Many peoples who subsisted by hunting and gathering at the time of Columbus have disappeared entirely and have been replaced by stronger peoples (Murdock 1968:13).

Such a notion—that hunter-gatherers throughout the world have been replaced by stronger people—could be misinterpreted as containing an encrypted message of moral and biological superiority resembling the ideas of social Darwinism.1 It is true that present-day hunter-gatherers have been forced into marginal areas while being dispossessed of resource-rich territories. However, it is rather naive to think that the people replacing these groups were stronger. In order to be clear about how hunter-gatherers were overpowered by food-producing societies, we need to understand power, and not strength, in terms of various nonbiologically dependent factors: number of human resources available, institutional capability, and overpopulation-related disease prevalence (Diamond 1987 and references therein). Presently, we are slightly more aware of the flexible and complex way of life of hunter-gatherers, and some of us stand in awe when we become familiar with their seasonal mobility and sophisticated and highly diversified foraging strategies. One of the hunter-gatherer features that has been particularly praised for some 30 years is the hunter-gatherer diet and its consequences for nutrition and health, which seems to be antithetical to the aforementioned etiological contribution of the food habits of industrialized societies. It could be argued that longer life expectancy, as seen in industrialized societies, is directly correlated with the rise in chronic illnesses, and this is partially true. However, the members of rural and indigenous societies, especially hunter-gatherers, that lived beyond the age of 60 remained free from obesity-related disorders, as suggested by data presented near the end of the twentieth century (Eaton and Konner 1985). The fascination for hunter-gatherer diets has given rise to many hypotheses relating these diets to the obesity epidemic. Among these, one of the most ubiquitous is the “thrifty genotype hypothesis” (Neel 1962). This hypothesis presupposes that early hunter-gatherers were biologically adapted to cycles of feast and famine and that the genotypes responsible for this adaptation were rendered detrimental by the industrialization process, triggering obesity and related health problems. This view has persisted in the literature for nearly four decades (Winkelman 1991; Prentice 2001). However, the evidence against a “thrifty genotype,” or at least against its generalizing application, grows stronger day by day. For instance, Ritenbaugh and Goodby (1989) argued against such a generalized theory of a thrifty genotype based on the idea that the original diets in much of the Americas were high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Therefore, there was no evolutionary need to select for rapid glucose uptake. Furthermore, in indigenous populations in the Americas presenting a high rate of diabetes, such as the O’odham Nation, the genes related to diabetes mellitus mechanisms, namely GWAS genes, are not statistically associated with the disease (Busatta 2011). Some years ago, Gary Nabhan (2012) organized a 220-mile itinerant feast in the company of more than 20 Seri, Akimel O’odham, and Tohono O’odham individuals suffering from diabetes. The idea behind this 12-day pilgrim For a deeper conversation on the mythification of hunter-gatherers and its use in moral humanity, see Sussman (1999). 1


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age was to prove that native slow-release foods and beverages could be nutritious, satisfying, and hearty enough to sustain these adventurers throughout their journey. Additionally, Berbesque and collaborators (2014) provide enough evidence to claim that when controlling for environmental quality, hunter-gatherer societies suffer less famine than people living under other modes of subsistence. They also claim, quite convincingly, that the immediate return behavior—a sort of carpe diem survival policy in which people make use of resources immediately and completely—so frequently observed in hunter-gatherer groups is the real agent triggering diabetes. The latter is especially applicable in hunter-gatherer societies that have transitioned to a diet rich in high-caloric foods. After weighing these hypotheses, we concur with Chukwuma and Tuomilehto (1998) in opting for observing a thrifty phenotype instead of a thrifty genotype when referring to obesity epidemics. A thrifty phenotype allows for researchers to consider factors that go beyond genetics, which include behavioral and environmental properties that help explain the deleterious effects of dietary change in an ample and complex anthropological context. To this extent, we present the case of the Seri traditional food system, its erosion, and its consequences in terms of dietary change and human health. It is our aim to construct our case study under the lens of complexity since we consider the contemporary state of affairs in Seri culture to be the result of historical, cultural, political, and economic forces exerting an effect on the Seri people from various angles and in alternate spatiotemporal scales.

Comcaac (Seris2) and Their Environment The modern Comcaac are descendants of hunter-gatherers and fishers native to the central Gulf region of the Sonoran Desert in western Sonora, Mexico—an area that has been occupied by their ancestors for at least 400 years, according to the first European chronicles of the Mexican northwest (di Peso and Matson 1965; Felger and Moser 1985; Villalpando 2001). However, and despite a long debate about the earliest datings of Seri archaeological materials (Felger and Moser 1985:378),3 there is substantial material evidence suggesting that they have been in the region for at least 1170 years (Haynes, Damon and Grey 1966). Comcaac culture is considered to be the sole bearer of pottery technology4 in the area, a fact that makes  The name Seri is not an autochthonous term. There is some hypothesis about its possible meaning and  origin (Marlett 2011). However, the  current Seris prefer the  term Comcaac (people Seris). In the present article, we prefer the use of the indigenous term to refer to members of the ethnic group. 3  To fully understand the debate over the earliest dating of Comcaac material culture, see Bowen (1976), Bowen (1983), and Bowen (2007). 4  Comcaac occupation of the Sonoran Coast and Tiburón Island is marked by the appearance of Seri eggshell pottery, formally known as Tiburón Plain pottery. Central coast archaeological culture has become synonymous with eggshell pottery. 2

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it easy to trace the typological continuity and distribution data for eggshell pottery and historical Comcaac pottery. Presently, Seriland5 stretches along a narrow expanse of coastline (less than 25  km wide) on the eastern Gulf of California, from just north of Haxöl Iihom (Desemboque del Río San Ignacio) to about 6.5 km south of Socaaix (Punta Chueca, just north of Bahía Kino). This area is only a small part of the Seris’ much larger ancestral territory, which ranged from Río Magdalena to Río Yaqui and from the coast to 10–50 km west of the Ríos Moctezuma/Yaqui drainage, as well as including the midriff islands of Tiburón and San Esteban (Fig. 7.1). The topography of the area comprises sloping coastal alluvial plains, relatively high sierras, and an interior desert. The area is hot and dry, and the terrain is rugged (Felger 1966), with dry, rocky soils near the mountains and sandy soils in the valleys (Scheffler 1987). Rainfall is sparse, amounting to less than 25  cm annually, most of which falls in tropical cloudbursts during the summer. The flora is a mixture of the typical Sonoran Plains type and a predominant Central Coast flora (Shreve 1934; Shreve and Wiggins 1964). One of the most wonderful assets of Seriland is its physically and biologically diverse marine environment, which was initially formed by tectonic forces some 5 million years ago (Ledesma-Vázquez and Carreño 2010). The area, also known as the aquarium of the world, is one of the most biologically productive and diverse marine regions on earth (Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2015 and references therein).

Seriland, the Evolution of a Hunting-Gathering Range The first record of the Comcaac diet can be found in Andrés Pérez de Ribasʼs Triunfos de Nuestra Fe, published in 1645 (di Peso and Matson 1965; Bowen 1976; Sheridan 1979; Bowen 1983; Felger and Moser 1985; Sheridan 1996; Sheridan 1999; Bowen 2000). In his account, Pérez de Ribas described the Comcaac as untamed people, without houses or villas, who customarily drank water from small ponds and puddles and embraced hunting and fishing as a livelihood. From Pérez de Ribas’s brief account, it can be argued that seafood has always played an important role in the Comcaac diet. Much had changed since the first chroniclers encountered the Comcaac. For instance, at the time that W.J.  McGee conducted his first expedition, the Comcaac residence and range, while dynamic and difficult to assert with absolute certainty, had already declined by 5% (Bahre 1980). Presently, Seriland covers a meager 4% of its original area, representing only one-quarter of the Comcaac range that existed when they met briefly with McGee. A number of political and constabulary strategies account for the loss of Comcaac territory. Missionary policies (Sheridan 1979), pacification and reduction campaigns (Sheridan 1999), and land-grabbing processes (Radding 1997) were launched  Coined spontaneously by W.J. McGee while in the field (1896:94), the term Seriland perfectly suits the needs of those whose intentions are to pinpoint such a specific geocultural area. 5


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Fig. 7.1  Map of Seriland in the Sonoran Desert [Source: Jesús Medina R.]

as an integral plan by the government of New Spain. The Crown’s goal was to set up an all-encompassing strategy that would allow for colonizing the Mexican northwest while building the necessary infrastructure to develop an extractive industry based on mining and supported by agriculture and cattle ranching (Narchi et  al. 2015). The downsizing of Seriland was accompanied by an extermination policy that had a devastating demographic impact on the Comcaac population (Fig. 7.2),

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Fig. 7.2  Comcaac population estimates for the past 250 years (based on McGee 1898; Kroeber 1931; Narchi 2011; INEGI 2013)

two simultaneous developments that produced profound changes in the Comcaac way of life. As encroachment on Seriland expanded, cattle increasingly became a natural food item for roaming Comcaac (Bowen 2000), making it imperative for the officers serving the government of New Spain to pacify and reduce the Comcaac to a missionary life. The first full-scale military expedition to Seriland, carried out by Lieutenant Juan Bautista de Escalante under the order of General Domingo Jironza Petris de Cruzat and by petition of Father Melchor Bartíromo, pursued the Comcaac toward the coast, only to find that the Comcaac had already escaped to Tiburón Island (Bowen 2000). For the next 300 years, the Comcaac people resisted the Crown on every occasion, making, most of the time, an unassailable stronghold out of Tiburón Island. Intermittent skirmishes and raids continued until 1770, when the government of Sonora founded Villa de Seris, giving arable land to a few hundred Comcaac. The project was seen as an immense expenditure, but it was cheaper than garrisoning an army much needed elsewhere in New Spain (Sheridan 1999). The Comcaac remained at peace until 1773, when the Comcaac living at the recently


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erected Carrizal mission, led by Ixquisis, killed the clerics and abandoned the ­mission (Bowen 1983). From 1798 to 1803, the Comcaac refined their hit-and-run techniques and did not seek refuge inside Tiburón. Their change in strategy consisted of escaping through the Gulf of California, using the islands as a ladder, as they had originally used them to arrive in Sonora. The refinement of Comcaac strategies now allowed them to raid missions and settlements on both sides of the coast, including the Santa Gertrudis Cochimí mission (Sheridan 1999). By this time, the Guaymas and Upanguaymas bands had disappeared (Bowen 1983). Of the remaining Seri bands, Salineros were now referred to as Seris, while Tiburones and Tepocas kept their existing names (Sheridan 1996; Sheridan 1999). Bowen (1983) speculates that the Tiburones may have taken in many Salinero and Tepoca refugees. The early part of the 1800s saw a weakening in governmental authority. By mid-­ September 1810, Mexicoʼs war for independence had started, consuming Spainʼs economic and military resources for 11 years and providing Mexico, in the aftermath, with a weak, centralized, and inexperienced independent government. Given the absence of a stable government in the northwest regions of the newly independent Mexico, Comcaacs, Yaquis, and Apaches plundered and ransacked ranches and settlements throughout the northwest from 1825 to 1832 (Felger and Moser 1985; Bowen 2000). These raids were followed by a failed punitive expedition to Tiburón under the command of Captain Victor Araiza in 1842. This campaign was followed by a more ambitious extermination campaign launched in 1844 by Sonoraʼs governor General Francisco Ponce de León (Sheridan 1999). That same year, a couple of local entrepreneurs, Pascual and Ignacio Encinas, established a new ranch between Hermosillo and Bahía Kino. On their ranch, Rancho San Francisco de Costa Rica, the Encinas brothers tried to coexist peacefully with the Comcaac, offering them jobs as ranch hands (Bowen 2000). As this and other ranches expanded toward Comcaac territory, rustling once again intensified (Fontana and Fontana 2000). In spite of the efforts to influence the Comcaac, Pascual Encinas decided in 1855 that it was impossible to alter the Comcaacʼs ways. Encinas armed all of his cowboys and launched one of the darkest periods in Comcaac history: the Encinas War. Encinasʼs cowboys hunted down and killed Comcaac wherever they were found. The Comcaac responded in kind, starting a decade-long cycle of mutual killing (Bowen 2000). The aftermath of the Encinas War brought occasional killings on both sides well into the 1920s (Bowen 1983). Nonetheless, it must be said that the Seri–Encinas relationship was far more complex than total hatred, as it constantly oscillated between friendship and warfare, both before and after the 10-year-long war (Ryerson 2005). In spite of a brutal decade of guerrilla warfare, Bowen (2000) notes that the period between 1880 and 1900 should be considered the darkest for Comcaac history. First, there was an unwritten policy promoted by official circles that offered a reward of MEX$3 for every male Comcaac head. Second, in 1880 there was yet another revolt; Sonoraʼs government launched a new retaliation campaign in which they managed to capture more than 150 Comcaac, who were placed at Villa de Comcaac under a new regime that largely resembled the reservation system. The

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Sonoran government appointed a Comcaac governor to serve as a liaison as well as to maintain order among the prisoners. In trying to implement the carrot-and-stick policy, the Comcaac were provided with more-than-sufficient food allowances. Nonetheless, Comcaac would argue that more than once they were victims of intentional poisoning of their food. One night, as had become a Comcaac survival strategy since European contact, they rose up in revolt, nearly killing the Comcaac governor; afterward, they fled to the coast (Bowen 2000). The last official campaign against the Comcaac at Tiburón took place during late 1904. Bowen (2000) notes that the problems may have started on the coastal ranch of La Máquina, where a Mexican rancher known as Curved Back (Herrera-Marcos 1988 in Moser 1988) caught a Yaqui worker butchering one of his cows. The rancher killed the Yaqui worker. Some Yaquis near Guaymas learned of this and killed the rancher in revenge. The Sonoran government retaliated with yet another military campaign toward Tiburón under the command of the governor of Sonora, Rafael Izábal. He arrived on Tiburón on December 24, 1904, having 42 Tohono Oʼodham men, 40 cowboys, and 160 soldiers under his command. After 7 days of combat, 11 dead Comcaac, and several women and children captured, the Comcaac were forced to kill the Yaqui fugitives (Rentería-Valencia 2007). From 1904 until 1920, most of the Comcaac lived permanently on Tiburón Island (Bowen 1983). At that time, Sonoran towns and cities became more numerous and populated, increasing demand for fish. During this period, some Comcaac began to engage in small-scale commercial fishing (Felger and Moser 1985). In 1926, given the U.S. prohibition against alcohol, an American, Yates Holmes, established the Kino Bay Sportsmenʼs Club, with the objective of developing recreational activities such as fishing, hunting, and exploring accompanied by alcoholic libations. These tipsy sportsmen and their families were remarkably generous with the Comcaac, in terms of providing them with clothes, food, and money. These nonhostile encounters started to reconcile the Comcaac way of life with the rest of the world (Felger and Moser 1985; Rentería-Valencia 2007). Around that same time, the government of Sonora appointed Roberto Thompson Encinas as a liaison with the Comcaac. Thompson Encinas, the nephew of Pascual Encinas, grew up in Rancho Costa Rica, where he developed a closer relationship with the Comcaac than that held by most Mexicans (Kroeber 1931). By 1910, demand for totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) increased among the Chinese community of San Francisco, California (Bahre et al. 2000). The demand for totoaba drove the intensification of the totoaba fishery by the late 1920s (Cisneros-Mata et al. 1995). In 1930, Comcaac fishermen already settled in Bahía Kino started to get involved in the totoaba fishery. As a result of centuries of eradication campaigns that had left fewer than 200 Comcaac alive, and their later nonhostile involvement with American sportsmen and commercial fishing, the Comcaac started to modify their seasonal patterns of subsistence migration (Bahre et al. 2000). In 1935, the Mexican government, under the presidency of General Lázaro Cárdenas, fostered the creation of fishing cooperatives (Rentería-Valencia 2007). By 1937, Leví Rodríguez and his brother Arturo, owners of L.H.  Rodríguez Seafoods, Inc., based in Tucson, Arizona, started buying not only totoaba, but also


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shark liver, from the Comcaac, as the demand for vitamin A and shark liver oil was growing because of World War II (Bahre et al. 2000). The opportunities offered by an expanding market and the federal encouragement of fishing cooperatives encouraged Jesús Solórzano of Colima to organize the first cooperative in Bahía Kino: Sociedad Cooperativa de Pescadores de la Tribu Seri, S.C.L., in 1938. By 1939, the composition of the cooperativeʼs membership had become eight Mexicans for each Comcaac. At that time, the exposure to exogenous culture was becoming detrimental to the Comcaac, as they encountered drugs and alcohol, which proved pervasive throughout the population (Rentería-Valencia 2007). Because of the negative effects of alcohol-related brawls and tensions between Seri and non-Seri fishermen, Solórzano was persuaded to move the cooperative to Desemboque del Río San Ignacio, almost 100 km north of Bahía Kino (Rentería-­ Valencia 2007). In Desemboque, Solórzano established a little grocery store in order to provide for the Comcaac. He also established a ban on drugs and alcohol. Solórzano invested part of his earnings in the new community. He built an office for the cooperative in which he assembled a considerably large storage refrigerator. He also brought attention from the government in order to build an elementary school, which he partially funded. However, due to internal tensions, the cooperative went into bankruptcy in 1948 and Solórzano left for good (Rentería-Valencia 2007). Having a majority of the Comcaac settled at Desemboque allowed an ever-­ increasing number of anthropologists, missionaries, linguists, and health service providers to have contact with them (Bowen 1983). These settlements brought new institutions into Seriland. By 1951, a pair of missionaries, Mary Beck and Ed Moser, working for the Wycliffe Bible Translators/Summer Institute of Linguistics, whose goal was to translate the Bible into the Comcaac language, were quickly accepted by the Comcaac and established permanent residence at Haxöl Iihom (Bowen 1983; Rentería-Valencia 2007). A year after the arrival of the Mosers, the American Friends Service Committee, another religious association, reestablished the schooling system by constructing a second school in a privileged location in the middle of town (Bowen 1983). Yet a third missionary association, this one of Mexican origin, was better accepted among the Comcaac. In 1953, the Iglesia Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo Jesús was established in Desemboque. Sometime after the conversion of the first Comcaac into the apostolic faith, the social dynamics changed so much that a new term was coined for the emerging social category. Evangelized Comcaac became known as ziix coostim (lit. “thing that sings” gl.) or “evangelical parishioner.” During the 1950s, one-third of the Comcaac residing in Desemboque rebelled against the prohibition of alcohol and long-held ritual practices by moving 63 km south of Desemboque to establish a permanent settlement in Punta Chueca, where they continued living according to their newly acquired lifestyle (Rentería-Valencia 2007). As the inhabitants of Seriland opened up to their surrounding neighbors and economies, the Instituto Nacional Indigenista, guided by the ideas of Manuel Gamio (1916), considered Comcaac openness to be a good opportunity to promote its política indigenista: an effort to acculturate indigenous communities as a means to shape a mestizo postrevolutionary Mexican nation. A number of people from

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d­ ifferent disciplines were deployed to Seriland to evaluate the Comcaac’s health and infrastructure needs, as well as their degree of integration into Mexican society (Marroquín 1957): The Seri truly form part of our Western society, in so far as they catch fish, with fishhooks and motorboats, to sell in the markets of Hermosillo, Nogales, and Tucson, and they obtain payment in national species and coin (Monzón 1953:90, translation by George Bedell).

In 1958, the Instituto Nacional Indigenista made efforts to revive the fishing cooperative (Bowen 1983) to ensure complete integration of the inhabitants of Seriland into the market system and Mexican society. The cooperative proved to be successful to some extent, but, according to one informant, was not successful for all. There was conflict on how the profits were being administered, and not all the Comcaac held partnership in the cooperative. Additionally, there was an incremental decrease in turtle hunting and fisheries (Felger and Moser 1985). In 1963, without the knowledge of the Comcaac, the federal government declared Tiburón Island a natural reserve and wildlife refuge (DOF 1963). The decree was followed by a resolution recognizing the conformation of the remaining regions of Seriland, including Tiburón, into the Ejido El Desemboque and its annex Punta Chueca and crediting the Comcaac with the property of this ejido (DOF 1970). A later decree, published in 1975, proclaimed Infiernillo Channel and the waters adjacent to Tiburón to be exclusive fishing zones for the Comcaac (DOF 1975). The decree brought up a series of claims from the non-Seri fishers already working within the surroundings of Seriland (Rentería-Valencia 2007). The conflict between Seri and non-Seri fishers reemerges from time to time. Nonetheless, the decree helped to maintain Seriland’s waters in near-pristine condition until recent times (Basurto, Bourillon & Torre 2000).

Comcaac Health The first reports on Comcaac health date back to the mid-1950s. Marroquín (1957:337) notes that “in general, the Comcaac have a healthy appearance.” However, he mentions gastrointestinal diseases as a common health disorder. Marroquín’s observations match those of Felger and Moser (1973, 1985) who noted that native remedies were most commonly used against diarrhea and dysentery, as well as against headache, which women experienced near childbirth. Taking into account not only the use of native remedies, but a pedestrian saliency index of care demands, Zolla (1994) constructed a longer list of health concerns for the Comcaac. Gastrointestinal diseases were still prioritized as a major concern, followed by pregnancy and birth, respiratory diseases, and skin ailments. In addition, the same team found that there was a marked difference between the most recurring care demands and the most common causes of death, which were reported to be (in order of frequency) high blood pressure, tuberculosis, diabetes, kidney disease, aging, cancer, gastrointestinal ailments, and respiratory diseases.


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Comcaac Health Today Comcaac health-care demands have remained constant for nearly a decade, as indicated by a comparison of the findings of Zolla (1994) with those found by one of the authors (Narchi) in 2008, who interviewed Dr. Jesús Antonio Romero Rodríguez, resident medic in the health center at Haxöl Iihom. Over a 2-year residence, Dr. Romero was able to discern a seasonal pattern to Comcaac health-care demands. Gastrointestinal diseases are common during summer, and respiratory diseases become more common as winter approaches. Dr. Romero also mentioned that visits related to chronic-degenerative ailments showed no fluctuation throughout the seasons. The sudden increase in chronic-degenerative diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes is not rare in a society with a transitional market integration. As early as the late 1950s, it was clear that urbanized desert dwellers presented higher blood pressure levels because of dietary change (Padmavati and Gupta 1959; Truswell et al. 1972; Sheridan 1996), sedentism (Kaminer and Lutz 1960; Scotch 1960), and disruption of social networks (Henry et al. 1967).

The Comcaac Diet Nearly 250 years had to pass for W.J. McGee (1898) to provide evidence to support Pérez de Ribas’s idea that Comcaac people based their diet on seafood. McGee observed that nearly 15% of the Comcaac intake consisted of the meat and by-­ products of sea turtles (Fig. 7.3). These observations, that sea turtle served as the Comcaac’s staple food, remained an accepted fact for nearly 30 years until the prominent anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber (1931) questioned the figures, wondering whether the prominence of sea turtles could be as high as McGee reported. Regardless of the need for more reliable data on sea turtle consumption rates among the Comcaac, the idea that sea turtles are the main source of animal protein for this coastal community is still pervasive throughout the literature (Davis and Yale Dawson 1945; Caldwell 1963; Felger and Moser 1985; Delgado and Nichols 2005). This belief, that sea turtles represent the Comcaac staple food, while incorrect, is not ill founded. Sea turtles are cosmopolitan animals that represent such an easy catch (Bird et  al. 2001) and such a large package of protein (Gurven et  al. 2001) that they have been exploited worldwide, in some places since the Neolithic period (Frazier 2005), with such success that they have been driven to near extinction. Sea turtle hunting is typically energetically costly to the huntsman. Nonetheless, when the catch becomes a feast (Bird et al. 2001), the huntsman receives great benefit since news of his feast will be broadcast to a large audience. Therefore, the hunter amasses prestige by virtue of perceived skill and strong leadership. Finally, since sea

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Fig. 7.3  Estimated annual Comcaac dietary intake, according to McGee (1898:214)

turtle hunting is a costly activity, the person willing to share part of his catch will eventually get the upper hand in cycles of reciprocation (Smith and Bird 2000). In regards to our case study, sea turtles are embedded in Comcaac culture with tangible (material) and intangible (symbolic) importance (Nabhan 2003:235 and references therein). All five sea turtle species native to the Pacific coast of the Americas occur in Seriland (Felger and Moser 1985). C. mydas (green sea turtle) is the favorite species for eating and sharing; however, ridley, hawksbill, and loggerhead sea turtles were occasionally eaten as well, although their flavor is not considered to be as good as that of the green turtle (Felger and Moser 1985). Apart from flesh, sea turtle fat used to be employed extensively in cooking and seasoning. Other parts, such as the stomach, leather, and carapace, are used respectively to make water bags, sandals, and multipurpose containers (Felger and Moser 1985). Years after McGee and Kroeber recorded their observations on diet, Ascher (1962) estimated that sea turtles represented 15–20% of the Comcaac’s annual dietary intake. It is no surprise that sea turtles were, presumably, overclassified within Comcaac ethnotaxonomy. Taxonomically, Comcaac distinguish 16 kinds or variants of sea turtles: 10 green turtles, 2 loggerheads, 2 hawksbills, the olive ridley, and the leatherback (Felger and Moser 1985), many of which are far from mythical and still


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occur in the Pacific (Nabhan 2003:239). Zoological observations based on Comcaac oral history have also been productive in terms of describing new behaviors for this very well-known species (see Felger and Moser 1976). This finding should not be surprising, as Comcaac ethnotaxonomies are full of remarkably sharp ethological descriptions (Narchi 2015). Nonetheless, further ethnobiological investigation, perhaps under the lens of economic anthropology, is needed to determine the past and present role of sea turtles in the Comcaac diet. Even if no exact figures are ever established, the extensive utilization of sea turtles as an important food, material culture source, and symbolic item still make these animals the single most important resource in Seriland. After all, the Comcaac origin myth states that among all the animals that Hant Caai (the land maker) placed on a raft to dive for sand, only a male moosni (Chelonia mydas) was able to surface from the bottom of the oceans carrying a little bit of sand. Using this insignificant amount of sand, Hant Caai formed all of the land we know of and roam in (Felger and Moser 1985:100). The overall diversity, abundance, and ease of access to fishing stocks might put this heterogeneous food item among the most popular food items within the Comcaac diet. McGee assumed that 15% of the annual protein intake was derived from fish and fishing products. No discussion of these data can be found in Kroeber’s (1931) work. However, from our direct observations in the field, we think that the ethnozoological research done by Boris Malkin (1962) better grasps the real importance (about 50%) of fish in the Comcaac diet. Kroeber (1931) realized that shellfish also play an important role in the Comcaac diet. He estimated that these animals could account for about 10% of annual protein intake. These findings should cause no surprise. First, systematic large-scale exploitation of marine shell beds has been proven to be an early (more than 165,000 years ago) and successful human adaptation to coastal livelihoods (Bar-Matthews et al. 2010; Marean et al. 2008; Collareta et al. 2017). Second, shell beds are, most of the time, so easily accessible that there is no need for sophisticated and specialized tools such as fishhooks, harpoons, or bifacial stone tools (Dillehay et al. 2017). To clarify, we provide two vignettes: • Anderson (1981) has calculated the amount of time it would have taken for the inhabitants of a 37-km2 coastline in New Zealand to collect the entire marine resources found within the intertidal zone. The author estimated that an investment of 2000 man-days would be needed in order to collect the resources of such an area, considering that resources were available only during the 2-h period of low tide during daylight. Thus, a single human can collect the entire population of a 27-m2 area in an hour, or 54 m2 during a low-tide period. That means that a 2-h walk would be enough to collect 240,000 limpets (Cellana spp.), 81,000 dark top snails (Melagraphia aethiops), 33,000 turban snails (Lunella smaragua), and 21,000 pauas (Haliotis iris). • While in Seriland, one of the authors (Narchi) observed that once an octopus is spotted, a seasoned Comcaac collector can catch it in as little as 1.5 min. Narchi also managed to extract a dozen clams in 5 min. To do so, he used a Comcaac

7  The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change…


technique (Narchi et al. 2015) that required him to walk barefoot in the intertidal zone of a sandy beach in order to use his feet as a clam-detecting device. Once detected by the sole of his foot, clams were dug up with ease. Clams, while easy to gather, are not the only easily accessible mollusk within Seriland. Cathy Moser (2014) has produced excellent research on Comcaac mollusks and their uses. In her view, the Comcaac know some 190 mollusk species, of which 67 are edible and at least 57 have been used at some point as food resources (Fig. 7.4), making this a strategic animal order in the Comcaac diet. In terms of land game, it was initially thought that Coues white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (O. h. eremicus) could have been an important part of the Comcaac diet before white-tailed deer increased in economic importance (Lara-Díaz et al. 2011) and mule deer populations decreased (Quintana et al. 2016). Nonetheless, it has long been documented that deer hunting represented a difficult undertaking for the Comcaac (Carmony and Brown 1993). Therefore, McGee’s (1898) estimate that large game represented 7% of an individual Comcaac’s protein intake might not be untrustworthy. A large increase in Comcaac hunting success rates accompanied the arrival of cattle, horses, and donkeys. The i­ ntroduction

Fig. 7.4  Number of edible mollusks in the Comcaac diet


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

of these animals immediately impacted Comcaac meals, offering a new hunting niche that provided truly large packages of easy-to-get-protein. Amadeo Rea (1981) recorded a short but informative list of edible resources. According to his records, the Comcaac ate the eggs of a number of aquatic birds, including gulls, herons, and pelicans. Owls were occasionally taken, and vultures were eaten at times of extreme stress. Quail and dove were sometimes taken by boys, but were not considered a regular food item. Among the many snakes inhabiting the Sonoran Desert, only two rattlesnakes were eaten by the Comcaac. Vegetables rank low on McGee’s (1898) intake list for the Comcaac, yet their diversity is worth mentioning. Comcaac knowledge of approximately 310 species of plants occurring naturally in the region has previously been recorded (Felger and Moser 1976; Felger and Moser 1985). Within this diverse universe of Comcaac ethnobotanicals, 75 species in 40 genera have been utilized by the Comcaac for food, the most prominent being prickly pears, the fruit of 4 columnar cacti (Carnegiea gigantea, Lemaireocereus t, Machaerocereus g, and Pachycereus pringlei), eelgrass (Zostera marina), and century plant (Agave spp.) (Felger and Moser 1976). So important have been the prepared seeds of the columnar cactus Pachycereus pringlei to Comcaac daily protein intake that the storage of seeds in huge quantities has been recorded by various independent research expeditions (McGee 1898; Felger and Moser 1985). Furthermore, Yetman and Búrquez (1996) speculate that large, healthy specimens of P. pringlei were introduced into the Sierra Libre (midway between Hermosillo and Guaymas) by a number of Tepocas, one of the southernmost Comcaac bands. After being evicted from missionary lands by Spanish colonists, Tepocas started raiding the region, using the Sierra Libre as their main hideout. Curiously, P. pringlei specimens normally are found no more than a few kilometers from the Gulf of California (Turner et al. 2005), yet they exist as an isolated population in the Sierra Libre, suggesting (Yetman and Búrquez 1996) that these species were introduced, either consciously or by chance, by Comcaac raiders who had historically benefited from the taste and nutritious properties of the plant. Packrat (Neotoma spp.) nests were raided by Comcaac women in order to obtain stored seeds and fruits of six species, including ironwood (Olneya tesota).

The Comcaac Diet Today In 2008, the renowned Comcaac singer Adolfo Burgos told one of the authors (Narchi) about being born and raised on Tiburón Island, where he lived until he was a teenager. Adolfo recalled that on one trip to the mainland to sell fish he was offered some coffee with sugar. Since the first sip, he became fascinated with the flavor, which he could only contrast with the unsavory antelope jackrabbit (Lepus alleni tiburonensis) broth so frequently eaten while camping on Tiburón. Adolfo said that each time he drank sugary liquids his distaste for hare broth would increase, even though decades had passed since he last tasted it.

7  The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change…


We cannot confirm Adolfo’s story in any way other than trusting his words. However, his account is extremely useful for illustrating the changes in the dietary pattern of Sonoran Desert dwellers. Recently, Robles-Ordaz and collaborators (2017) have characterized three major dietary patterns that account for 42.6% of the variability in diet among Comcaac people: (1) a Western dietary pattern in which beef, chicken, desserts, and processed meats prevail, (2) a traditional dietary pattern that relies on the consumption of fish and other seafoods, low-fat cereals, fruits, and vegetables, and (3) a hypercaloric dietary pattern rich in sugary beverages, legumes, and wheat/corn tortillas. Among these dietary patterns, the traditional diet is statistically associated with a lower probability of prediabetes within the Comcaac community. These results may be associated with the fact that people aligned with a traditional dietary pattern have a larger intake of monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins C and E, and β-carotene. During a year-long field observation in 2008–2009, one of the authors (Narchi 2011) witnessed that the traditional dietary pattern was still alive and vibrant among Comcaac people in Haxöl Iihom. Seasonal fishing patterns, while monotonous, offered large packages of high-quality protein in the form of fish, mussels, clams, sea snails, and other marine fauna throughout the year. In addition, once every 2 weeks an itinerant merchant visited the village offering fruit and produce to people eager to buy these items and, as Adolfo, to add new flavors to an otherwise monotonous diet. When itinerant merchants offer their fruits and vegetables, a special energy infuses the community. Normally occurring on Saturdays, sales and exchange are accompanied by joyous children asking for sweet grapefruit and buttery avocado, and it is not uncommon to find a number of husbands suggesting to their partners what herbs and spices to buy in order to make a savory cocido (broth). However, it is worth noticing that all of the things that make Saturday market such a special occasion have to do with scarcity. A number of people inside the community have opened and maintained convenience stores. However, the distance between villages (at least referring to Haxöl Iihom) and places where shopkeepers can resupply makes for a costly trip, which is why it is difficult to keep all of the inventory in stock. Furthermore, the storage capabilities of these little stores do not allow for refrigeration of large quantities of produce. In addition, it would be too expensive to refrigerate large amounts of vegetables or freeze large quantities of meat in small houses and cardboard shacks in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Therefore, it is more common to find that the merchandise sold in local businesses is less perishable than fresh fruit, meat, and produce. Common items are sugary drinks, canned foods, processed bread, potato chips, candies, snacks, and bottled water. Thus, when someone within the c­ ommunity wants to break the monotony of a fish-based diet, it is usually done by consuming easily available and relatively cheap high-caloric foods. In spite of a prevailing abundance of economical and highly caloric foods, local knowledge of the seasonality, abundance, and diversity of food resources is still alive both in Comcaac oral tradition and, to a lesser extent, in daily practices. In the


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

next section, we offer a reconstruction of the food resource seasonality based on excerpts of life histories and miscellaneous oral accounts.

 he Comcaac Diet: The Reflection of a Culturally Bound Lunar T System Local food systems depend on many factors that relate to ecological, environmental, technological, political, and societal influences (Kuhnlein and Receveur 1996). The Comcaac food system is no exception, especially when considering the major transformations it has undergone within the past hundred years. However, when referring to the Comcaac food system that existed at the time of European contact and through the mid-twentieth century, climatic conditions play a central part in determining the seasonal availability and diversity of wildlife and botanical wild edibles (Fig. 7.5). Regardless of the fact that the Comcaac lunar system and the associated seasonal resource expeditions have been out of use for a long time, some elders still remember aspects of their nomadic life just before settling in the two existing Comcaac communities. In the following section, we use oral narratives elicited by semistructured interviews to reconstruct their desert wanderings throughout the lunar year. The year is first divided into two seasons—one cold and one hot. The first is called ihaapl (“cold”), and the second is called icozim (“when it is hot”). During the hot season, a lunation called Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap occurs, which means “[time] in the heat season when there is no star that accompanies [the Moon]” (Fig.  7.6). Some of the resources sought and appreciated—even today—by the

Fig. 7.5  Year-long availability of major Comcaac food items


7  The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change…

im ‘when it is h Icoz ot’


Seri Iunations





izj Cm

de sc

o Az




s th









to s e a tur tle s

tio n



tm oj liza x Xn

l ma








l ois

Lunations that refe r


Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap

e Qu



Naapxa Yaao











lmam Imam lizax

referring to stars or the ions ir a nat u L bs en


v ir



n tal a

n d s o c i a l s it u

a ti o


pl ‘when it is c old Ihaa ’ Fig. 7.6  Representation of Comcaac lunations and two seasons

Comcaac during this time are mesquite and other desert resources such as pitayas. One of the camps where Comcaac families lived in this season is called Haas Xepe Cahjíit (lit. “mesquite that falls into the sea”), located on Tiburón Island. On the other hand, during the cold season, Comcaac families preferred to be on the coast and enjoyed the resources of the sea in some of the camps where they lived. These camps used to be near fishing or mollusk collection areas. Today, camps are found along the coastal zone, in the interior of the desert, and in the mountainous area of the territory. These camps were visited periodically by some Comcaac families, who used to spend days or seasons at these sites enjoying the available resources, for example, water, mollusks, seeds, and desert fruits. One of the camps where certain families stayed during the cold season was called Zozni Cacösxaj, which is located on Tiburón Island. In this place, they could hunt fish and collect clams of various types. During ihaapl, people usually traveled to and settled in the coast where they fished and collected mollusks. Camps were used for a couple of days or even weeks every year. Zozni Cacösxaj (lit. “Zozni that is long”), a seasonal camp on Tiburón Island occupied by specific families during ihaapl to hunt fish and collect clams of various types is a good example of cold-season camps still present in Comcaac oral history.


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap (“[time] in the heat season when there is no star that accompanies [the Moon]”) is one of the many lunations occurring during icozim. According to Irma Romero, during this lunation, people moved to camps away from the beach or where there were no mosquitoes (Irma Romero, personal communication). Some of the resources sought and appreciated by the Comcaac during this time were mesquites and other desert resources such as pitayas, which are still used today. One of the camps where the Comcaac families lived in this season is called Haas Xepe Cahjíit (lit. “mesquite that falls into the sea”), located on Tiburón Island. Throughout the following sections, we present information about camps remembered by certain Comcaac elderly people (Fig. 7.7). In addition, information about territory is presented with respect to lunations when the extended families or bands (Moser 1963) lived in the desert and on the coast. With this information, it is possible to understand the relationship between the areas of temporary stay and the seasonal resources consumed by Comcaac in each season. It is possible that some camps where the Comcaac lived are no longer present in the collective memories of the group, as each family group occupied a certain part of the territory and few camps were shared between families. That is to say, a family that inhabited the north of the island rarely visited the south side. Thus, the domain and use of certain geographic zones, besides the knowledge of the resources existing in certain camps, constituted knowledge of a specific family group. The work of Moser (1963) shows that certain groups had dominion over a certain part of the territory. The Comcaac lunar system is made up of 12 periods. The names of these periods encode environmental and astronomical observations that occur at certain periods of the year. These names were initially recorded by Pinart in 1879 (cited in Moser and Marlett 2010: 157, 392, 413). Several of these terms contain the element iizax (“moon” or “month”). The presence of this term suggests that this system consisted of lunar periods. In fact, the lunar periods are framed within the solar year because the events that are described in each name are repeated annually in the same season.

Lunations Enrique Robles Barnett and Antonio Robles (personal communication) clarify that during the period Icoozlajc Iizax—the first lunar period of the system—the sun is seen at the closest point to the north. In addition, the existence of a constellation that is located in the zenith during this period is known. This constellation is called Hamooiij (“the circle”) and is recognized by several people in the community, among them René Montaño Herrera, Samuel Romero, and some members of the Robles Barnett family. It is possible that more stars were related to this time system throughout the year. Table 7.1 shows the lunation names in the Comcaac language, Cmiique Iitom lit. “what a Seri person speaks” (O’Meara 2010:20). It also shows the months in which each lunar period occurs with a literal translation. As can be seen, the names of the

7  The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change…

Fig. 7.7  Map of some Comcaac camps



G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

Table 7.1  Comcaac lunar periods and their Julian calendar equivalencies Lunation name in Cmiique Iitom 1 Icoozlajc Iizax June–July 2 Hant Yaail Ihaat Iizax July–August 3 Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap August–September 4 Queeto Yaao September–October 5 Hee Yaao October–November 6 Naapxa Yaao November–December 7 Azoj Imal Cmizj December–January 8 Cayajzaac January–February 9 Cayajaacoj February–March 10 Xnoois Ihaat Iizax March–April 11 Iqueetmoj Iizax April–May 12 Imám Imám Iizax May–June

Literal translation Moon when one heaps [the mesquite pods] Moon when the vegetation is ripe [Time] when it is hot and there is not star accompanying [the moon] When Queeto passes When Hee passes When Naapxa passes [Time] clean without star accompanying [the moon] [Turtles] the little ones travel far [Turtles] the big ones who travel far Moon when the eelgrass is ripe Moon to sit in the shade Moon when the cactus fruit ripens

lunations are descriptive, and it is remarkable that these lunar periods do not coincide with western months. The names have been reported in previous works such as Pinart (1879, cited in Moser and Malett 2010) and Kroeber (1931:11–13) and recently by Felger and Moser (1985:57), as well as in the trilingual dictionary (Moser and Marlett 2010), which includes the literal translations of expressions. Presently, the 12 names recorded in the following table are recognized by speakers of the Comcaac language, but more undocumented names may have existed, and it is probable that a period with two or more unregistered expressions was known. According to information obtained during field work, the annual Comcaac cycle begins when the sun rises in the northern horizon (Enrique Robles Barnett, personal communication). On the other hand, the weather is cold when the sun rises on the southern horizon (Roberto Molina, personal communication). According to p­ revious information, this system was a hybrid and took into account information about the stars, the sun, environmental conditions (mainly heat and cold), and the synodic cycle of the moon. The following sections detail each of the periods and some cultural practices related to each period. In addition, relevant food data are presented to understand how this system worked. Finally, some philological data relating to the names of the lunations are discussed.

7  The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change…


Lunations in Reference to Star Presence Queeto, Hee, and Naapxa We can suppose that this lunar system served as a marker for cultural activities and natural observations related to the lunar cycles, since each lunation name makes reference to astronomical or cultural situations. The system includes the name of three stars that served to synchronize the system with respect to the tropic year (Fig. 7.8). One of these stars is Queeto, which is identified as Aldebaran in Moser and Marlett (2010:478). During field work in 2012, some of the Cmiique Iitom speakers recognized Queeto star as a yellow star near the constellation called Hacosaa. (The name of this constellation refers to the stick for harvesting cactus fruit [Moser and Marlett 2010:313] and corresponds to Ursa Major.) Later, in 2013, Irma Romero and Martha Romero reinforced this observation when this star was seen from their yard. They located it near the zenith. In that same field period, Josué Robles Barnett† identified the star. He described its location based on the constellation called Hacosaa. Finally, this information was corroborated by René Montaño, who remarked that it was very probable that Queeto corresponded to the brightest star of the constellation Boyero, that is to say Arcturus. On the other hand, the star named Hee had not been identified in previous works (Felger and Moser 1985:57–58; Kroeber 1931:11). In field work, this star was recognized by the Barnett family. They explained that it is a blue star. Francisco “Largo” Barnett comments that it can be seen at dawn during the lunation that has his name: Hee Yaao. Following this description, the star that leaves the eastern hori-

Fig. 7.8  Location of the stars Queeto, Hee, and Naapxa on the stellar map


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

Fig. 7.9  Location of the Canopus star at dusk toward the west in November

zon during that lunation is Canopus (Fig. 7.9). However, some speakers comment that Hee is present during the early hours of the night during the lunation Hee Yaao. During the first days of November 2013, Irma Romero identified the star from her home, commenting that the name of this lunar period refers to the presence of this star. According to her, it is a star that can be seen in the afternoon, looking toward the south. This information was corroborated by his sister, Martha Romero. Naapxa is the name of a star that served as a marker for another season: Naapxa Yaao. According to Roberto Molina Herrera (personal communication),6 this is a red star that can be seen during December. In this period, this star can be seen in the morning and is the last one to be hidden by sunlight, but it is also one of the first to be seen in the afternoon.

 Roberto Molina is a Comcaac collaborator.


7  The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change…


Icoozlajc Iizax (“Moon When One Heaps [the Mesquite Pods]”) The period called Icoozlajc Iizax corresponds to the first lunation of the Comcaac lunation system, which takes place around June or July. This season begins around the middle of the Gregorian year (Felger and Moser 1985:57) and is relatively close to the summer solstice. According to Rentería-Valencia 2007:167), the period starts with the full moon of July. According to information collected during fieldwork, it begins the day the curvature of the moon of the warm season can be seen clearly, which is encoded in the Comcaac language by the expression iizax cmaa mocom (“moon that is lying down”). This season comes before the rainy season in the Sonoran Desert, which directly contributes to the growth of vegetation; therefore, the greening of the environment is expected after this lunar period begins. The name of this lunar period correlates with the presence of mesquite pods. During the Icoozlajc Iizax lunar period, in addition to mesquite pods, pitayas (dragon fruits) are also harvested. According to Felger and Moser (1985:190), in ancient times the seeds of the pitaya were used as food; however, today they are used exclusively for making necklaces. Another characteristic of this period is that the seeds fall on dry land, but the germination process begins with the help of the first rain. This happens around July in the Sonoran Desert, that is, still in the Icoozlajc Iizax period, when the warmest season of the year begins during the third lunar period called Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap. Literally, the expression Icoozlajc Iizax implies the harvest of mesquite pods. In ancient times, these pods were gathered in hot sand in order to be toasted and ground in a mortar (Felger and Moser 1985:57). The product was a seasonal flour with high protein content. During 2013, some young women from Punta Chueca, the Torres sisters, gathered these pods and boiled them, producing a cooked, soft, sweet fruit. This fruit was shared among the people who attended the New Year’s celebration. Field work interviews during December 2012 show that in modern times the name of this lunar period and its various activities are well known, since the name is a description of the activities that used to be carried out during this particular season. Although some people in the community are not familiar with the process of making pitaya flour, they still eat the pods. In recent years, in Haxöl Iihom, some families have harvested péchita (mesquite pods) to make flour for sale outside the community. Icoozlajc Iizax cop, tiix zó tpacta ma, icoozlajc iizax hapah ya?(7.1) Why does the period called Icoozlajc Iizax have that name?

Viviana Valenzuela asked her aunt, Irma Romero Astorga, this question. Both women were Cmiique Iitom speakers living in Punta Chueca. The answer is shown in (7.2). Although there is no emphasis on the process used to produce any product from mesquite pods, it is clear that this season is considered to be a lunar period in which pods (named haas in the Cmiique Iitom language) are found. Iizax cap, tiix haas quih iti imám iha. Ox tpacta ma x, xiica quiistox coi haas  (7.2) coi imaaizi. Hizaax oo tpacta ma, Icoozlajc Iizax impah.


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

In this season, the mesquite has péchita (its fruit), then people collect it, which is why it was called Icoozlajc Iizax.

According to information shared by the Barnett family, one of the campsites that some of the Comcaac families used to visit during this season was the so-called Haas Xepe Cahjiit, which literally means “mesquite that falls into the sea” (Moser and Marlett 2010:307) (see Fig. 7.7). This campsite is located on the side of Tiburón Island where a military base is located, an area known as Punta Tormenta. According to Roberto Molina Herrera, he and his family went to live in this place when the mesquite seeds were gone in other areas, around the months of June and July; therefore, it is possible that they arrived at this campsite by the end of the lunar period named Icoozlajc Iizax. In the case of the Tohono O’odham culture, which is related to the Comcaac, information exists about the use of mesquite during the first period of the year. According to Underhill (1997:19), this period is called Hahshani Bak Mashad and refers to the saguaro, called hahshani in the language of the Tohono O’odham. Hant Yaail Ihaat Iizax (“Moon When the Vegetation is Ripe”) The lunar period called Hant Yaail Ihaat Iizax occurs between July and August. This term is related to the greenery of the desert. During this period, rain falls and vegetation grows. The name of the lunar period has in its core structure the root of the verb ihaat (“ripen”), which, according to Moser and Marlett (2010:489), is no longer used. Nevertheless, some people still know the name of this period. Another characteristic of this period is that it is related to the ripening of plants and to seasonal rains (Kroeber 1931:11–13). In fact, during this period summer rains, which are essential for vegetative growth, begin in the Sonoran Desert (Cavazos 2008:69). The name of this lunar period refers not only to new vegetation and foliage, but also to the ephemeral plants of summer (Felger and Moser 1985:57). The reference to the environment’s green color during this season is relevant, since the term yaail appears in the name of this period, literally referring to that particular color. As is common in many Amerindian languages, the term that refers to “green” also refers to “blue.” Similarly, in the Tohono O’odham lunar system, several names of the lunar periods (Underhill 1997) are associated with the color that is noticeable at that time in the environment. As an example, the lunar period called Kohmagi (“gray”) precedes the lunar period known as Chehdagi (“green”). The latter word coincides with the seri period known as Hant Yaail Ihaat Iizax, which in its internal structure contains the verbal root -ooil ‘be green / blue’ Hant com tooil ma, taax ah oo cötpacta, hehet com tooil ma x, taax   (7.3) ah oo cötpacta iizax cap, Hant Yaail Ihaat Iizax impah. In this season vegetation becomes green, hence the name.

During this time of year, some Comcaac families were able to live for a short period of time in a campsite on Tiburón Island called Hajháx. This is also known as

7  The Seri Traditional Food System: Cultural Heritage, Dietary Change…


Tecomate camp. As shown in Fig. 7.7, it is located on the north side of the island. Some of the people that camped there for some time were Antonio Robles† and the parents of Martha Romero. This place used to be visited between July and August, which corresponds to the Icoozlajc Iizax and Hant Yaail Ihaat IIzax lunar periods and to warm weather, when there used to be honey on that side of the island (Martha Romero, personal communication). Sea animals were also consumed at this site (Roberto Molina, personal communication). According to Roberto Molina and Irma Romero, a source of fresh water exists at this campsite. However, this water is not good, as indicated by the name of the campsite. The name is derived from the first part of the sentence shown in (7.4): Hax hax xah ihtaho, ihmiisi.


Any water, I found it and I took it.

Another camp where some Comcaac families located during Imám Imám Iizax lunation was Heem ano Quiij. This camp is near Desemboque de los Comcaac and is also close to a river that flows into the Gulf of California. Moser and Marlett (2010:369) point out that this place is called Pozo Santa Rosa in Spanish. According to Lidia Ibarra, this was a camp where people lived during the periods Imám Imám Iizax and Icoozlajc Iizax, because in that zone several fruits were collected, mainly of the family Cactaceae, including ool (Stenocereus thurberi) and xaasj (Pachycereus pringlei [“cardon”]). According to the Romero Astorga family, a well called Hatajc (known as Pozo Coyote in Spanish) exists close to this camp. When people lived in this camp, they collected water and could stay there until the pitaya season was over. The men also went fishing or hunting to bring meat to the camp.  zoj Imal Icozim Quih Ano Caap (“[Time] When Is Hot and There Is No A Star Accompanying [the Moon]”) The name of the third lunar period is a complex noun phrase that describes the absence of a star. This lunar period occurs between August and September in the Gregorian calendar. During this season, temperatures reach their maximum, as indicated by the name of the season, as shown in (7.5). Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap(7.5) [time] in the warm season when there is no star accompanying [the moon] (Moser and Marlett 2010:52).

The name of this lunar period bears information about a star, specifically the absence of such a star. The following three names of the periods in the lunar system describe the presence instead of the absence of a given star. The example (7.6) shows a question asked by Viviana Valenzuela to Roberto Molina Herrera about the name that belongs to this period, and in (7.7) an explanation of the name’s origin is presented. Unlike other periods, during this period there


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

is no star that serves as an astronomical marker for the lunar period. As an example, the lunar period known as Queeto Yaao refers to the star called Queeto, which is the celestial marker for this period. Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap ticop, ¿tiix, zó tpacta ma taax quitaasit ya?(7.6) Why was that name given to the time of year called Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap? Taax oo compacta. Azoj imal quih icozim ano caap hapah ticop iiztox tanticat cöitai cmis iha. Azlc canl tamocat zo haa mota hapx tap x, hapx tiij toc cöquiij iha. Iizax quih haa tap cötafp ma, iizax ticop hoox oo xo tazoj ma, azoj canoj z ipal toc cömopa hapx imiij iha. Hant taax oo cötpacta ma, hant tahac oo cöimiimx. Azoj Imal Cmizj xah imiih. Azoj canoj z imal iha. Hanso iiztox tanticat hant taax ah azlc canl quih icala ha xo, ziix ticop hoox oo tazoj ziix z imal iha. (7.7) It was thus. A star does not accompany [the moon] in the warm period, it is said. Many stars appear in their corresponding month. But this moon is the only one not accompanied by a star, and for that reason, it is called Azoj Imal Cmizj. Many of the lunar periods are accompanied by stars, but this one is the only one that is not accompanied by a star.

The previous comment corresponds to the first part of the information offered by Roberto Molina as an explanation for the period. One interpretation implies that there are no visible stars during this period. It was necessary to delve more deeply into the matter, so Viviana-Valenzuela formulated the following question (7.8). Subsequently, the answer offered by Roberto Molina, shown in (7.9), explains that the name of the lunar period refers to the absence of a star, which is interpreted as the absence of a star as an astronomical marker for this season. Iizax hipiix thaa ma x, azoj canoj zo toc contima ya?(7.8) Is there no star in this lunar period? Ziix zo toc cömima ha. Ox hapacta ha. Queeto Yaao hapah quih cötafp ma x,  (7.9) toc cömota x, hapx miij. Taax cmis zo toc cömima ha. Taax ah oo cötpacta ma, azoj imal xah imiih. Azoj canoj z itcamal xah ittimoz oaah iha. Azoj imal xah imiih. [The star] does not come. That is why in the Queeto Yaao [period] there is a star, but not in this one. Hence the name Azoj Imal [there is no star] as it was not accompanied by a star, that is why I think they called it Azoj Imal.

Queeto Yaao (“When Queeto Passes”) The name of the lunar cycle called Queeto Yaao encodes the presence of a star known as Queeto in Cmiique Iitom. As discussed at the beginning of this chapter, it is possible that this star is Arcturus. The name of this period includes the deverbal form yaao, which expresses the movement followed by a star. This term can also be used when talking about the route followed by an animal or a human being. The lunation Queeto Yaao begins between September and October. During this period, cold weather arrives and the first of three lunations that refer directly to a

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certain star takes place. Unlike the first two lunations describing environmental events, during this lunation, the Queeto star can be seen. This star is visible near the position where the sun rises at dawn. Queeto, Arcturus, is one of the largest and emits a lot of light, so it is not surprising that it is a marker of time in the Comcaac system and therefore identified in Comcaac astronomy. In (7.10), it is possible to read how the name of this lunation appears in relation to environmental issues. This text is part of an encyclopedic description made by a Cmiique Iitom speaker and is available on the Internet.7 The description refers to a cactus called ool (Stenocereus thurberi). This same example provides an explanation of cultural activities related to vegetation during this time of year. Xiica is ccapxl coi, Queeto Yaao cop ah thaa ma x, imám. Ziix is ccapxl  (7.10) hamaax cop, taax iisax quihiih caha cöcaaixaj iha. Hamaax hax cöimap isoj áa, taax oo cmis iha. Hamaax hax cöimap cop ox mooxp; mos ox impacta. The bitter pitayas come out during the Queeto Yaao season. The wine of these pitayas is very strong, it is similar to the liquor and does not contain water. The color of this is the same as white alcohol and is used as medicine (Montaño 2010:9).

Another comment about the season called Queeto Yaao appears in (7.11). It explains why the Queeto Yaao lunation receives this name. It also explains that the names of other lunations refer to the appearance of different stars. Queeto Yaao hapah ticop zó tpacta ma Queeto Yaao hapah ya? Hizaax oo  (7.11) compacta, hizaax oo cötpacta ma, iizax ticop taax imitaasit, iiztox tamocat tcooo hax ta cöihitai cöquiih iha. Azoj canoj quih ital x, toc cömoma. Ox tpacta x, toc cömoca ha azoj canoj timoca Queeto hapah timoca, iizax Queeto Yaao hapah ticop cötafp ma x, azoj canoj Queeto hapah timoca toc cömota x, hapx caap iha x, hapx quiij iha. Hizaax oo cötpacta ma, iizax ticop Queeto Yaao impah ta x, taax oo cötpacta ma, iizax ticop Queeto Yaao impah ta x, taax oo cötpacta ma, hant tahac imitaasit. What is the reason why they put Queeto Yaao the lunation? The reason they named this moon in this way is that almost all lunations were accompanied by a star. Thus came the star named Queeto. When the Queeto Yaao lunation arrives this star appears. This moon is called Queeto Yaao, that’s why they call it Queeto Yaao.

During Queeto Yaao, some Comcaac families went to a camp called Zozni Cacösxaj. Its location is shown in Fig. 7.7. According to Roberto Molina (personal communication), his grandfather may have gone there during Queeto Yaao to Azoj Imal Cmizj, because during cold weather there were a lot of fish in the sea; therefore, that period was a good time for fishing. This camp is located on Tiburón Island, north of Cösecöla Iyat (lit. “Cösecöla its tip”), known as Campo Tormenta in Spanish. Zozni Cacösxaj has a very wide beach, and it is possible to pick up fish even without fishing instruments. One method of collecting fish was by locking them in pools when the tide was high. Rogelio Montaño Herrera (personal communication) 7 SeriTexts.htm.


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reports collecting fish from small puddles with his hands when the tide was low. Among the species caught on this site were small sharks, manta rays, and sole fish. Roberto Molina Herrera (personal communication) explains that at this camp and nearby areas they could also hunt loggerheads during hot weather. A geographical reference to Zozni Cacösxaj is a site in the middle of the sea called Xepe imac Moosni (lit. “loggerheads in the middle of the sea”). When Roberto Molina was young, they placed the canoes in this place and waited to hunt the turtles when they passed by, typically at night. Hee Yaao (“When Hee Passes”) The moon called Hee Yaao begins between the months of October and November. This name is similar to other periods that refer to another star. Kroeber (1931:11) transcribes the name of this lunation as e’ya’o, using his own annotation. He explains that the star that marks this period is also the name of the antelope jackrabbit (Lepus alleni). This star is perceived as blue and appears in the east on the horizon in a position near the point of sunrise. According to Moser and Marlett (2010:305), Sirius also receives the name of Hapa Caait, but this could also be the star that the Comcaac call Cozactim (“interceptor”). During June 2013, Roberto Herrera asked a group of people at the beach— among them Roberto Molina Herrera, the sisters Martha and Irma Romero, some younger people, Betsabé, Jezabel, and Mayra Torres—a general question while pointing to a star that was seen above the island: Tiix azoj quij zó tpai ya? He thought for a while and later asked some of the people if it was Cozactim, and they nodded. Later he began to relate that this star represents a hunter who is looking for three deer that were hidden behind Tiburón Island. Each of the stars mentioned above is important for the Comcaac; each has a particular name and relates to stories that explain the world through oral tradition. In one specific case, the star Hee is the astronomical marker of the lunation described in this section. Another environmental feature present during this period is that there are few pitayas, which have matured by this time. While it is possible to find some of these fruits during this period, they are small and sour and do not represent great ­production. In (7.12) this observation is described. Hee Yaao cop ool quih iti cömeeejam.(7.12) It is in the Hee Yaao lunation when the Pitaya matures out of time (Moser and Marlett 2010:473).

On the other hand, in (7.13) it is indicated that during this season of the year one can appreciate the star called Hee. It is thanks to the sighting of this star that people knew that this period had arrived. Iizax, tiix thaa ma, Hee quij toc cötiij ma, taax oo cötpacta ma, iizax cop ox  (7.13) hapai ha. Hee Yaao, iizax tintica Hee Yaao cop hapah iha.

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This moon is Hee, and it is when [this star appears through the firmament]. It is for this reason that this moon was named Hee Yaao.

This lunation occurs in cold weather, when some families were in the camp called Zozni Cmiipla (Antonio Robles, personal communication), whose location is shown in Fig. 7.7. This is a fishing camp located on Tiburón Island in front of Punta Chueca. According to Antonio Robles, some Comcaac families lived there during the months of November and December, which correspond to the lunations Hee Yaao and Naapxa Yaao. Naapxa Yaao (“When Naapxa Passes”) The lunation called Naapxa Yaao happens between November and December. In this season, the star Naapxa is visible at night, when cold and light rains arrive in the desert. Kroeber (1931) transcribes the name of this lunation as na’pXe-ya’o and explains that this star appears in the morning, although, as will be seen later, it is also visible in the afternoon. The Tohono O’odham recognize a star whose name translates as “buzzard” (Underhill 1997:17–19) and relate it to the same period of the year, but it has not been identified as the same star. It is clear that for the Comcaac, the star named Naapxa corresponds to Altair in the western astronomical map, and the name translates as “buzzard.” This star is aligned with the west cardinal point. During the lunation Naapxa Yaao, some Comcaac families lived temporarily in the camp called Cösecöla (Fig. 7.7). Antonio Robles lived there as a child during the months of September to December, as it was a place where members of his family went fishing. On the other hand, Enrique Robles (personal communication) relates that his parents collected mollusks and other marine animals in that place during the lunations Queeto Yaao and Naapxa Yaao. According to Martha Romero (personal communication), in that camp they could enjoy the products of fishing during the cold season. In addition, there is a watering place known as Xactoj close to that coastal camp. The men brought water from Xactoj to the camp. A second camp in which some Comcaac lived during cold weather, possibly through the Naapxa Yaao lunation, is Hast Quipac, known in Spanish as Campo Dólar (Fig. 7.7). The name of this camp is derived from the expression hast quih ipac (“behind the hill”) (Moser and Marlett 2010:351). It is also known as Zep iti Yáhitim, which literally means “where the real eagle ate” (Moser and Marlett 2010:614). It is located south of Desemboque de los Comcaac. According to Martha Romero, in this place, there were clams throughout the year, and her dad went there in cold weather when he found more fish in the sea.


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Azoj Imal Cmizj (“[Sky] Clean Without Star Accompanying [the Moon]”) The lunation called Azoj Imal Cmizj begins in December and extends to the first days of January. It occurs after three lunations whose names refer to the stars Queeto, Hee, and Naapxa. According to information obtained during field work, there are two names of lunations that describe the absence of a star as a marker of the period. The first one occurs in the hot season and is called Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap. The name of the period Azoj Imal Cmizj indicates that there is no star accompanying the moon and that the sky is perceived as clean. Furthermore, Felger and Moser (1985:57) describe the same season as the second period of the year when the moon is not accompanied by a star and indicate that it is in January. Irma Romero explains that during this season the north wind no longer blows strong; therefore, visibility in the territory is better. The literal information is presented in (7.14). Tiix iizax cop, tiix hai z iti ntmooit, hai quih itaxi, ox tpacta ma, iizax cop taax  (7.14) cöiyataasitoj. This month, the north wind no longer blows, the north wind ends, that’s the reason they named it that way.

The commentary by Irma Romero is about the wind. It explains that when the wind no longer blows on the coast the sky can be clearly seen, which is described in the name of the period by the term cmizj (“clean [sky]”). According to Felger and Moser (1985:48), in this season not only turtle hunters could hunt turtles, but also older men, unlike other periods of the year, when only young people practiced this activity. In other words, a clean time allowed the elderly more chances of success in hunting. Environmental data show that during this season the cold reaches its peak and there usually is little rainfall. According to José Ramón Torres (personal communication), who lived in Desemboque de los Comcaac when he was a child, he and his family were in several camps on Tiburón Island during the months of September to January, although there were already some cardboard houses in what is now Desemboque de los Comcaac. The months in which they were on the island are approximately equivalent to the lunations Queeto Yaao to Naapxa Yaao. After this period, during the season known as Azoj Imal Cmizj, he and his family returned to Desemboque. Now this place is one of the two Comcaac towns and, as previously mentioned, was the first of the two Comcaac settlements to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Another temporary camp where some families lived during lunation Azoj Imal Cmizj is called Xana (Fig.  7.7). This place is located between Haxöl Iihom and Socaaix in the coastal part of the territory. Its name comes from the verbal root xana (“to have bad taste”), and in Spanish it is called Campo Almo (Almos or Almon) (Moser and Marlett 2010:576), which comes from Hammond, the Sonora Fish Company from Tuscon, Arizona’s owner. Xana is a camp near a sandbank called Yaijispoj (Moser and Marlett 2010:576). According to Irma Romero (personal communication), some families went to these sites in cold weather, around the months

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of September to January. These months correspond to the lunations called Azoj Imal Icozim quih ano Caap to Azoj Imal Cmizj. Particularly, Irma Romero’s father, Alberto Romero, went to Xana to fish in January, but he could also go in hot weather because it is a camp without mosquitoes.

Lunations that Refer to Sea Turtles Cayajzaac (“[Turtles] the Little Ones Travel Far”) Cayajzaac is the name of the period that begins between January and mid-February. The name was first recorded in 1879 by Pinart (Moser and Marlett 2010:157), who related it to the month of April. For Kroeber, this lunation corresponds to January and suggests the existence of a star, but no more details are provided. A second reported observation is that small sea turtles begin to appear during this period. The name of the lunation is a composition of the plural cooyaj, which comes from cooyam (“the ones who travel far”). Linguistically, this term is a nominalized form of the subject of the verbal root ooyam (“to travel far”). This verb is combined with one of the few existing adjectives in Cmiique Iitom: zaac (“small”). This word refers to small turtles, while the word cooyam refers to slightly larger turtles. One of the features of young turtles is a yellow chest. Adults of this same species receive the name of moosni (Moser and Marlett 2010:447). During this lunation, it is possible to observe the arrival of sea turtles in the Infiernillo Channel (Angélica Romero Montaño, personal communication), which coincides with Felger and Moser’s (1985:58) observations; they explain that from the beginning of this period the arrival of the first small turtles (Chelonia mydas) can be seen in the Gulf of California. Example (7.15) gives an explanation of the name of the period from the term zaac (“small”). In that example, it is possible to appreciate that the name of the ­lunation refers to turtles. In fact, however, there are not only small turtles in that season but other species of marine animals as well. Iizax, tiix iizax Cayajzaac ticop, xiica ccam quih xepe quih ano catoocl tanticat  (7.15) caacoj zo haa ntipa aa hax ima cmis iha. Xiica ccam quih quixt tanticat haa ntitax x, tatxo x, haa nticat cmis iha. Iizax ticop thaa ma x, taax oo cötpacta ma, oaah iha, tahac oo cöomx iha. Zaac xah imiih taax, ziix quih quisil quih haa ha. Ziix quih caacoj quij imhaa ha. In Cayajzaac lunation, among the animals of the sea there are no such large animals, only the little ones are there. In that lunation, many animals go. That was the reason someone called him that. When he says zaac, it speaks of small things, not of great things.

People in the community and biological studies confirm that the five species of sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean also live in the Gulf of California (Seminoff et al. 2008: 457–458). These species are green turtle (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea).


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

During this season, the Comcaac await the arrival of green turtles, called moosni in the Cmiique Iitom language. These can arrive before the Cayajzaac lunation, depending on environmental conditions, but the largest sighting of small turtles occurs during low tide. According to Angélica Romero Montaño, of the Grupo Tortuguero Comcaac, moosni in its adult stage and cooyam in its young stage is the most common in the zone at this time. These turtles feed on, among other things, eelgrass (Zostera marina), which begins to grow in this period and is directly related to the biological cycle of turtles. During the lunar period known as Cayajzaac, sea wheat is first observed, due to the gradual increase in temperature (Felger and Moser 1985:337). Within this period, some Comcaac families lived temporarily in the camp called Ziipxöl Iifa. This name refers to greenwood trees (Cercidium microphyllum), which are called ziipxöl (Moser and Marlett 2010:615). According to Lidia Ibarra Barrera (personal communication), the flowers of this tree were eaten with honey. Ziipxöl Iifa was a camp to which Comcaac people returned when sea turtles crossed the Infiernillo Channel, around February and March. This period corresponds to the lunations Cayajzaac, Cayajaacoj, and Xnoois Ihaat Iizax. Ramona Barnett says that near that place she collects bitter pitayas and mud to make pots and dolls. This camp is located in the continental zone, near the place they call Campo de las Víboras (“snake field”); its approximate location can be seen in Fig.  7.7. According to Martha Romero (personal communication), people hunted sea turtles, which were then purchased by an external client of the community during the second half of the twentieth century. Cayajaacoj (“[The] Big [Turtles] Who Travel Far”) The ninth lunation is called Cayajaacoj. The beginning of this period is in February, and it ends in the middle of March. According to Felger and Moser (1985:57), this period corresponds to March. Its name is structurally similar to the previous one, since both are compositions formed from nominalized forms. Unlike the previous lunation, the name of this period describes the arrival of adult sea turtles. The name of this period can be decomposed. Within this term, we can appreciate the segment caacoj, which refers to large adult turtles. The sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) was a very important food resource for many Comcaac during Cayajzaac, Cayajaacoj, and Xnoois Ihaat Iizax. These animals are present during those seasons in Infiernillo Channel. In (7.16) an explanation about the period is presented. Moosni caacöl quih iti hapx iihom, taax oo cöpacta ma, iizax cop ox hapai ha.  (7.16) The big turtles are outside and that’s why it was called that.

According to Roberto Molina Herrera, who devoted most of his life to fishing, in this period large animals arrive at the sea, but there are also small turtles in the area.

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In (7. 17) we present a literal observation about the type of animals that can be observed during this period in the sea. Iizax, tiix Cayajaacoj hapah ticop, tiix iizax ticop, ziix ccam quih xepe ano quiih  (7.17) coox chaa x, catax iha. Hant quih cöcatoocl iha. Ox tpacta x, iizax ticop, tiix itaait x, toc conticat iha, quixt xah, caacöl xah tcooo x, pti quiinim iha. He cöihoocta hac hant taax oo hant cohtzam, ihmiya. [In] the month that is called Caayajaacoj, all the animals of the sea move and travel. That’s when the big animals get together with the boys [already here]. I look at it and understand it this way.

Previously, turtle hunting was commonly done by harpooning or trapping in the lower areas of the sea. A hunter could also hunt turtles in their nests even if it was not hunting season (Roberto Molina Herrera, personal communication). During the seasons when turtles are present in Infiernillo Channel, some Comcaac families stayed temporarily in coastal camps where they could hunt turtles. One of these camps is called Hoona and is near Socaaix. This camp has two areas linguistically identified, the first is Hoona Iyat (lit. “Hoona’s point”), and the second is Hoona Yaiij. The latter area is a sandbank (Moser and Marlett 2010:384). According to the Romero Astorga family, people who lived in Socaaix went to collect water in this camp when it was absent or scarce in the village. Irma Romero recalls that there was a large mesquite near this area and a well where they collected water. In that camp, they stayed for several days during the periods Cayajaacoj and Xnoois Ihaat Iizax. According to Irma Romero (personal communication), her family went to Hoona to collect xpanaams (“seaweed”). She says that when her father took his family to that place, there were still no seagrasses at the camp. By calculating the weather through environmental observations, he knew when the algae would reach the area; thus, 2 or 3 days after their arrival, the seashore was filled with these seagrasses. At that moment, all the members of the family pulled the algae to the beach to let them dry for 4 days. Later, they collected the seeds, which are called xnoois in the Comcaac language. Xnoois Ihaat IIzax (“Moon When the Eelgrass Is Ripe”) Xnoois Ihaat Iizax is the name of the lunation that begins in mid-March and ends in April. This period is described in Kroeber as the time of the year in which the wheat seed of the eelgrass is ripe, and it is named xnoois in Cmiique Iitom. The name of this lunation refers specifically to the ripening of marine wheat. It includes the verbal form ihaat, which has fallen into disuse in everyday speech (Moser and Marlett 2010:489). This period is linked to the two previous periods because sea turtles are present. Unlike previous lunations, the name of this lunar period does not refer to sea turtles, but they are present in Comcaac territory at this time. Instead, it describes the presence of xnoois, which is linked to sea turtles by the fact that this seed is turtles’ preferred food (Angélica Montaño, personal communication). Throughout this


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lunation, sea turtle hunting activities were more sophisticated. Due to the presence of algae in the sea, a Comcaac hunter could identify a turtle during both day and night on a reef where algae were present. A hunter located his raft at a specific point in the sea, guided by observing the tips of the mountains to know where the reefs were, although they were not evident on the marine surface. With an exact location on the reef, the hunter could identify a turtle by the sound it produced among the vegetation of sea. He put one end of the oar to his ear and the other end into the water (Felger and Moser 1985:378). Today, sea turtles are no longer hunted, but some older speakers may still describe the hunt. In (7.18), the etymology of the lunation is presented with respect to the activities carried out during this period. Iizax cap, tiix thaa ma x, xnoois com haxoj tooit ma x, xiica quiistox cöihaazi hac   (7.18) taax oo cötpacta ma, iizax hipcop, tiix Xnoois Ihaat Iizax impah. On this lunation, the sea wheat came to the sea by the action of the wind, people harvested it, that’s why they called it that.

As can be seen, sea wheat grows in Comcaac territory during this lunation. The seed was harvested during this time of the year and was used in a number of ways, one of which is described in Moser and Marlett (2010:278): “The woman puts sea wheat seeds in a little bowl to remove dirt and bits of garbage that are mixed.” According to Irma Romero, seeds could be stored like flour. This was consumed during Xnoois Ihaat Iizax and the following lunations and represented a very nutritious seasonal food for the Comcaac people. During Xnoois Ihaat Iizax, some Comcaac families lived temporarily in a camp located on the west side of Tiburón Island. This camp is called Inoohcö Cmiixaz, and its location can be seen in Fig. 7.7. In this place, the family of José Ángel Montaño went to collect pods of mesquite or péchita, called haas in the Cmiique Iitom language. With these pods, one could make haas copxöt (“mesquite flour”) (Moser and Marlett 2010:306). This flour was stored and used later to flavor atole with loggerhead oil. In this same camp, Martha Romero (personal communication) says her family went to collect honey during this season and stayed there for several days.

Other Lunations Iqueetmoj Iizax (“Moon to Sit in the Shade”) The eleventh lunation occurs between April and May. The name of this period includes the word iqueetmoj, which refers to “resting,” specifically to sitting in the shade. At present, some people recognize the phrase, although it is in disuse (Moser and Marlett 2010:423); it comes from the term caqueetmoj. According to Enrique Robles Barnett (personal communication), the term queetmoj is used to refer to a person who is under a tree snoozing in the day. Example

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(7.19) indicates that it is not only humans who seek the shade during this time but also other living beings. Iizax cop Iqueetmoj Iizax cop cöipah hac iizax, tiix thaa ma x, xiica ccámotam (7.19) hehe an com ano coom com ihiizat quih itcaat x ano toii x, ihiizat toii x, hant quih iti toii ma x, taax oo cötpacta ma, iizax cop taax oo cöhapai ha. The reason why Iqueetmoj Iizax it’s the name of lunation is that all the living beings on the mountain go in search of the shadows. That is the reason why the lunation is known like Iqueetmoj Iizax.

The explanation offered by Felger and Moser (1985:57) is that during this period one can enjoy the warmth and breeze of spring. According to Alfredo López, during this season the climate is pleasant and the Comcaac went to the sea to collect small turtles, which they obtained without any type of instrument. During this lunation, two species of fish were consumed—a type of sardine (Leuresthes sardina), called caha, and tzih (Sphoeroides annulatus), which is known as botete in Sonora. Sardines arrive at the Gulf of California with the first sea turtles. The Comcaac hunted these fish by striking them with branches as they came to spawn on the seashore (Felger and Moser 1985:41). Another marine species present in the Gulf of California is shark. In fact, Kroeber (1931:11) explains that sharks arrive during this lunation, and the transcription he uses for this period is iqê’tmu hi’caX. Imám Imám Iizax (“Moon When the Cactus Fruit Ripens”) The lunation called Imám Imám Iizax begins with the cycle of the moon in May and ends in June. The end of this lunation coincides approximately with the summer solstice, which happens between June 21 and 22. During this period, temperatures rise in the Sonoran Desert, producing the opening of the fruit’s columnar cactus. Maturation of pitayas is coded with the word imám and literally means “when its fruit is ripe.” Imám Imám Iizax is the last period in the lunation’s annual system (Felger and Moser 1985:57–58; Kroeber 1931:11), but the activity described during this season is closely related to the following one, which is Icoozlajc Iizax (“Moon when one heaps [the mesquite pods]”). In both periods, harvesting activities are carried out; pitayas are still collected at the end of June and beginning of July. According to Viviana Valenzuela (personal communication), this is an activity performed by women using wooden sticks called hacosaa (Moser and Marlett 2010:313). Kroeber (1931:11) describes this period as the moment in which the fruit called ema’m is collected. As previously noted, the name of the period includes the term imám twice. Each term semantically contributes information relevant to the name of the period. The first element, imám, refers to pitaya of the columnar cactus, while the second element refers to the state of maturation of pitaya. At present, pitayas are collected as seasonal food and are prepared as a red drink called imám hamaax (“pitaya wine”), which is a sweet and fermented drink that can


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

contain water or just the liquid from the pitaya, depending on the desired concentration. The consumption of pitayas is also present in other cultures; the Tohono O’odham collected saguaro pitayas in the same season and made wine for their New Year’s party (Underhill 1997:17–19). Comcaac made wine with cardon, organ, saguaro, or sour pitaya, the latter type producing the strongest wine (Felger and Moser 1985:247). According to Felger and Moser (1985), before 1925 pitayas of organ and saguaro were used almost exclusively for wine production. At present, pitayas of the organ cactus (Stenocereus thurberi, or ool) and xaasj (Pachycereus pringlei, or cardon), in addition to the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea, or mojepe), are commonly collected. As shown in (7.20), during the lunation Imám Imám Iizax, the presence and maturation of different cactus fruits are remarkable. Iizax cop imám quih iti cötmam ma, taax oo cötpacta ma, iizax cap ziix chaa  (7. 20) quih itaaj ma, taax ox cötpacta ma, iizax cap, taax imitaasit, Imám Imám Iizax. In this lunation the fruits of the cactus become ripe. Based on that they named it that way. Since then, the lunation has been known as Imám Imám Iizax.

The Comcaac lunar system is similar to the Tohono O’odham system, as they both include a lunar period describing the ripening of pitayas, but the Tohono O’odham system specifically makes reference to the pitayas of the saguaro (Underhill 1997:19). In this system, this is the first season of the year, and it takes place between the months of May and June, while for the Comcaac it is the last season. In the past, seeds of pitayas were used to make a drink similar to atole. Felger and Moser (1985:259) describe that these pitayas were not only consumed throughout this lunation, but could be dried and stored for later consumption using a bag made from a turtle’s stomach. During the Imám Imám Iizax period, some Comcaac families lived temporarily in a place called Hast Hax, also known as Pozo Peña (Moser and Marlett 2010:349). Its location is shown in Fig. 7.7. This is a place close to Bahía Kino. Some people of the Romero Astorga family recognize this place as a temporary camp where people stayed during pitaya season, approximately during the Imám Imám Iizax lunation. Irma Romero says that near this camp people collected pitayas in Socaaix. Nevertheless, they never camped there; people returned to Hast Hax camp because in Socaaix there was no water. The name of this camp consists of the terms hast (“stone”) and hax (“fresh water”) because in that place there is fresh water at the base of a hill. Another camp where some Comcaac families located during Imám Imám Iizax lunation was Heem ano Quiij. This camp is near Desemboque de los Seris and is close to a river that flows into the Gulf of California. Moser and Marlett (2010:69) point out that this place is also called Pozo Santa Rosa in Spanish. According to Lidia Ibarra, this was a camp where people lived during the periods Imám Imám Iizax and Icoozlajc Iizax because in that zone several fruits were collected, mainly of the cacti known as ool (Stenocereus thurberi) and xaasj (Pachycereus pringlei, or cardon). According to the Romero Astorga family, close to this camp a good water

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source called Hatajc exists, which is known as Pozo Coyote in Spanish. When people lived in this camp, they collected water and could stay there until pitaya season was over. Also, the men went fishing or hunting to bring meat to the camp.

Discussion and Conclusions As with all other human groups in the Americas, numerous and sudden changes occurred in Comcaac livelihoods following European contact. These changes are most visible in population numbers, residence, and range, but they can also be seen in the abandonment of their food and medicine systems (see Felger and Moser 1985). Cultural assimilation and its obvious consequences—food systems erosion and the introduction of new dietary schemes—create a significant, and usually deleterious, effect on adaptive strategies and livelihoods (Sherman et  al. 2015). These effects may well be the primary cause of the emergence of health problems in the form of chronic illnesses, namely obesity and obesity-related chronic degenerative diseases (Bray 2015). However, dietary changes should not be considered the sole factor. Roblez-Ordaz and collaborators (2017) provide sufficient statistical evidence to suggest that, along with the changes in dietary patterns, prediabetic conditions are strongly associated with low-intensity physical activity. These results are compatible with observations made by Esparza-Romero and collaborators (2015), who show that there is some statistical influence of modernity in increasing obesity and diabetes rates in other rural communities in Sonora. The aforementioned research is closely related to the Comcaac case. In order to calculate wealth indexes, Narchi (2011) recorded that a number of Comcaac owned a car or truck, cell phone, diving equipment, fishing traps, rifle, fishing boat, television, satellite television service and decoder, air conditioner units, and/or outboard motors. These items closely resemble those assets that Esparza-Romero and collaborators (2015) used to create their modernization index. Many of these assets, specifically cars, televisions, and television services, along with air conditioner units, make a difference when trying to endure the hot afternoons in the Sonoran Desert. These assets also invite the average user to engage in low-intensity physical activity, practiced indoors, for the most part. While there are no hard data to prove that there has been a shift in time allocation regarding indoor versus outdoor activities, it is easy to suppose that this change has taken place among the Comcaac. A short walk through the village of Haxöl Iihom after 1:00 p.m. will prove that most of the people are taking shelter indoors and away from the sun and heat. Furthermore, a shift toward preferential use of cars within the community is easily perceived. In 2008, it was quite common to see people, mainly youth, who, despite living two or three blocks away from their relatives, would come in their car to pay a visit. These behaviors are also reflected in the findings of Hills (2000), who showed that the mental maps that can be drawn by the Comcaac tend to become smaller as ­generations go by.


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

However strong the relationship between modernity, obesity, and low energy expenditure may seem, it should be taken with caution. Current models relating obesity to a decreased energy expenditure in industrial lifestyles have been challenged by research showing similar metabolic rates across dissimilar cultures (Pontzer et al. 2012), suggesting that total daily energy expenditure may be a stable physiological constraint for our species. It appears then that vulnerability and adaptive capacities of hunter-gatherer societies and their food systems are far more complex than previously imagined. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that there is at least a mild relationship between high-caloric food ingestion and obesity in transitioning societies (Johnson-Down et al. 2015; Thurber et al. 2017; Rosinger et al. 2013). Specifically for the Comcaac, we cannot neglect the need for future research focusing on the relations between high caloric food ingestion, obesity, and diabetes. There is a lot of utility in trying to understand the transitional stage of the Comcaac society through the lens of social-ecological systems (cf. Solich and Bradtmöller 2017). Hunter-gatherers have historically been portrayed as simple and affluent societies surrounded by an exuberant and all-providing environment. However, these societies, in comparison with horticulturalists and other food-­ producing societies, have less control over the spatial and temporal distribution of their resources. In fact, the Comcaac case shows that in the second half of the ­twentieth century, Comcaac people began to depend more on the Mexican economy and, therefore, left behind some customs and ways of relating to the environment. They stopped performing some activities that kept them in constant physical activity, such as walking in the desert, collecting desert seeds and fruits, hunting, and fishing. While maintaining this way of life, it was necessary to maintain environmental and astronomical observations through which people planned the mobilization of extended family groups to different camps, always looking for areas with necessary feeding conditions. It cannot be said that all extended family groups maintained the same mobilization system or that they used the same camps. Kelly (1995) shows that it is not possible to generalize characteristics among hunter-gatherer societies because each group developed differently, depending on their specific hunting and gathering area. A potential effort for a healthy diet would be based on local food resources without refined sugars. Therefore, in order to survive, such societies are obliged to build large bodies of knowledge organized in such a way that they can recognize and understand the ­patterns of distribution and concentration of resources (Boyd and Richerson 1995). The higher a society’s sophistication in recognizing the patterns of distribution and concentration of natural resources and the greater its ability to harness these natural resources sustainably through time, the greater its connectedness to the environment. Although the Comcaac system of lunations was based mainly on the movement of the stars and was related to the means of production, in reality it allowed the Comcaac to recognize and organize the time and activities that they had to carry out throughout the solar year. In fact, it helped them organize the movement of extended family groups through the Sonoran Desert when they were looking for water sources and seasonal food in the desert.

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For Solich and Bradtmöller (2017), greater degrees of connectedness imply higher adaptation and thus a relatively low level of specialized knowledge regarding particular resources, lower exploitation efficiency, and the need for a larger area to satisfy societal requirements. Hunter-gathering societies show, until recently, such a degree of connectedness. Relatively stable conditions have allowed for hunter-­ gathering societies to adapt to particular environmental conditions. Such adaptations enabled for the accumulation and development of specialized environmental knowledge and techniques such as the seasonality of particular food resources and hence the institutionalization of annual foraging routes. Presently, a whole spectrum of synergistic phenomena; sedentism, dietart shift, market encroachment, shrinkage of the roaming ranges, represent new challenges and the need for sudden and dynamic adaptations dependent upon informative campaigns and continuous education programs. Such is the Comcaac case. This is a society that has built a highly sophisticated taxonomic system (Berlin 1992; Felger et al. 1976), a vast and diverse pharmacopoeia (Felger and Moser 1985; Narchi et al. 2015), and, as exhibited throughout this paper, a lunar-based oral record of spatial and temporal distribution and availability of food resources throughout their territory. Throughout this paper we have shown that while still present in the collective memories of the Comcaac society and partially present in daily life, the Comcaac food system cannot be fully seen in place, as it is constantly being affected by a multiplicity of social and biological factors that are forcing it to recede, extend, and reorganize throughout time. Numerous efforts to revive the Comcaac food system have worked for a while (e.g., Nabhan 2012). However, other attempts have been built in the spirit of attracting tourists and catering to them rather than ensuring a deep and permanent change for the Comcaac (Luque and Cabrera 2012). We do not want to be misunderstood, as it is in our best interest to promote the economic and social development of the Seri people, be it through ecotourism, better fisheries management, conservation schemes, or any other legal route available. However, economic development cannot come at the price of making cultural resources exotic, especially when all evidence points toward a progressive erosion of ecological knowledge. Indigenous groups around the world have expanded on oral traditions by writing stories of food gathering and producing recipe books (Bodirsky and Johnson 2008). Much has to be done in terms of research if it is within the interests of the Comcaac community to revive their food system. Up to this point, most of the Comcaac dietary information we know has been derived from proxies. In other words, it has been elicited through indirect methods such as ethnobiological surveys, food frequency questionnaires, and oral accounts. From these methods, we derive conclusions and infer realities, assuming there is no need to cross-check our data. A truly productive endeavor would imply working side by side with the Comcaac society to create a complete catalogue of Comcaac food items in order to totally reconstruct the food system. This catalogue must be paired with good old-fashioned anthropological methods, such as focal follows, weight days, and biological ­censuses (Godoy 2012). These methods will allow both local collaborators and


G. Hernández-Santana and N. E. Narchi

o­ utside researchers to have detailed observations of cash and food flow into households; time, allocation, spatial distribution, diversity, and nature of the activities performed within the community; and, finally, the abundance and diversity of the surrounding fauna and flora (although much of the latter has already been done by Richard Felger, Jeff Seminoff, Lloyd Findley, and a number of their students). We have previously established that the Comcaac range has contracted to a meager 4% of its original area, and this should limit the amount and type of resources original to the Comcaac food system. However, the data we have collected from Comcaac collaborators born in the twentieth century adheres to the food resources existing in present-day Seriland and not beyond that. The area, while small in comparison to the greater Comcaac territory, is still a rich and biodiverse landscape/ seascape presenting a fairly good state of conservation for most of its ecotopes (Narchi 2011). Furthermore, the present area of the Seriland, encompassing both communities, a narrow coastal strip of land between them, and Tiburón Island adds up to a total area of 205,791 ha, some 196 ha per individual (Zárate Valdez 2016). In addition, Comcaac people hold rights for the exclusive use of 130 linear km of coasts and beaches that are full of food resources still familiar to a vast majority of the adult population. In the recent past, and in spite of not having a highly stratified political structure, members of the Comcaac society, especially a small sector of educated youth, have organized against exogenous development programs, including a biofuel plant (Enciso 2007) and a recent mining project called La Peineta (Martínez 2015). These actions attest to the intensity by which Comcaac people have appropriated and defended their culture, territory, and the resources embedded therein. In such a light, there have never been more favorable circumstances to work together toward the territorialization of the Comcaac foodscape—a mission that necessarily implies the reappropriation of their food system and the eventual (re)awakening of dietary ­resilience among the Comcaac. Acknowledgments  We would like to thank the people of Haxöl Iihom and Socaaix, who for years have supported our presence, field work, and many questions, some of which seemed truly pointless at times. We are grateful for the rich conversation and exchange of points of view we have shared with Dr. Julián Esparza (CIAD) since we first started thinking about this chapter. We are greatly in debt to Marina Chavez for her help with reference management and to Arli De Luca and Blanca Páramo for their thoughtful comments and observations. Finally, we thank our institutions, UNAM and ColMich, for supporting our research efforts.

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Godoy, R. (2012). Indians, markets, and rainforests: Theoretical, comparative, and quantitative explorations in the neotropics. New York: Columbia University Press. Gurven, M., Allen-Arave, W., Hill, K., & Hurtado, A. M. (2001). Reservation food sharing among the Ache of Paraguay. Human Nature, 12(4), 273–297. Hama-Ba, F., Parkouda, C., Kamga, R., Tenkouano, A., & Diawara, B. (2017). Availability, patterns and frequency of consumption of traditional African vegetables in four localities with various market gardening activities in Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou, Koubri, Loumbila, Kongoussi. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 17(1), 11552–11570. Harris, M. (1989). Good to eat: Riddles of food and culture. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. Haynes, C. V., Damon, P. E., & Grey, D. C. (1966). Arizona radiocarbon dates VI. Radiocarbon, 8, 1–21. Henry, J. P., Meehan, J. P., & Stephens, P. M. (1967). The use of psychosocial stimuli to induce prolonged systolic hypertension in mice. Psychosomatic Medicine, 29(5), 408–432. Herrera-Marcos, R. (1988). Yaqui hands. Journal of the Southwest, 30(4), 493–501. Hills, J. (2000). Seri maps. Journal of the Southwest, 42(3), 577–582. INEGI (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía). (2013). Censo de población y vivienda, 2010. Johnson-Down, L., Labonte, M.  E., Martin, I.  D., Tsuji, L.  J. S., Nieboer, E., Dewailly, E., Egeland, G., & Lucas, M. (2015). Quality of diet is associated with insulin resistance in the Cree (Eeyouch) indigenous population of northern Quebec. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, 25(1), 85–92. Jones, B. M. (2017). Producing heritage: Politics, patrimony, and palatability in the reinvention of lowcountry cuisine. Food Culture & Society, 20(2), 217–236. Johns, T., Powell, B., Maundu, P., & Eyzaguirre, P. B. (2013). Agricultural biodiversity as a link between traditional food systems and contemporary development, social integrity and ecological health. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 93(14), 3433–3442. Kaminer, B., & Lutz, W.  P. W. (1960). Blood pressure in Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. Circulation, 22(2), 289–295. Kelly, R. L. (1995). The foraging spectrum. Diversity in hunting-gathering lifeways. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. Kroeber, A. L. (1931). The Seri. Los Angeles: Southwest Museum Papers. Kuhnlein, H. V. (2000). The joys and pains of sampling and analysis of traditional food of indigenous peoples. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 3(4), 649–658. Kuhnlein, H. V., & Receveur, O. (1996). Dietary change and traditional food systems of indigenous peoples. Annual Review of Nutrition, 16(1), 417–442. Lara-Díaz, N. E., Coronel-Arellano, H., González-Bernal, A., Gutiérrez-González, C., & López-­ González, C. A. (2011). Abundancia y densidad de venado cola blanca (Odocoileus virginianus couesi) en Sierra de San Luis, Sonora, México. Therya, 2(2), 125–137. Ledesma-Vázquez, J., & Carreño, A. L. (2010). Origin, age, and geological evolution of the Gulf of California. In R.  C. Brusca (Ed.), The Gulf of California: Biodiversity and conservation (pp. 7–23). Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. Lee, R. B., & DeVore, I. (Eds.). (1968). Man the hunter. Chicago: Aldine. Luque, D., & Cabrera, E. (2012). Del mar y del desierto. Gastronomía de los Comcaac (Seris). Ecoturismo y pueblos indígenas. Hermosillo: Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo, A.C. Malkin, B. (1962). Seri ethnozoology (Occasional Papers of the Idaho State College Museum). Pocatello, ID: Idaho State College. Manzel, A., Muller, D.  N., Hafler, D.  A., Erdman, S.  E., Linker, R.  A., & Kleinewietfeld, M. (2014). Role of “Western diet” in inflammatory autoimmune diseases. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, 14(1), 404. Marean, C. W., Bar-Matthews, M., Bernatchez, J., Fisher, E., Goldberg, P., Herries, A. I., et al. (2008). Human use of marine resources, pigments, and bladelets at Pinnacle Point Site 13B (South Africa) during the Middle Pleistocene. Paleoanthropology Society Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada, March 2008.


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Marlett, A. S. (2011). The Seris and the Comcaac: Sifting fact from fiction about the names and relationships (Work Paper ILV). work-papers/_files/docs/2011-marlett.pdf Marroquín, A. D. (1957). Situación de los indios Seris de Sonora. Boletin Indigenista, 1957(4), 332–343. Martínez, M. (2015, April 15). En busca de oro, minera explora ilegalmente zona sagrada de los Seris. Proceso. Retrieved February 14, 2018, from en-busca-de-oro-minera-explora-ilegalmente-zona-sagrada-de-los-seris McGee, W. J. (1898). The Seri Indians. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. McGee, W.  J. (1896). Expedition to Papagueria and Seriland: A preliminary note. American Anthropologist, 9(3), 93–98. Mlingi, N.  L., & Bainbridge, Z. (1994). Reduction of cyanogen levels during sun-drying of cassava in Tanzania. Acta Horticulturae, 375, 233–240. ActaHortic.1994.375.23. Montaño H. R. (2010). Xaaslca coi Iicp hac. [Acervo seri]. Monzón, A. (1953). Seri social structure. La sociología en México: Boletín del Seminario Mexicano de Sociología, III(I), 89–92. Moran, E. (2008). Human adaptability. An introduction to ecological anthropology. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Moser, E. (1963). Seri Bands. The Kiva, 28, 14–27. Moser, C. (2014). Shells on a desert shore: Mollusks in the Seri world. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Moser, B., & Marlett, S. A. (2010). Comcaac quih yaza quih hant ihiip hac: Diccionario seri-­ español-­inglés (2nd ed.). Hermosillo & Mexico City: Universidad de Sonora & Plaza y Valdés Editores. Moser, M. B. (1988). Seri history. Journal of the Southwest, 30(4), 469–501. Murdock, G. P. (1968). The current status of the world’s hunting and gathering peoples. In R. B. Lee & I. DeVore (Eds.), Man the hunter. Chicago: Aldine. Nabhan, G. P. (2003). Singing the turtles to sea: The Comcaac (Seri) art and science of reptiles. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Nabhan, G. P. (2012). Rooting out the causes of disease: Why diabetes is so common among desert dwellers. In C. Counlan & P. Van Esterik (Eds.), Food and culture: A reader (pp. 330–341). New York: Routledge. Narchi, N. E. (2011). One knowledge, two conduits: The social, demographic, and toxicological factors that govern Seri ethnomedicine. The University of Georgia: PhD dissertation. Narchi, N.  E. (2015). Environmental violence in Mexico: A conceptual introduction. Latin American Perspectives, 42(5), 5–18. Narchi, N. E., Aguilar-Rosas, L. E., Sánchez-Escalante, J. J., & Waumann-Rojas, D. O. (2015). An ethnomedicinal study of the Seri people; A group of hunter-gatherers and fishers native to the Sonoran Desert. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 11(1), 62. https://doi. org/10.1186/s13002-015-0045-z. Neel, J. V. (1962). Diabetes mellitus: A “thrifty” genotype rendered detrimental by “progress”? American Journal of Human Genetics, 4(14), 353–362. O’Dea, K. (1991). Cardiovascular disease risk factors in Australian aborigines. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 18(2), 85–88. O’Meara, K.C. (2010). Seri landscape classification and spatial reference (PhD dissertation, New York University at Buffalo). Padmavati, S., & Gupta, S. (1959). Blood pressure studies in rural and urban groups in Delhi. Circulation, 19(3), 395–405. Pontzer, H., Raichlen, D.  A., Wood, B.  M., Mabulla, A.  Z., Racette, S.  B., & Marlowe, F.  W. (2012). Hunter-gatherer energetics and human obesity. PLoS One, 7(7), e40503.

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Chapter 8

Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial Organization, and Natural Resources Esteban Tello-Fernández and Octavio Augusto Montes-Vega

Introduction Without doubt, we live in a world interconnected by capitalist-oriented economic networks that imagine and seek to design a homogeneous, deterritorialized space. This globalized world presents landscapes with discourses on optimal economic development unimaginable in other epochs. However, spatial responses to this development reveal the opposite: unprecedented poverty, violence, and environmental degradation. This imbalance of social forces, called unequal geographical development by some scholars, is held up as the only possible form of progress— one in which markets and classical economics merge and then emerge, as an apparently “natural” being that directs and orders the globe. Together with this unilinear vision, we find distinct ways of perceiving this global space, through critical analyses that run parallel to the discourses and theories that reinforce the hegemony of the capitalist system. Ethnography-based anthropology, critical geography, sociology, and political economy have proposed alternative approaches that focus attention on the particularities of social groups, their organizational systems, and their responses in specific times and spaces. Based on such studies, this chapter discusses a group of fishers whose particular spatial and cultural characteristics have allowed them to preserve forms of social organization with which they respond to and resist the onslaughts of a capitalist market economy that strives to blur territorial divisions and homogenize political criteria. To achieve this objective, we incorporate, on the one hand, concepts that will clarify the term “militant particularisms” used by David Harvey and Raymond Williams (Harvey 2004: 196), especially region, territory, community, territorialization, and deterritorialization (Haesbaert 2011: 107–109) and, on the other,

E. Tello-Fernández (*) · O. A. Montes-Vega Center for Human Geography Research, El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C., La Piedad, Michoacán, México © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

e­thnography as a key tool for describing, interpreting, and analyzing this case, where particular resistances and forms of social organization operate in a struggle to have local differences recognized and respected.1

Regional Configurations and Territorial Construction Littorals are strategic spaces that mark sovereignty by establishing political boundaries with other national states, but they also contain whole series of valuable natural resources that increase the wealth of nations even though they may not be located inside a country’s landed territory. Because Mexico’s littorals are physically remote from the capital city, control over their coastal populations is often lax. This is certainly true of the Costa Chica region on the Pacific coast,2 which stretches from Puerto Ángel in the state of Oaxaca to Acapulco in the state of Guerrero (Fig. 8.1). It includes systems of low hills and plains characteristic of the lower reaches of the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range, which runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean (Correa and Velázquez 2007: 80–81) and forms a watershed with distinct hydrological basins that drain into the ocean (CONAGUA 2012: 21). The average width of the Costa Chica maritime littoral is 50–75 km (Rodarte García 1997: 44). At the eastern edge, its plains meet the piedmont and the sierra. The marked heterogeneity of climates and vegetation in this relatively small space fosters the exchange of myriad products. Throughout the region, rains occur from May to October, marking both the climatic niche that emerges in the drainage basin and the events that take place there: that is, the physical-chemical and biological processes that occur in the bodies of water and significantly affect fishing. These phenomena lend a certain uniformity to some social rhythms involved in agriculture and cattle ranching. The rivers and streams that crisscross the region are tremendously important, especially in the rainy season, when their levels may rise high enough to impede travel on roads and highways. According to the hydrological divisions in the area elaborated by Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de Agua (National Water Commission, CONAGUA), the Costa Chica covers two regions, numbers 20 and 21, known as the Costa Chica de Guerrero and the Costa de Oaxaca, respectively (Villerías Salinas 2009; Rodarte García 1997; CONAGUA 2012). The population of the Costa Chica is notably diverse, including several indigenous peoples—Amuzgos, Nahuas, Tlapanecos, Mixtecos, Tacuates—together with mestizo localities and people of African descent (Campos 1999: 149; Hoffmann 2007a: 99). Indeed, it is one of the few zones in Mexico where the latter population can still be found, struggling to gain the recognition of the State as a distinct demographic and cultural group that would allow them to obtain a series of benefits to  Harvey and Haesbaert are critical geographers and analysts of the global phenomenon seen as imperialism with unequal geographies in which local resistances and negotiations are created that must be seen in a particular way from direct observation. 2  The Mexican littoral on the Pacific Ocean is the longest, as it runs for 7828 km (INEGI 2016: 48). 1

8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


Fig. 8.1  Map of the Costa Chica region

improve their material and social conditions. Today, their language is Spanish and they preserve few—if any—African cultural traits, and it is difficult to define them based on racial features or phenotype, due to the effects of the miscegenation that has enveloped them during their time in the region. One element that these African descendants do share is their involvement in certain processes from the moment of their arrival, but the reconstruction of that history remains unfinished (Chasse and Martínez 1993; Widmer Sennhauser 1993; Chassen-López 1998). Africans arrived in Mexico as a consequence of Spanish colonization, having been shipped across the Atlantic to replace an indigenous population decimated by violence and disease during the first two centuries postconquest. The number of Africans increased significantly in the late sixteenth century, when the reduction of the indigenous population reached critical proportions (Bowser 1990). The arrival of these immigrants caused a spatial reorganization in the Costa Chica because they settled mainly in low and intermediate zones, often pushing indigenous populations toward the piedmont and the sierra (Lara Millán 2008: 21–33). This new population made its living primarily from agriculture and cattle ranching. During the colonial period and the nineteenth century, the area’s relative isolation due to the absence of transportation routes and lax political-administrative control allowed haciendas to expand as central places, together with ranches often populated by African descendants (Hoffmann 2006: 177, 2007a: 3–4), which formed a belt around the periphery.


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In the 1910s and 1920s, the Mexican Revolution3 caused extensive population movements provoked largely by military actions (Chassen and Martínez 1993: 30; Reyna 2012: 33), episodes that led to the emergence of certain localities, including a permanent settlement at Corralero. Accounts gathered there speak of an early movement to a nearby ranch called Agua Dulce—which still exists—followed by a shift to the site that the town occupies today, always in search of fishing resources. The people of Corralero speak of a regional tradition that posits a distinct history of the arrival of the African population in the region. In their version, ships that sank off the coast play an important role because they carried passengers from Africa. Some authors report that Corralero’s inhabitants go so far as to associate the region’s archaeological remains with colonization by their forefathers (Campos 1999: 155– 156). This disparity between the construction of an academic history and the tradition held by the local population shares elements with the disconnection that Odile Hoffmann identifies when she observes that “African” never appears among the identities that participate in representations of the Mexican nation (Hoffmann 2007a: 98). There is a popular collective representation in the Costa Chica of this space and the different population groups that inhabit it, as various authors have commented. It holds that the majority of the indigenous population occupies the piedmont and hillsides of the Sierra Madre del Sur, far from the coast, while mestizos predominate in the urban centers, and the population with African roots resides in zones and towns on, or near, the coast (Hoffmann 2006: 177; Campos 1999: 155–156; Lara Millán 2008: 27–28). While this generalization is really discursive in nature, it forms part of a more general vision that results from specific historical processes that determined how population groups in the zone were distributed and displaced over space and time. It is in this sense that Hoffman continued her analysis of collective imaginaries in areas where groups of African descent reside. For the Costa Chica, she considers it feasible to speak of a “multiethnic region” due to the coexistence of population sectors recognized as indigenous, mestizo, and black. Hoffman’s analysis posits that this social division into “ethnic groups,” and its relation to an imaginary of colonial origin, has been maintained due to the strength of the caste system of colonial Mexico, which differentiated access to resources according to ethnic group. Distinct land tenure regimens, civic-religious organizations, authority systems, and modalities of designation existed in relation to a collective representation that associated each ethnic group with a distinct ecological niche. This system has endured into the present, despite proof that indigenous groups inhabited all three zones before the Spanish conquest, which arrived to impose a model system of regional power (Hoffmann 2007a). Within this regional system, the Costa Chica shows substantial differences from other areas of the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, because the population of African descent introduced cultural, spatial, and productive particularities that served to mark frontiers. Recognizing that they were different from both indigenous commu Although chronologies differ, in this article we consider that the revolutionary period was 1910–1917. 3

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nities and mestizo hacendados, people of African descent gradually constructed an identity discourse and a region with distinguishable dynamics articulated by two cities with intense interethnic interaction: Pinotepa Nacional (Oaxaca) and Cuajinicuilapa (Guerrero). Hoffmann (2007b: 104) writes that the political structure of the latter city is more horizontal because competition among the ethnic groups— primarily Africans and mestizos—that participated in that scenario produced less differentiation. This phenomenon is reflected in its spatial structure, where hierarchies are less clearly marked and no segregation of people by ethnic group is evident. In the Costa Chica, the discursive factor of negritud—“blackness,” or African descent—has changed in relation to such factors as responses to the Mexican State, processes of self-recognition, and the differentiation of ethnic groups. By the late 1970s, it had been transformed into, and reinforced as, an instrument of political struggle. Having defined the Costa Chica, we can now adopt a more micro approach to examine the different mechanisms for managing and controlling natural resources there, an effective means of identifying local resistances and responses to global factors. One key feature of this region is the series of seawater lagoons that function as independent systems. For purposes of our analysis, we call these lagoon systems. These lagoons are interconnected socially because people from several towns exploit their fisheries and, in some cases, salt flats (Quiroz Malca 2009). Our objective is to examine the specific case of the Alotengo lagoon system from the perspective of Corralero, its largest community, in order to amplify available information on this region’s spatial and cultural dynamics. The Alotengo lagoon is in the municipality of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca. It runs parallel to the Pacific coast, some 20 km south of the municipality’s administrative center (cabecera), covering a surface area of 3158 ha. In addition to Corralero, six towns border the lagoon: Pie del Cerro, Minitán, La Noria y Minindaca, El Jícaro, Banco de Oro, and Mariano Matamoros (Fig. 8.2). The inhabitants of three of these towns, including Corralero, make their livelihoods primarily from fishing. In the others, fishing is less important, as only some people participate and only during certain periods of the year. In addition to the dynamics of fishing, other shared cultural elements include cattle raising, farming, and self-recognition of African descent. The only exception is La Noria, where inhabitants emphasize their indigenous roots, which allows us to view the zone as a network of specific social relations within the Costa Chica. When people there speak of their forefathers, they use the term afros (Africans) and formally present themselves as being of African descent, as African Mexicans, or as Blacks, though very few have links to regional organizations that pursue political objectives by identifying themselves as a group of African descent. This group recognizes that they lack the cohesion that other peoples in the Costa Chica of Oaxaca and Guerrero have achieved. Nonetheless, behind a phenotype that reveals certain traits of African descent in some villagers in the Alotengo lagoon, there lies a strong indigenous presence revealed in forms of family organization, commercial relations with Mixtec and Nahua groups in the Sierra, and the system of religious fiestas organized through mayordomías. Festivals for some saints are held by


E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

Fig. 8.2  Map of Alotengo lagoon and surrounding towns

o­ rganizations called “brotherhoods” (hermandades) that unite for this purpose. Celebrations of this kind are staged in most towns, although the saints venerated differ. The most important festivities are San Martín de Porres (a saint of African descent), November 11–12; the procession to venerate the Virgen de Guadalupe, December 11; the celebration of Cristo Rey (“the king of the seas” and patron saint of fishers in this region), February 23–24, which is marked by the most intense activity, including swimming competitions and races in traditional wooden boats called pangas (3 m long and 0.6 m wide) and motorboats; the celebration of the Holy Trinity (el Santísimo), April 24–26; and the festival of the mayordomía of the Virgen del Carmen (patron of fishers), July 15–16. Her image represents the mountain that rises up from the sea. The mayordomías articulate elements that interrelate religion, economy, and kinship. Masses are celebrated at the same time as parties that offer food and drink and are animated by bands. These celebrations always end with a dance called el panadero (breadmaker), in which people dance individually, passing a sombrero from one to the next as each one takes her/his turn. Then all members of the brotherhood involved, accompanied by their guests and the band, carry the group’s “treasure chest” (caja de comunidad) from the home of the current mayordomo (roughly, commissioner) to the house of his successor, who will be responsible for organizing events the following year. The money is counted, and all those present are informed of the funds received from other mayordomías to ensure that the same amount is returned to them the next year, together with a contribution from the mayordomo.

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The mayordomías close their celebrations with a fiesta in the town square, a key moment for creating and recreating social bonds. It is usually a time for visits by family members and friends from other places and other invited guests. On these occasions, some people arrive by boat, instead of traveling by car. These are not the only fiestas that take place that generate movement and interaction in this microregion, but they are the most important ones in social terms because they include ceremonies that mark socially significant annual cycles and provide spaces where people from different towns in the zone can reaffirm and recreate social relations. A final important factor of social cohesion in the Alotengo microregion is the family and the wider network of kinship relations that extend out from it. Indeed, families are the building block of the productive units (households) and fishing cooperatives in this area.

Neoliberal Transformations and Local Responses At the outset, we mentioned that the current socio-spatial articulation of the Corralero microregion, formed around the Alotengo lagoon system, emerged during the late stages of the Mexican Revolution, when the Mexican State initiated a phase of reconstruction at the institutional and legislative levels based on the Constitution of 1917, which established the trajectory of national development. The articles that refer to landed property, work, and education were all fundamental to a reordering of populations throughout the country, while the establishment of labor unions and worker cooperatives was a driving force behind a project of socialist aspirations based on the principle of import substitution and the exploitation of natural resources controlled directly by the State. The Alotengo lagoon system was not excluded from these processes. From the mid-1930s to the late 1960s, this area experienced unprecedented agricultural development propelled by a land redistribution program that broke up the latifundios and divided their lands into ejidos—measures that made production more efficient and more or less equitable. In the case of fishing, the formation of State-controlled unions and cooperatives ensured the survival of this activity through price supports and subsidies during lean times. Agricultural development and cattle ranching produced a certain level of prosperity up to the mid-1960s, when the import-­substitution system began to suffer difficulties that caused crises and inflation. By the mid-­ 1970s, the most severe economic crisis in the history of postrevolutionary Mexico affected most productive sectors, including the region of the Costa Chica. The regional restructuring proposed by the State at that point consisted of promoting fishing cooperatives and exploiting marine products for export. During the government of Luís Echeverría (1970–1976), fishing cooperatives became more dynamic and the principle actors in the artisanal fishing sector, as more than 80% of all fishers were registered members (Alcalá 2003: 31, 51–52; Marín 2007: 255–257). Those cooperatives were channels for the granting of exclusive rights to fishers to exploit species of fish that had substantial commercial value


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(Marín 2000: 81). Indeed, a government-sponsored program called 10,000 Boats (Diez Mil Lanchas) delivered fishing gear and boats to these organizations up and down the coastline, while guaranteeing the aforementioned rights of exclusivity over certain marine species (Alcalá 2003). The federal government also created a State-run company (paraestatal) entrusted with commercializing fish production at the national level, called Productos Pesqueros Mexicanos (Mexican Fishery Products, PROPEMEX). The company (Productos pesqueros Mexicanos) works with decentralized headquarters that have their own installations and also with fishing enterprises that have their own equipment required for fishing activities like refrigerated rooms and commercialization channels (Pesca 1985: 157–159). Those decentralized organisms included “companies with State participation and trusts (fideicomisos)” with well-equipped installations and fishing businesses that owned the necessary equipment: “fishing fleets, canning, packing, cooling, and freezing plants, warehouses and distribution centers” (Pesca 1985: 158–159). The government’s efforts multiplied catch volumes threefold in the country (Alcalá 2003). Residents of Corralero during that period will never forget the profound changes that were generated and the substantial benefits obtained. In the mid-1970s, the first local cooperative was formed in Corralero, thanks to credit that the local ejido received from Mexico’s Banco Nacional de Fomento Cooperativo, S.A. de C.V. (BANFOCO). Those funds allowed the ejidatarios to purchase the first fiberglass fishing boats in the area. This was important, because those boats allowed them to navigate in the open sea, where they found the rich fishing banks that they still exploit today. Unfortunately, crossing the high waves to reach the sea is still the cause of fatal accidents. To help with the transition from lagoon fishing to open-sea operations, local fishers turned to an experienced fisherman from Acapulco who was born in Corralero. He showed them nearby places where they could fish and the locations of more distant fishing banks. He also explained how they should mark their locations in the ocean, thus supplying know-how that is indispensable for locating fisheries, effectively performing this kind of fishing, and learning how to keep one’s bearings by recognizing relations with mountains and features of the coastal landscape that are visible from distances as great as 5 or 10 km. They also learned about the so-called bajos, rocky outcrops on the seabed, which are areas of rocky reefs with geological properties that make them ideal as shelter and for protection of different fish species, including some of great commercial value. All of these developments allowed local fishers to begin capturing new species of fish, including guachinango (Lutjanus peru, Nichols and Murphy 1922), listoncillo (Lutjanus colorado, Jordan and Gilbert 1882), gallina (Nematistius pectoralis, Gill 1862), and cazón (Carcharhinus spp.), a species of small sharks often used to prepare ceviche in this area).4 Although that cooperative collapsed due to severe bureaucratic and accounting problems, the motivation of its ex-members did not, for the knowledge and experience they had acquired had vastly increased the cultural capital of many fishers.

 Testimony recorded in Corralero, December 8, 2013.


8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


In the 1980s, the demand for fish products grew substantially (Alcalá 2003: 64), to such a degree that representatives of market interests in Guerrero and government agencies (paraestatales) came to Corralero, where they functioned as bridges between local fishers and far-off markets. One consequence of this increased demand was the introduction of new fishing methods in the zone. New types of fishnets, including gillnets, shark nets, high nets, and trawlers (called cimbras, trasmallos, and arrastres), allowed local fishers to harvest marine resources from the aforementioned outcroppings (bajos).5 Testimonies by townsfolk report that nets called trasmallo aboyado were tied to the branches of mangrove trees along the shores of the lagoon, and fishers would come by in the morning and late afternoon to check them and take home their catch (Rodríguez and García 1985: 57). In the 1980s, a State-run company entered this setting with a fleet of more than 30 boats. This upset the tranquility of the local population in terms of both their fishing operations at sea and internal coexistence. People accused those boat operators of damaging the bajos with the drag nets that allowed them to capture tons of guachinango every day, which they shipped to Acapulco by truck. At the same time, their workers were denounced for heavy drinking and were suspected of being behind a wave of robberies that swept through the town. Local authorities eventually decided to expel the company, even though it had originally enjoyed the support of municipal and military authorities. The second significant experience involving PROPEMEX also occurred in the 1980s, but in that case the agency was represented by two local men, one in charge of receiving, registering, and monopolizing local production and then packing it in freezers with ice; the other responsible for transporting products, supplies, and money between Corralero and the closest processing plant, in Marquelia. That State-run company captured 100% of the production of all fishers in the towns adjoining the lagoon, but poor management and the monopoly of a few workers destabilized operations in a region where profits and forms of production were family based. This case illustrates differences from observations in other zones of the country, where cooperatives maintain this right or a few businessmen eventually monopolized relations between fishers and markets (Marín 2000: 183–198, 2007: 275–285). The second fishing cooperative created in the early 1990s was the Sociedad Cooperativa Laguna de Corralero (Corralero Lagoon Cooperative Society). It enjoyed the support of public entities such as CONAPESCA and the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (National Indigenous Institute, INI). The group that formed this cooperative approached various organisms in 1989 and, thanks to strategic family relations, managed to forge links with contacts that led to officials in important positions in state and federal government structures. Their efforts and insistence proved fruitful in the ensuing years, as their initiative began a process that eventually triggered significant transformations in the town. Projects carried out in that period included construction of breakwaters and the opening of the canal that connected the lagoon to the ocean. Also, the lagoon was dragged, and a paved highway  Testimony gathered in Corralero, March 20, 2013.



E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

was built to connect Pinotepa to the beach. Finally, the cooperative applied for soft credits (créditos blandos) to acquire boats for its members. Though also short-lived, this experience is well remembered in Corralero. That cooperative exploited the fisheries primarily using nets, specifically a technology called almadraba that was supplied by the government. This was a broad net that contained a kind of maze that allowed fish to enter; once inside they could not get out. This gear was new to local fishers, and installing and retrieving it required the work of many men, but it increased production significantly with catches as large as 1.5 ton of fish, although this was made up mainly of what locals call “seconds” (la segunda); that is, species such as jurel (Caranx caninus, Günther 1867), cocinero (Caranx caballus, Günther 1868), and dorado (Coryphaena hippurus, Linnaeus 1758), with only a few first-class fish such as pargos (Lutjanus spp) and sierra (Scomberomorus sierra, Jordan and Starks 1895). The collapse of this organization occurred when people tired of the intensive work involved and the growing inequality inside the cooperative due to unequal distribution of profits in favor of the men who had held the highest positions in the hierarchy since the cooperative was created. Parallel to this, the men who led the second fishing cooperative took advantage of their political contacts with the dominant Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI) to create a group of women from the microregion who worked to commercialize the fish, although that organization also disappeared amid struggles between political parties. From 1990 to 1995, the large-scale works that supported fish production in the area—construction of the Corralero-Pinotepa national highway, dragging the lagoon, opening the canal, and building breakwaters—brought substantial changes that consolidated open-sea fishing and facilitated year-round transport of local production to Acapulco. Thus, the neoliberal policies applied to fishing exploitation for sale in markets had fulfilled their objective. Today, there are seven cooperatives in the region, all of which emerged in the mid-1990s, although only one has an active permit. The others have not received the benefits of government support programs for several years. Inside Corralero, no cooperative functions as an organization that supervises the fishing boats, maintains full-time staff, or commercializes product. Members’ livelihoods depend on fishing, but they operate individually, even though this impedes strengthening community dynamics through cooperative exploitation of local fishing resources. The leadership of certain families with strong political connections has generated unequal development and left the cooperatives with little real efficacy. Meanwhile, the processes of privatizing and individualizing fishing activities continue to advance. With the weakening of government institutions, permit holders emerged as the actors in the fishing sector who reap the greatest benefits. They are boat owners and entrepreneurs who function as monopolists (acaparadores) by purchasing the catch of other fishers (Alcalá 2003: 32; Marín 2007: 275–279) and then selling it at higher prices. A second category of permit holders in Corralero (also called permisionarios) are boat owners and fishers who do not necessarily capture the production of other boats. Most of them have other business interests that usually require the

8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


active participation of family members. Many are women who run businesses by supervising purchases and sales and, above all, keeping the books. This phenomenon emerged in Corralero in the 1990s, when a series of permits were granted to individuals who satisfied the conditions stipulated by the authorities. In general, the beneficiaries owned their fishing boats but were more active in the business of commercializing frozen fish in Acapulco than in fishing itself, though they continued to exploit local fisheries. The permits ensured them of government support for their commercial operations. As a result, they now occupy important positions in the town as economic leaders, although similar processes have affected different facets of fish production in other areas of Mexico (Marín 2007: 276–279; Alcalá 1999: 46–47). Although these developments negatively affected the cooperatives, the activity of permit holders has propitiated greater family participation in fishing, as men devote their time and efforts to fishing, while women commercialize products in regional markets. The participation of family is central to this dynamic, as all members participate in the complex web of family-run businesses that have long involved fishing and commerce. In Alotengo, the family still has a considerable say in the work and everyday activities of its members. This is reflected in both the cooperatives, which suffer from an inability to construct a collective orientation to work, leaving members to continue operating under individual mechanisms that entail family labor, as well as among the permit holders, who have taken advantage of the individual nature of permissions to promote the differentiation of families that obtained documents and are now progressing in diverse economic sectors outside of fishing.

Fishing in a Riverside Town Fishing in Corralero first started in the Alotengo lagoon, and fishing resources were the reason that encouraged people to inhabit this place. Many people use these fishing resources; however, fewer and fewer people are fishing in only this body of water. It is here where they learn to swim, fish, and pilot their boats during childhood. Many children take up fishing as a game in their spare time; later, during adolescence, the economic aspect of the activity that allows them to get food for their families or money for their personal needs is added to the game. It is not unusual to find school-age youngsters working in the lagoon in their spare time, using an array of techniques and searching for a variety of species. This increases pressure on the fishing resources of the lagoon body, while at the same time generating social conflicts among the communities. According to the people who practice fishing, the activity in this body of water is marked by two elements; the first is dredging work and the second is the moon cycle. The first has been performed every few years since the 1990s, with the last dredging happening in 2014–2015. For those who fish in the lagoon, this process represents a significant increase in production—an official estimate shows a nearly


E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

4% increase in annual production (Procomar 2010: 8), which for fishermen is substantial. This increase in production is even associated with the capture or increase of certain species that become scarce around the end of the dredging process; an example is the callo de hacha (Atrina maura, Sowerby 1786). The second element that affects fishing in the lagoon, according to fishermen from Corralero, is the moon cycle. For them, fishing is possible throughout the year, and fishing cycles reveal a relation to the moon, rather than to the rainy and dry seasons. An important thing that a fisherman should know is to read the time (weather), because the time is a fisherman’s guide. During new moon until full moon is when you can fish the best, and right from full moon, fishing starts decreasing and decreasing until the next new moon.6

The phases of the moon are the guide for the fishers’ craft: a full moon signals the peak catch. The catch then decreases until the new moon arrives, when performance begins to increase gradually. This is not the case for other areas of the lagoon, such as Minitán and El Jícaro, where the rainy and dry seasons mark the strongest periods of abundance and shortage in fishing. This indicates that the activity has its own cycles of shorter length for Corralero fishermen than in the rest of the lagoon. This is also reinforced by the rhythms of the tide, which determine the fishing schedule. These periods are shorter, changing every 6 h and finishing a whole cycle in a little less than 25 h, resulting in an hour shift daily. This knowledge reflects how fishermen know the rhythm of the tides, the lagoon, and the many corners and places where fish can be found according to the phase of the cycle, where the current is, and whether it is going toward the sea or toward the center of the lagoon. It is important to understand that the results of the catch are also closely related to the gear used and to the season of the different species. The fishing gear defines the way in which the job is performed. There are basically five fishing techniques employed in the lagoon: cast net, trammel, fishing line, blunderbuss, and harpoon. Although each type of equipment is employed in more than one way, we want to point out the main way in which the inhabitants of Corralero approach this craft in the lagoon. Cast net fishing is one of the most important techniques because of its constant and long tradition of use (INAPESCA 2000: 101–109). The net is repeatedly thrown by one fisherman in an outing. The normal method is for two people to take part in the activity in a panga, a small, wooden boat. One fisherman sails the boat with an oar, while the other is in the front part indicating the direction, ready to throw the net. Nevertheless, some people perform this job on their own. Some people are expert net throwers, and others excel with the oar, a job that requires a lot of expertise. Nowadays, cast nets are made of nylon. The net has a conical shape, which allows the fish to enter. Weights allow the net to sink, and a line or retrieval clamp allows the fisherman to close the net to retrieve it. These nets are commonly used to fish for different sizes of mojarras (Gerreidae), snook (Centropomidae), and sacamiche (Diapterus brevirostris, Sauvage 1879) in the areas where they can be  Our emphasis. Testimony collected in Corralero, March 13, 2014.


8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


used. They are also used from the shore for shrimp fishing (Litopenaeus vannnamei, Boone 1931). Another type of fishing gear is the trammel, a more extensive gill net (Arias 1988), which is used to extract the different species of fish found in the lagoon. These nets are built with rolls of nets sewn together. Buoys are installed on the upper rope, which supports the net, and lead weights are placed on the bottom. The net is placed in the water for a period of time and then collected. Trammel fishing was not introduced until the 1960s, when the first trawl nets were used in the lagoon. These nets swept the bottom of the body of water, capturing everything in their path. This type of net is currently forbidden because of its negative impact on the ecosystem. Dented trammel is used instead; these nets do not harm the seabed. The use of trammel nets requires certain associated tasks to prolong their use. It is fairly common for the net to tear when fishing or when unloading the fish from the net. Thus, repair is a constant task that is part of the daily life of each fisherman. Trammel fishing in the lagoon is usually done on a boat with two people. The net is installed and left overnight and collected the following morning. However, in Corralero this type of routine is rarely used. There, fishermen install the trammel for short periods of time during daytime and collect it the same day. Due to their size and weight, these nets are relatively expensive, and they represent an important investment that does not happen overnight. Hence, they are kept in a safe place where they cannot be stolen, a potential risk if left unattended or overnight in the lagoon near Corralero. Nets, cast nets, and trammels are some of the elements that the communitarian agreements and government regulation on fishing try to control. Within the reserve areas established by tradition the usage of these elements has even been prohibited when the fisherman started employing them. The agreements and government regulations establish minimum sizes for the mesh eyes, to avoid the capture of smaller fish and thus preserve the future of fishing resources. In addition, trammel nets are the most criticized fishing gear in the lagoon context because of their constant use in the capture of shrimp and fish, fishing resources are adversely affected by their extensive effects, especially in smaller areas.. The third type of fishing gear is the fishing line with a hook, which uses bait of different sizes and types according to species (Arias 1988). In the past, the line was made with silk or cotton threads, but nylon threads with hooks are used nowadays. People learn how to use this gear from a very early age, which is why it is very common to see children fishing with lines from the shore or dock. Adults also employ this method, but it is more common for one or two people to fish from a boat. Some throw the line with the hook and bait and then wait until they get the catch. Others are more active, throwing the rope constantly to different points of the lagoon. The results vary among the different techniques. It takes skill to improve the results; it is very important to know the favorable conditions for fishing, the best places and times of day, and when to pull the line at the precise moment the fish bites. Fishing is commonly practiced in the early hours of the morning in the reserve area or in front of the town. There people can find catches of the different species classified as first-class or second-class (Table 8.1).


E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

Table 8.1  Fish species identified in the Alotengo lagoon (Robertson and Allen 2016; Fischer et al. 1995; Froese and Pauly 2017) Common name (in Spanish) Pargo prieto

Scientific name Lutjanus novemfasciatus (Gill 1862)

Local classificationa First-class

Pargo rojo

Lutjanus jordani (Gilbert 1898)



Centropomus armatus (Gill 1863); Centropomus medius (Günther 1864); Centropomus nigrescens (Günther 1864); Centropomus robalito (Jordan and Gilbert 1882); Centropomus viridis (Lockington 1877) Gerres cinereus (Walbaum 1972)




Second-class Second-class

Year-round Year-round

Cabezuda Cuatete

Diapterus brevirostris (Sauvage 1879) Mugil curema (Valenciennes 1836); Mugil hospes (Jordan and Culver 1895) Mugil cephalus (Linnaeus 1758) Ariopsis guatemalensis (Günther 1864)

Second-class First-class

Ronco Bacoco

Haemulopsis leuciscus (Günther 1864) Anisotremus interruptus (Gill 1862)

Second-class Second-class

Frel (jurel)

Caranx caninus (Günther 1867)



Caranx vinctus (Jordan and Gilbert 1882)


Anchoveta (carnada)

Cetengraulis mysticetus


Year-round Rainy season (May–Nov) Year-round Rainy season (May–Nov) Rainy season (May–Nov) Rainy season (May–Nov) Rainy season (May–Nov)

Mojarra blanca Sacamiche Lisa

Period of capture Year-round (less abundant) Year-round (less abundant) Year-round (more during rainy season)

At Alotengo lagoon, fish species are classified into two different categories: first-class and second-­ class. This classification is linked to the different qualities of the meat of each species and to their commercial value


The blunderbuss (trabuco) is another type of fishing gear used in the lagoon. It consists of a harpoon tied to a gun, which is shot to make the capture. This equipment usually is hand crafted. To carry out the capture, it is essential to wear goggles or a diving mask to see underwater. Small boats such as pangas are used for this type of fishing, individually or with two people—one to sail the boat and another to dive and fish. The catch can be high, which is why, like cast nets and trammels, use of trabucos is forbidden in the reserve area. Finally, there is fishing with a harpoon, which is a kind of spear with three points or spikes, a type of manually maneuvered trident (Arias 1988). It is used from a boat or from the shore. The few fishermen who use this type of gear prefer to fish in their own boats along the banks of the lagoon in the hours before dawn. Nowadays, this technique is performed individually or by two people in a panga. One paddles in the

8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


back, and the other stands in the front of the boat with the harpoon in one hand and a battery-powered flashlight. The light catches the attention of the fish, which are captured by releasing the harpoon. The advantage of this method is that it allows the fishing of expensive species, including róbalo (Centropomus armatus, Gill 1863; Centropomus medius, Günther 1864; Centropomus nigrescens, Günther 1864; Centropomus robalito, Jordan and Gilbert 1882; Centropomus viridis, Lockington 1877), pargo (Lutjanus jordani, Gilbert 1898; Lutjanus novemfasciatus, Gill 1862), mojarra (Gerres cinereus, Walbaum 1972), and cuatete (Ariopsis guatemalensis, Günther 1864). In Corralero and the lagoon context, fish species are usually classified into two categories: first-class and second-class. This classification is especially linked to the different qualities of the meat of each species and the commercial value that these characteristics represent. Aspects such as color, taste, quality, and preservation are important elements. To illustrate this point, Table 8.1 shows the species reported by local people. The local community has a clear recollection of the high performance of the lagoon, but today there is a strong awareness that the resources are fewer and decreasing. The lagoon suffers a permanent deterioration, as evidenced by those who have been there all their lives and observe that it has lost economic importance in the locality. Here there was an abundance in fishing resources, at that time when I had known it for already sixty years … there was abundance of fish, there were different kinds of fish, but a lot. And since 1980 up to today, fishing has been depleting little by little because, as I told you, there are other communities that are dedicated to the same lagoon, and everybody lives off fishing.7

In general terms, the testimony of local people highlights how catches in the lagoon have continued going down little by little, despite regular dredging. Social dynamics in fishing now surpass the levels of reproduction of fishing resources. This seems to have as much to do with fishing among other populations, and with the fishing dynamic in Corralero, which gives preference to the sea over the lagoon, in addition to the use of trammel nets, which put great pressure on fishing resources. Consequently, the lagoon has become a natural system that every day faces greater pressure from the population on its banks and is denied enough resting time to recover.

 ishing in the Sea: Red Snapper, Big Schools, and Longline F Fishing In the short history remembered by Corralero’s inhabitants, fishing in the sea is an element that changed what was until then a community dedicated to fishing in the lagoon. At that time, going to the sea was something sporadic that not everyone did and not regularly. The lagoon provided the necessary amount of fish, preventing the  Our emphasis. Testimony collected in Corralero, December 7, 2013.



E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

need for trips to the sea. Only some ventured to the sea to fish on frail boats when ocean conditions allowed it. These people fished by diving and focused on the species that are found close to the coast because that is what the boat and gear would allow them to reach: At the beginning, those who went diving in the sea would go on boats without an outboard motor, those that are called panguitas. That is how they went into the sea, when the sea was calm in December. They went, dived, came back and that’s it … (they fished) sea bass, snapper, saw, pigeon, all fish from around here.8

The 1970s saw a transformation in this situation with the arrival of boats and engines that allowed fishers to go to sea, which opened up the possibility of accessing resources that were previously out of reach. In particular, species such as guachinango (Lutjanus peru, Nichols and Murphy 1922), in high demand in tourist markets, transformed the fishing that takes place in the town. In addition to leading people to new places where other natural resources could be exploited, motor boats gave rise to important social changes. There were transformations in the fishermen, who faced new working conditions, and new participants in the activity appeared, such as boat owners, an economically prominent element that took center stage in this fishing context. Fishermen of Corralero perform a lot of fishing in the sea; however, their most important catches (as determined by quantity) are those made through fishing line, trammel, and longline fishing: Here [there are] a lot of red snapper, here is the red snapper and trammel, and longline [fishing] as well. With the trammel comes frel [sic], cocinero, Pacific sierra, Paloma pompano, mahi-mahi, white.9

Fishing with lines centers mainly on red snapper (Lutjanus peru, Nichols and Murphy 1922) in the bajos guanchinangueros—rocky protuberances where these and other marine species gather. Trammel fishing focuses on species such as mantarraya (Mobula birostris, Walbaum 1792), dorados (Coryphaena hippurus, Linnaeus 1758), gallos (Nematistius pectoralis, Gill 1862), and cuatete (Ariopsis guatemalensis, Günther 1864). Trammel fishing is directed at large species that travel in large schools that approach the coasts, including frel or jurel (Caranx caninus, Günther 1867), cocinero (Caranx vinctus, Jordan and Gilbert 1882), Caranx caballus, Günther 1868), and sierra (Scomberomorus sierra, Jordan and Starks 1895). The relationship of fishermen with the sea and its resources has its own rhythms, associated with the dry and rainy season. This cycle contrasts with the area of ​the lagoon of Corralero, where fishing cycles are marked by dredging conditions, the moon cycle, and the entrance of tidal water during the day. The dry season usually lasts from the end of October to April, while the rainy season is from May to mid-­ October. During the dry season, the presence of cold water and large schools allow fishing with trammel nets in fiberglass boats with outboard motors in areas near the coastline. Also during this season, other types of fishing are carried out more inten Testimony collected in Corralero, October 29, 2013.  Testimony collected in Corralero, October 29, 2013.

8 9

8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


sively, due to the ease of navigating. On the other hand, in the rainy season, trammel nets are not used at sea, and line and longline fishing is considerably reduced, due to the risk represented by high tides. Although other elements also have a strong influence at sea, such as moon rhythms, these were not very prominent as variables that would prevent fishers from working at sea. An exception is fishing with trammel net, where according to the fishermen the light of the moon allows the fish to see the trap and avoid it. As in the lagoon, fishing that is carried out at sea is classified as first-class or second-class. These classifications are based on the physical characteristics of each species and the commercial value they represent. There is a tendency to bring first-­ class fish to markets where there is more demand, such as Acapulco, where there is a high demand for the physical characteristics of red snapper, snook, and other species of snappers for tourists. In general, these fish are usually preserved with ice in large plastic refrigerators and transported in vans. This also happens with the second-­class species when they are in abundance. Another form of fish trade is roasted or salted, which has more market in nearby markets of the Costa Chica or in neighboring mountain areas of indigenous population. It is less common to take first-class species to these markets; however, they are sometimes included. It is more common to see large-school species, which are the most abundant and cheaper. To conclude, Table 8.2 lists the different ocean species reported to be fished.

The Alotengo Lagoon: Territory and Resources in Dispute Using the microregion as a heuristic device allows us to examine the dynamics of the communities around the Alotengo lagoon, where the key role of protagonist is played by the fishing resources that are of interest to every population group. The importance of these resources increases in proportion to the degree of demographic growth in this spatial setting, because growth intensifies the demand exerted upon them. Cooperatives form a second clearly identifiable protagonist due to their role in establishing power over each town’s space, since this led to the designation of specific fishing territories in the first place. This section of the article seeks to explain the relations that these towns maintain with their respective fishing resources. As mentioned above, seven communities line the shores of the Alotengo lagoon: Corralero, Pie del Cerro, Minitán, La Noria y Minindaca, El Jícaro, Playa Banco de Oro, and Mariano Matamoros (Fig. 8.3). While development is related to their close relations with this body of water and regional and microregional dynamics, in reality each town has a unique history. According to the testimonies gathered, each participated in different moments of settlement, though they have all maintained interrelations made necessary by proximity and the lagoon they share, which obliges them to keep in contact. The most frequent relations among the towns revolve around control of the lagoon’s natural resources, to which they all have access. The objectives they all pursue are to reproduce and preserve their lifeways, but this is no easy task due to


E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

Table 8.2  Fish species identified from captures in Corralero (Robertson and Allen 2016; Fischer et al. 1995; Froese and Pauly 2017) Common name (in Spanish) Pargo rojo Pargo de roca (negro) Pargo listoncillo Sierra Dorado Ratón Lora

Cabrilla Gallina Gata (tiburón) Gallo Guajú or wahoo Pedorro or ronco Atún Barrilete Chula Guachinango Flamengo Coyote Bicuda Pez vela Cazón (tiburón) Gata (tiburón) Mantarraya Cuatete

Scientific name Lutjanus jordani (Gilbert 1898) Lutjanus novemfasciatus (Gill 1862) Lutjanus colorado (Jordan and Gilbert 1882) Scomberomorus sierra (Jordan and Starks 1895) Coryphaena hippurus (Linnaeus 1758) Polydactylus approximans (Lay and Bennett 1839) Scarus perrico (Jordan and Gilbert 1882); Scarus ghobban (Forsskål 1775) Epinephelus labriformis (Jenyns 1840) Nematistius pectoralis (Gill 1862) Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre 1788) Nematistius pectoralis (Gill 1862) Acanthocybium solandri (Cuvier 1832) Haemulopsis leuciscus (Günther 1864) Thunnus albacares (Bonnaterre 1788) Katsuwonus pelamis (Linnaeus 1758) Xenichthys xanti (Gill 1863) Lutjanus peru (Nichols and Murphy 1922) Lutjanus guttatus (Steindachner 1869) Lutjanus argentiventris (Peters 1869) Sphyraena ensis (Jordan and Gilbert 1882) Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw 1792) Carcharhinidae Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre 1788) Hypanus longus (Garman 1880) Ariopsis guatemalensis (Günther 1864)

Local classification First-class First-class

Period of capture Year-round Year-round













Second-class First-class

Year-round Year-round (few)

Second-class Second-class

Dec–Apr Dec–Apr





Second-class Second-class First-class

Year-round Year-round Year-round



First-class Second-class

Year-round Year-round

Second-class First-class First-class

Year-round Year-round Year-round

Second-class Second-class

Year-round Year-round (continued)

8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


Table 8.2 (continued) Common name (in Spanish) Cocinero

Chopa Ojo de perra Chivo Salema (or cuero de burro) Paloma Berrugata Frel (jurel)

Volador Sardina (carnada de primera) Cherla

Scientific name Caranx vinctus (Jordan and Gilbert 1882); Caranx caballus (Günther 1868) Kyphosus analogus (Gill 1862) Caranx sexfasciatus (Quoy and Gaimard 1825) Mulloidichthys dentatus (Gill 1862) Kyphosus ocyurus (Jordan and Gilbert 1882) Trachinotus paitensis (Cuvier 1832) Menticirrhus spp. Caranx caninus (Günther 1867)

Exocoetidae Sardinops sagax (Jenyns 1842) Lobotes pacificus (Gilbert 1898)

Local classification Second-class

Period of capture Dec–Apr

Second-class Second-class

Year-round Year-round

Second-class Second-class

Dec–Apr Dec–Apr

Second-class Second-class Second-class

Second-class First-class

Year-round Dec–Apr Year-round (Dec–Apr schooling) Year-round Year-round



Fig. 8.3  Map of Alotengo lagoon and surrounding towns and ejidos


E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

the vested interests and forms of land tenure that exist. Here, private property, communal lands and ejidal holdings converge in one space. To comprehend the relations around the lagoon’s fishing resources, we need to understand that the lagoon is not homogeneous; to the contrary, it has zones with different characteristics. The towns closest to the lagoon exert authority and control thanks to the rights that each one holds over its natural resources. Thus, the relations that each town maintains with this body of water differ significantly; for example, in some places peasant agriculture is much more important than fishing. This is related as well to the natural conditions characteristic of each locality; that is, the features of each town’s zone of influence around the lagoon and the availability of land. The communities where fishing is most important are Corralero and Pie del Cerro, which have both deep and shallow fisheries (Fig. 8.3) that produce various species of fish on distinct scales and in different seasons, including mojarra blanca (Gerre cinereus, Walbaum 1972), mojarra negra (Cichlasoma trimaculatu, Günther 1867), liza (Mugil curema, Valenciennes 1836), pargos (Lutjanidae), róbalo (Centropomus nigrescens, Günther 1864), cabezuda (Mugil cephalus, Linnaeus 1758), and sacamiche (Diapterus brevirostris, Sauvage 1879). These two towns, therefore, place enormous pressure on fishing resources. One principal threat to regional equilibrium is the generalized population increase that has occurred over the past 20 years in proportion to the growing exploitation of ocean fisheries. Several testimonies we heard point to the multiplication in the number of boats and fishers, although, as we have mentioned, this pressure is transferred to the lagoon in various ways. The demographic changes that have increased local populations intensify the exploitation of fishing resources while simultaneously introducing practices—such as trasmallo—that impede the regeneration of fish species. However, this is not the only element that affects these resources, for degradation due to agriculture and pesticide use, deforestation of mangroves, overheating of the lagoon’s waters because they are not connected to the sea, sedimentation around the bocabarra (the canal that connects the lagoon with the ocean, henceforth identified as bocabarra or barra), and pollution by waste and residual waters (CONABIO 2005)—contribute to ecological deterioration. All of these factors are directly related to the human presence in the zone and the characteristics of social groups. The use of certain fishing techniques is associated primarily with Corralero and Minitán, where the thirst to control fishing resources violates agreements with government agencies and other towns, to the detriment of everyone involved. This problem involves not only fishing and respect for accords, but is connected to the economic, social, and political dynamics of these towns that result in the same harmful behaviors being repeated. Another feature of the Alotengo lagoon is the absence of any defense of exclusive spaces and resources by one particular human group. As mentioned above, residents of the various towns consider these spaces federal property, so they argue that everyone has the right to use them for fishing-related activities. However, each one also recognizes the zones of the lagoon that belong to it, which to a large degree coincide with the boundaries of the ejidos. This mirrors conditions in other fishing zones in Mexico, where a community’s rights are justified by its historical relation

8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


with a specific area.10 The result is that spatial elements, such as the limits of the ejidos, and signals, such as rocks or other features of the lagoon, allow people to recognize the spaces over which their town has control (see Fig. 8.3). Although lagoon fishing is less important for Corralero’s economy than deep-sea fishing, testimonies gathered indicate that some people still fish exclusively there and that others do so in the rainy season, preferring not to venture out to sea. This means that the lagoon rarely has time to regenerate its fishing resources. The degradation of conditions in the lagoon deteriorates the household economy of the people in each town who depend on it exclusively for their livelihoods. We often heard comments like: “those who depend on the lagoon are ruined,”11 despite their proximity to the lagoon’s reserved zone and the ban on fishing with gear distinct from rod and reel. People point out that the reserve is not just an area for the reproduction of species, but also a route to the sea, and that it has always been separated to protect resources. Before the opening of the bocabarra, this channel allowed fish to go out to sea after maturing for almost a year and to return to spawn or feed (Fig. X.4). To take advantage of the abundance of fish generated by these movements, before the opening of the barra—and in subsequent days—other kinds of fishing gear were permitted, but only for those few days. A week after the canal opened naturally, reopening it was prohibited to prevent deterioration of fishing resources. Today, this ban extends to the artificial canal that was created to permanently join the lagoon to the Pacific Ocean, because the abundance of young fish there can be harvested more easily with nets than rod and reel. In Pie del Cerro, it is clear when an urgent need arises to exert strong territorial control over fishing resources, for people there have already experienced one precarious economic situation that forced some families to abandon the town because their catches had shrunk to a point that was no longer sustainable. … there were maybe two years that no, we never saw it coming. Some people had to migrate to Pinotepa because [fishing] here didn’t produce, not at all, we were [living] day-­ to-­day, that’s it … Here in town, we agreed to take care of the lagoon, especially our part, so that it would produce and allow us to sustain our families. We were losing everything because Corralero and Minitán were affecting us by going out to fish with illegal gear that’s not allowed by fishing laws and, well, no, talking with folks here we made an agreement to protect our part … and now, as I’m telling you about this, we’re the ones who have fish, we have fish right here, what we’ve looked after, what we’ve taken care of. But Minitán and Corralero are still affecting us, robbing our fish with gear that we don’t use because we respect fishing laws. They don’t allow you to use that gear, and now, because we banned it, now we have production, enough to get by on. If we hadn’t done this, we’re sure the townsfolk wouldn’t have any fish. We’d be like Corralero, like Minitán, like Banco of Oro, like La Noria; they don’t have what we have here.12

 For a more detailed analysis of the process that led to the establishment of rights over fishing resources by these communities, their links to the model of land redistribution and the ejidos, the role of cooperatives, and their exclusive character, see (Marín 2000: 107–109; McGoodwin 1980: 40–41). 11  Testimony collected in Corralero, August 20, 2014. 12  Testimony collected in Pie del Cerro, March 14, 2014. 10


E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

This fragment is long, but touches on key topics, all concerning the condition of the fishing resources in one of the lagoon towns with a long fishing tradition. It explains what motivated the community to seriously take up the defense of its spaces, the results they have attained so far, and how their current situation compares to that of other towns. It also narrates how the shortage of fish meant that many people had to eke out a day-to-day living, while forcing others to migrate to nearby urban centers. At the same time, it reveals how they found a solution by modifying the way they exploited their fisheries and describes the substantial results they have achieved in generating a permanent economic flow based on those resources. Today, people there can produce as much as MEX$1000 of fried fish every two days, which are delivered to Pinotepa Nacional. For them, this is a significant sum of money.13 For this reason, the community promised to comply with the federal government’s fishing norms. The objective was to allow different species to thrive and so increase their catches. As a result, they suspended the use of prohibited fishing gear several years ago and, moreover, actively impede others from fishing illegally in the area of the lagoon they set out to protect. This is the first such case in the microregion of the Alotengo lagoon, but its success is motivating others to make similar commitments and adopt new practices. The threat of extinction, supported by certain everyday cultural practices, has pushed these lagoon towns to impose control mechanisms on fishing. One result of these measures is that some communal assemblies have instituted more democratic decision-making processes despite the difficulty that this entails, since as fishers all members understand that their actions may directly affect other people’s livelihoods. This reality is shared by all; Corralero offers one example. While everyone there agrees that people who violate fishing regulations should be sanctioned, this rarely happens. The identity of the people who use banned gear, or who enter the protected zone and fish with gear distinct from rod and reel, is common knowledge, but authorities are often unwilling to detain or fine them because they are fishers too and, therefore, are well aware of the hardships that can lead individuals to take part in illicit activities. Nor can we lose sight of the fact that the authorities belong to circles of social relations that could deteriorate if they were to apply the letter of the law. One particularly important agreement obliges local authorities to share the contents of their fishing agreements with other agencies. Here, the goal is to motivate fishers in other towns to use only the fishing gear authorized there. This exchange of information is emerging as a key element for extending control over the fisheries that these communities share. The fact that these bodies of water are federal property demands ongoing communications with the government agencies involved. Unfortunately, this rarely occurs, even though it becomes urgent when a situation of stark polarity emerges, as in the case of Corralero, whose population is now about four times larger than that of the other towns, and where the number of fishing boats has multiplied in a similar proportion.


 Testimony collected in Pie del Cerro, March 14, 2014.

8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


Fig. 8.4  Corralero and the bocabarra. Source: own, elaborated using vector data (Marco Geoestadístico Nacional, 2010, INEGI, México; Basemap imagery, Esri, 2015)

The decision and determination of these communities to exert control over their zones in the lagoon and the fishing gear allowed reflect some of the changes that are affecting the balance of the natural resources they exploit. Although a prohibited zone existed in the lagoon before such accords were implemented (contiguous to Corralero up to the bocabarra [see Fig. 8.4]), the other towns only began to implement government policies over the past seven years. Cashdan points out that territoriality can be understood as a form of managing resources that depends on controlling and limiting access and may or may not include exclusivity (Cashdan et  al. 1983: 47). The agreements reached by these communities seek to strengthen control and limit access to fishing resources by prohibiting the use of certain fishing gear and practices. Here, belonging to a certain community is important, but exclusivity is not enforced. Rather, territoriality is exercised through local restrictions on fishing gear and techniques. As a social space, the lagoon system provides a view of a series of towns linked by a web of interrelations that has developed because they share a space that houses natural resources that are exploited by all. In this regard, these towns are differentiated by the importance that each one places on these resources for its economy. The transformations that have occurred over time, especially in demographic terms, explain the increased competition over nature’s bounty, and this, in turn, explains the increase in the territorial behavior manifested by these communities with respect to their resources.


E. Tello-Fernández and O. A. Montes-Vega

In Pie del Cerro, survival depends on fishing resources, so local authorities there maintain intense vigilance to ensure that agreements are respected. People in Minitán have developed strategies to oblige fishers from other places to respect—at least partially—such accords, while they carry on their traditional form of fishing within their zone. In Corralero, however, conditions are different: pressure on fishing resources there is exercised over broader spaces of the lagoon because many fishers have powerful boats equipped for deep-sea fishing. Not surprisingly, they apply strong social pressure on the authorities to relax their enforcement of agreements. These conditions in Corralero, especially its accelerated population growth over the past 20 years, affect the entire lagoon context by intensifying competition for resources throughout the microregion and, as a result, exacerbating inequality among towns. This, added to the use of large fishing nets (trasmallos)—more and more frequent over the past 30 years, although in the early 1990s, the use of trawl nets ceased—has shrunk the incomes of fishers there and led to the emergence of a series of territorial practices—“incipient territorialities”—expressed through observance of government regulations to a greater or lesser degree in each town, and according to each local context.

Conclusions Today, Corralero seems to be searching for changes that will project a future beyond the fishing and commercial activities on which its economy is based. Population growth, produced both naturally and through migration, has made this search for new sources of employment necessary, so the town’s agenda now includes the need to take actions to open up new options. Those changes include improving the conditions for exploiting and commercializing its fishing products, but shifting to other fisheries would require enormous investments that are not realistic, such as larger, more powerful boats. A second key issue concerns organizing the people in relation to fishing. It is necessary to revise the role of cooperatives and permit holders because, in reality, these groups—through which the State seeks to organize fishing—are controlled by a handful of people who dominate commerce in frozen fish in the most important market in the region, thus monopolizing what is one of the most profitable activities associated with the exploitation of these resources. One proposal that locals have tried to transmit to politicians interested in this town is to allow more people to obtain permits; unfortunately, this goal seems unattainable. More realistic options for Corralero are aquaculture and tourism, but these activities are only incipient. Ventures in aquaculture have been few and have involved mostly private capital. Although they have failed, people believe that the zone’s natural conditions should allow this activity to develop and thrive. Today, some people in Corralero have adopted the second approach by opening businesses to attract and serve tourists. Sites are located close to the barra that joins the lagoon to the ocean, where people can enjoy the beach, the lagoon, and their confluence for

8  Transforming Fisheries in la Costa Chica of Oaxaca: Fishers, Socio-Spatial…


recreational activities. However, the reality is that tourism services here are still rustic, as can be seen in structures set up for tourists. The term “incipient” comes to mind, for most tourist accommodations are simple shacks made of wood called palapas. Others are installed for the more intense vacation periods of December and Easter, but the onset of the rainy season destroys them. Still, tourism should be seen with some optimism, because local people still control the means of production and, therefore, could initiate endogenous developments that could produce organized resistance to other, more predatory types of tourist initiatives. The idea is to strengthen the area through projects that support tourism and attract more people to vacation there. Projects undertaken to date include reconditioning the highway from Pinotepa to the center of Corralero, constructing sidewalks where the highway is restored, building cabañas beside a restaurant for visitors, and organizing a crocodile zoo. In differing degrees, these projects are improving the economy of some families involved in the work. Finally, the discourse on recognizing African descent, as well as family and communal organizational strategies, is a fundamental factor of resistance that has allowed local people to respond to governmental and entrepreneurial proposals that are foreign to their regional logic. Local actors have learned about some of the mechanisms of those external policies and turned them to their own benefit. But every new day seems to bring problems that are increasingly difficult to resolve at the local level and that, on occasion, bring unsatisfactory results. However, local forms of social organization and control of resources lead us to think that national institutions, businesses, and local authorities will be able to reach a better understanding of this region and its dynamics.

References Alcalá, G. (1999). Con el agua hasta los aparejos: pescadores y pesquerías en el Soconusco, Chiapas. México: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social. Alcalá, G. (2003). Políticas pesqueras en México (1946-2000). Contradicciones y aciertos en la planificación de la pesca nacional. México: Colmex, Colmich, Cicese. Arias, P. F. (1988). Artes y métodos de pesca en aguas continentales de América Latina. COPESCAL Documento ocasional. Bowser, F. P. (1990). Los africanos en la sociedad de la América española colonial. In L. Bethell (Ed.), historia de america latina. Barcelona: Crítica. Campos, L. E. (1999). Negros y morenos. La población afromexicana de la Costa Chica de Oaxaca. In: M. Y. A. B. Bartolomé (Ed.), Configuraciones étnicas en Oaxaca. Perspectivas etnográficas para las autonomías. Cashdan, E., Barnard, A., Bicchieri, M., Bishop, C. A., Blundell, V., Ehrenreich, J., Guenther, M., Hamilton, A., Harpending, H. C., & Howell, N. (1983). Territoriality among human foragers: ecological models and an application to four Bushman groups [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology, 24, 47–66. Chasse, F., & Martínez, H. (1993). El retorno al milenio mixteco: indígenas agraristas versus rancheros revolucionarios en la Costa Chica de Oaxaca, mayo de 1911. Cuaderos del sur. Ciencias Sociales, 2, 31–65. Chassen-López, F. R. (1998). Maderismo or Mixtec Empire? Class and Ethnicity in the Mexican Revolution, Costa Chica of Oaxaca, 1911. The Americas, 55, 91–127.


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CONABIO (2005). Ficha técnica para la evaluación de los sitios prioritarios para la conservación de los ambientes costeros y oceánicos de México. México: CONABIO-CONANP-The Nature Conservancy-PRONATURA. CONAGUA. (2012). Programa Hídrico Regional Visión 2030. Región Hidrológico-Administrativa V Pacífico Sur, Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Correa, E., & Velázquez, M. E. (2007). Indios, mestizos, negros y blancos en un municipio de la Costa Chica, Oaxaca a través de un censo de 1890. In E. Correa & M. E. Velázquez (Eds.), Indios, mestizos, negros y blancos. México: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Fischer, W., Krupp, F., Schneider, W., Sommer, C., Carpenter, K. E., & Niem, V. H. (1995). Guía FAO para la identificación de especies para los fines de la pesca: pacífico centro-oriental. Froese, R., & Pauly, D. (2017). Fish base. World Wide Web electronic publication. [Online]. Retrieved Jan 2018, from, Haesbaert, R. (2011). El mito de la desterritorialización, del “fin de los territorios” a la multiterritorialidad. México: Siglo XXI. Harvey, D. (2004). Mundos urbanos posibles. In Á. M. RAMOS (Ed.), Lo urbano en 20 autores contemporáneos. Barcelona: Ediciones UPC. Hoffmann, O. (2006). Los sesgos de la simplificación, otra mirada a Afroméxico. Desacatos. Revista de Antropología Social, pp. 175–178. Hoffmann, O. (2007a). De las “tres razas” al mestizaje: diversidad de las representaciones colectivas acerca de “lo negro” en México (Veracruz y Costa Chica). In E. Correa & M. E. Velázquez (Eds.), Indios, mestizos, negros y blancos. México: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Hoffmann, O. (2007b). De las “tres razas” al mestizaje: diversidad de las representaciones colectivas acerca de lo “negro” en México (Veracruz y Costa Chica). Diario de Campo, 42, 98–109. INAPESCA. (2000). Catálogo de los Sistemas de Captura de las principales pesquerías comerciales, México. INEGI. (2016). Anuario estadístico y geográfico de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos 2016. México: INEGI. Lara Millán, G. (2008). Política, espacio y construcción social del poder local-regional en la Costa Chica de Oaxaca. PhD diss., Centro de Investigación y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS). Marín, G. (2000). HOLBOX: antropología de la pesca en una isla del Caribe mexicano. México: Edt. Colegio de Michoacán y CICY. Marín, G. (2007). Vidas a contramarea. Pesca artesanal, desarrollo y cultura en la costa de Michoacán. México: CIESAS/COLMICH. Mcgoodwin, J. R. (1980). Mexico’s marginal inshore pacific fishing cooperatives. Anthropological Quarterly, 53, 39–47. Pesca, S. D. (1985). Nociones básicas de cooperativismo pesquero. Secretaría de Pesca: México. Procomar, S. A. D. C. V. (2010). Manifestación de impacto ambiental, modalidad particular, para elproyecto: Obras de dragado y escolleras en Boca del Oro, laguna de Corralero, Oaxaca. México: CONAPESCA. Quiroz Malca, H. (2009). Un granito de sal... Su circulación y consumo en la Costa Chica de Guerrero. Nueva antropología, 22, 57–86. Reyna, C.  Q. (2012). Cuando los padres se van: Infancia y migración en la Costa Chica de Oaxaca. PhD, UNAM. Robertson, D., & Allen, G. (2016). Peces costeros del Pacífico Oriental Tropical: App de guía de identificación. 3.0 ed. Rodarte García, R. (1997). Ecosistemas y biodiversidad en la Costa Oaxaqueña. Ciencia y Mar, 2, 44–48. Rodríguez, R., & García, I. (1985). Los pescadores de Oaxaca y Guerrero. México: CIESAS. Villerías Salinas, S. (2009). Análisis espacial de la pesca en la Costa Chica de Guerrero. PhD dissertation, UNAM. Widmer Sennhauser, R. P. (1993). Los comerciantes y los otros: Costa Chica y Costa de Sotavento, 1650-1820. PhD dissertation, Universität Bern.

Chapter 9

Resilient Fishing Families and Communities: Adapting to Change Flaxen D. L. Conway and Lori A. Cramer

Introduction Change and Coupled Systems The concept of change has intrigued and perplexed humans for a very long time. The philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus, circa 500 B.C., suggested, when trying to understand the nature and purpose of life, that life was flux. In other words, everything is subject to change, including change (Mark 2010). The passing of more than 1500 years has given us lots of time for practice, yet most of us are not completely comfortable with change and often rebel against it. Change in the natural system is the topic of everyday conversation (everything from weather and climate to resources and products) and the foundation of global research and policy programs. Ultimately, the natural and human dimensions of these topics get linked through a systems approach (coupled human-natural systems or social-ecological systems; Lui et al. 2007 and Ostrom 2009, respectively) and absolutely must be considered when trying to understand family and change.

F. D. L. Conway (*) Department of Sociology/Oregon Sea Grant/Marine Resource Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA Department of Sociology/School of Public Policy, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA L. A. Cramer School of Public Policy, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



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Adaptation, Vulnerability, and Resilience: What’s in a Name? Over time, the terminology used by those who face and study change has shifted to concepts such as adaptive capacity, vulnerability, and resilience. Adaptive capacity refers to the ability to grow, to progress due to learning from previous times of vulnerability and resilience, and thus to evolve to better cope with future changes (Adger 2006). While the research related to vulnerability has roots in threats such as crime, public health, natural disasters, environmental hazards, and risk literature (think terms such as exposure and sensitivity), it has also been examined by social sciences such as sociology, geography, psychology, and public health (Adger 2006; Fussel 2007; Miller et al. 2010; Janssen et al. 2006; Norris et al. 2008). Over time, vulnerability has come to be defined as the susceptibility to harm of a given population, system, or place (Smit and Wandel 2006; Fischer et al. 2013). Social vulnerability focuses on describing populations that are at risk because of exposure to demographic and socioeconomic factors that can affect the local population’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from impacts of an event (Tierney et al. 2001; Heinz Center 2002; Cutter et al. 2008). The concept of resilience was born out of the mathematical and physical sciences and describes the capacity of a material or system to return to a specific equilibrium after a shift or perturbation (think of a rubber band; Norris et al. 2008). Resilience of human systems is defined as the ability of communities to cope and recover, to shape-change to maintain essential system functions (Folke 2006; Janssen et  al. 2006; Cutter et  al. 2008; Cutter 2009) and, when necessary, transform to a new functional state (Magis 2010). Resilience thus requires both action and agency (Magis 2010) and a capacity for “turning crises into opportunity” (Folke et al. 2010:40). While the concepts of adaptive capacity, vulnerability, and resilience have evolved theoretically and practically in academic and political spheres, the reality of change in fishing communities has remained constant. No matter how you define change, those places and people that survive develop strategies to transcend the impetus for change—whether cultural, economic, social, political, and/or ecological.

Communities of Place In Oregon, coastal communities depend on natural resources for their economic and cultural livelihoods, yet they continue to face dramatic changes. These changes are multifaceted and include repercussions from shifting local, national, and international economies; political and legal mandates; ecological and environmental concerns; technological advances that displace workers; and dwindling access to natural resources. Social science research concerned with the relationship between community resilience and resource dependence is extensive (Cramer et al. 1993; Gale and Cordray 1994; Krannich and Luloff 1991; Machlis and Force 1988). Although dependency is defined in several ways, it commonly includes a dependency on natural resources as a source

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of economic and cultural welfare (e.g., Krannich and Luloff 1991; Marshall et al. 2007; Peluso et al. 1994). Jacob et al. (2001:17–18) note that “… virtually every community has a sufficiently diverse economy that the removal of any component, while perhaps devastating, would not threaten the existence of the community … there is another type of dependence that is not economic that is … a dependence on an industry to support the sense of community and the history of that community.” Even if fishing is a relatively minor economic component of a community, perceptions among residents reflect such dependence; therefore, when change occurs, impacts affect not only the fishing families and related businesses (e.g., service companies and processing plants), but the broader community as well (Mederer and Barker 2000).

Communities of Interest Change is not new to commercial fishing. Over the past three to four decades, the industry has faced social and economic changes, including increased federal and state fisheries regulations, safety regulations, increasing costs of operating and buying equipment and permits, and environmental laws affecting harvest species, levels, and gear types. Seafood has been and still is an important food/protein source. Commercial landings in Oregon in the mid-2000s were valued at over US$1.7 billion, and the Oregon Dungeness crab, pink shrimp, and sablefish fisheries comprised the three most valued landings in 2008. As the world’s population continues to rise at an exponential rate, Oregon’s commercial fishermen work to provide seafood, while national/regional/local fisheries policy makers and managers continue to look for management schemes that meet current and future needs. Even a cursory review of history illuminates how industrial and technological innovation led to expansions in fisheries production and the eventual collapse of various fish stocks (Finley 2011). The “race to the fish” in the 1970s—when the Magnuson-Stevenson Fisheries Management Act (MSA) was first passed—was a political and economic system that encouraged the industry to maximize its own utility without incentive to conserve. In short, the challenge and opportunity then was to build up the fleet, maximize fishing effort, and get to the resource before others did. Today’s challenges are different, and fisheries managers recognize this. The challenges facing fishing are acute (tsunami/earthquake), chronic (long-term area closures, climate change, increasing cost of quota), and cumulative (dredging, marine protection, marine renewable energy, catch shares, global marketing schemes). One might view these challenges as additional symptoms or strategies of a changing world for commercial fishing communities, but they could be challenges for coastal communities of place as well. Managing fisheries under the framework of Marine Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) requires humans to be viewed as an integral part of the ecosystem instead of just a “stressor” to the ecosystem (McLeod and Leslie 2009). Viewing the ocean as a “peopled seascape” (Shackeroff et al. 2009), where scientific and local ecological knowledge is shared, is an important step in reframing these challenges as


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opportunities to define and plan for a desired, resilient future for coastal communities of place and interest. The reframing of fishing communities in the literature from “dependent” to resilient, adaptive, and integrated into the ecosystem for successful management (Adger 2000) indicates this change in perspective. Today’s opportunity for academics, policy makers, fisheries managers, and industry practitioners alike lies in the ability to work together to gather the optimal breadth and depth of information (assess) and to make the decisions (plan, test, learn, adjust, and adapt) that balance use and conservation.

Communities of Place and Interest: A Synthesis Families and communities reliant upon fisheries have established their resilience over the years, but doing so has not been easy. It is important to understand how people have developed ways of life and shared values revolving around fishing. When social change has occurred in these regions, families and whole communities have experienced economic hardships and have had to change their way of life in ways that go well beyond simple issues of livelihood. Changes in traditional ways of life have resulted in uncertainty not only for the fishing fleet, but also for the residential communities where fishing families live and work. Over the past two decades, we’ve studied how drivers of change affect the makeup of local communities of place (coastal communities) and communities of interest (the small, typically intergenerational, fishing family businesses that are the foundation of the fishing community) and the role that change plays in the transition of knowledge and social capital that resides there. The next section provides a glimpse into the past, current, and future studies conducted in Oregon to document the place, the people, and their adaptation to change.

What Happened and Lessons Learned Adapting to Change (the 1990s) In the 1990s, coastal communities of place and interest in Oregon were facing typical chronic challenges (population growth or decline, the cyclical nature of natural resource industries) and acute challenges (market and resource disasters). The Oregon Sea Grant Program released a request for proposals to support the development of a research and extension program in the mid-1990s called Adapting to Change: Fishing Businesses, Families, Communities, and Regions, known as the ATC project. Recognizing that Pacific Northwest fisheries were undergoing dramatic change and that fishing was important to the economic and social heritage of the region, researchers (including the authors of this chapter) gathered to examine

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the human ecological perspectives toward families and communities that could improve extension and outreach efforts to enhance the sustainable use of fisheries. As part of the social science component of the ATC project, Cramer examined the role of human capital in fishing communities (Cramer 2000). The concept of human capital generally refers to any activity whereby a community (or individual) invests in its people, generally in the development of skills such as education or job-­ related training necessary for adaptation strategies. Social change is a dominant feature of modern American life. Rural communities are not insulated from the shifting social forces associated with social change. In particular, rural Oregon communities that depend on natural resources for their economic and cultural livelihood (e.g., timber, fishing) are increasingly confronted with environmental (e.g., harvest limits), political (e.g., state budget initiatives), social (e.g., shifting demographics), and economic (e.g., tourism) challenges. More than ever, the development of survival skills (i.e., human capital) and increased economic diversity are viewed as necessary adaptation strategies for people in rural communities. This project involved studying the ability of coastal, resource-­ dependent communities to adapt to changes in their resource base, under the assumption that the structural and social conditions of a community affect how people and places can adapt. Part of what makes transition so difficult is that the skills local workers possess, generally described as human capital, are oriented to single-focus livelihoods, leaving people ill prepared for change. For example, within resource-dependent communities, there is an assumption that the economy is cyclical, with times of prosperity followed by times of retrenchment. The belief that the community has always bounced back from times of economic distress contributes to a lack of investment in local human capital (Johnson and Stallmann 1994). Such a strong belief system was especially evident in Oregon fishing communities due to the seasonal and cyclical nature of the industry. Given current and impending changes in the fishing industry and their implications for resource-reliant families, businesses, and communities, it is important to understand how these communities of interest function, how their organization is linked to fishing, and how they fit within a larger social system. After all, no community operates in isolation. In addition to examining how these communities fit within the fabric of other communities, the research looked at how individual fishing households within these communities are able to adapt to change. The literature on human capital at the time focused on formal measures (such as level of education) and specific occupational skills, assuming that formal education, for example, was the key to adaptability. This research found a great deal of human capital skills despite a lack of formal education. Consistent with other family businesses (e.g., family farms), human capital skills included small business skills (budgeting, purchasing, and selling), mechanical skills, and local knowledge of the resource. While formal education has emerged as an important factor of human capital for the larger U.S. society (Flora and Flora 2013), it was this informal human capital adaptation (essentially, a learning-­by-doing-whatever-needs-done approach) that has contributed to fishing families’ resilience.


F. D. L. Conway and L. A. Cramer

Conway developed the Fishing Families Project (FFP; Conway 2000), an experimental outreach and engagement effort to empower fishing businesses and families to manage change and maneuver the subsequent transition in ways that provided business and family security and stability. The design was based on creating a network of peer connectors—fishing family members hired to conduct the outreach to this community of interest over several communities of place (from southwestern Washington through northern California). Three fishing family coordinators delivered community-based skills-building educational materials and strategies for coping with “typical” change (e.g., the cyclical nature of the industry) and “acute” challenges (e.g., fisheries disasters). The FFP supported the formation and/or strengthening of networks within the community of interest and between the fishing community and communities of place. This took the form of cooperatively designed educational documents (such as Letters to Fishing Families, Fishing Family Expense Tracking System, and the Fishing Kids Cookbook) and programs (Coping with Loss and Change, Conflict Management and Communication). In the end, the FFP proved to be important in improving communication and identifying, establishing, and documenting resiliency strategies (Conway 2000, 2001; Conway et al. 2002) that would be helpful in the future. In many ways, this ended up being foundational work related to the role of women and the importance of collaboration, a foundation that would be useful in the years ahead, specifically when a formidable challenge presented itself: the 2000 west coast groundfish disaster.

Vulnerability (the 2000s) The Groundfish Disaster While the habitat and species prosecuted determines the gear used, the west coast groundfish fishery is managed as a complex of more than 90 different species (rockfish, flatfish, roundfish, sharks, and skates) that, with a few exceptions, live on or near the bottom of the ocean. The west coast groundfish disaster unfolded in the late 1990s when, after two decades of rapid growth, the commercial groundfish industry began a coastwide constriction due to declining stocks and sharp reductions in catch limits. The catch limit reductions imposed by the regional fisheries management council resulted from mandates associated with the amended MSA. These decreases in catch resulted in the un/underemployment of thousands; while some fishing family businesses switched to other fisheries, others left the fishing industry. Congress responded to the disaster by allocating U.S. $5 million in disaster relief for Oregon, Washington, and California. While the federal goals for the funding were identical, each state created different relief programs designed to help impacted members of the fishing industry and coastal communities cope with the downturn. Oregon focused on helping individual members of the fishing community access social services. Washington focused on economic development of coastal towns, and California focused on payments to impacted individuals and cooperative fisheries research.

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At that time, fisheries disasters were rarely researched and poorly understood despite the fact that federal responses to these tragedies cost the government millions of dollars each year. The goal of the project was to assess and document the responses to and lessons learned from Oregon’s response. The results were clear. Fishing industry workers face many obstacles to leaving the fishery, and aggressive, well-planned outreach programs are necessary as part of efforts to directly help members of the fishing community through these disasters. These lessons should be considered by both decision makers and community members in future, similar situations involving regulatory change (Conway and Shaw 2008). Indeed they were, when a few years later another fishery disaster was declared (this time the salmon fishery). Some of the lessons learned from this work (the importance of directly including representatives of the fishing community in the design and implementation of response programs in order to target and reach a broad audience with access to occupational training, food stamps, health care, or other social services) were applied to that effort. Working with, Instead of Against One theme or group of strategies that began to develop (or at least strengthen) in the early to mid-2000s was related to the importance and benefit of taking a cooperative versus an antagonistic approach to issues facing marine resource use and management. Commercial fishermen are independent people, working in a highly regulated, remote, and dangerous environment, with a focus on sustainable harvest. Distrust and doubts about the quality and quantity of fisheries data, as well as its interpretation and use, and confusion about agency roles exacerbate tension and mistrust. Many fishermen believe that scientists don’t value the information they provide to managers, and fluctuating levels of outreach effort complicate communications. Fisheries managers face challenges as well. The focus of this community is on the science and management of fish stocks. Agencies are under a great deal of pressure to comply with federal and state requirements, yet they often lack the funding to do so. The commercial fishing and fisheries management communities are two independent communities with different motivations, yet they are also interdependent. It is well known and documented that the fishing community and the fisheries management communities face challenges in trusting each other (Conway 2006; Gilden and Conway 2001, 2002) and that this has hampered efforts to cope with change (later known as resilience) for all involved. In Oregon during the 2000s and beyond, several efforts were designed, implemented, and evaluated that focused on bringing fishermen, scientists, and managers together to work cooperatively to find solutions to challenges facing marine resources and these communities. While this chapter doesn’t afford the space to cover all in detail, listed below are the efforts and major lessons learned. The initial concept of the Port Liaison Project (PLP)—to hire “underemployed, impacted-by-limits-in-commercial-fishing” fishermen to assist with ongoing fisheries research projects—was created by the groundfish division of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center as part of their Cooperative Research Mosaic. When they ran the concept by Oregon Sea Grant Extension faculty, it was immediately clear (from previ-


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ously mentioned work) that this proposed effort would benefit from ground truthing the concept, desired goals, and objectives with a retired employee of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a retired fisherman, and several fishing industry leaders. These discussions illuminated that to successfully connect researchers with cooperators from port regions in Washington, Oregon, and northern California, the concept would need to be designed and driven from the community level. The PLP began in earnest in the spring of 2003, funded by a 3-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center. The purpose of the PLP was to add value to already funded research projects,1 through the use of members of the commercial fishing community. In practice, adding value meant integrating the knowledge and expertise of the west coast fishing industry into ocean- and fisheries-related research to provide the best possible science. People often proselytize about the benefits, or demonize the challenges, of cooperative fisheries research. But what is cooperative research, and what makes it work when it does work or fail when it doesn’t? At that time, many fisherman–scientist partnerships in research were labeled variously—and even synonymously—as cooperative or collaborative. Sometimes the same project is called “cooperative” by one partner and “collaborative” by another. Although then (and now in many cases) there was not full agreement in the literature, a “true partnership” of scientists and industry should involve participants from both groups in every aspect of the research, from project design to analysis and recommendations (National Research Council 2004). Thus, cooperative research can be thought of as research that involves limited roles for some partners, and collaborative research involves partners equally in all phases of the research process (idea/vision, research questions generation, implementation, decision making, reporting). In 2004, the National Research Council described these efforts as the deliberate connection and engagement of fishermen and scientists to address information needs for fishery management. The same report describes a continuum from cooperative to collaborative research, where cooperative changes to collaborative when fishermen are incorporated into the research from the beginning to the end; the formulation of the research questions and generation of the hypothesis through data gathering, analysis and reporting. The reality then and now is that most fisherman–scientist partnerships in research generally fall somewhere along this continuum, from 100% cooperative to 100% collaborative. This lesson has been carried forward; over the course of 4 years, the PLP supported 44 research projects, with 214 fishing community members actively participating in projects and 75% of these folks participating in one project (Conway and Hildenbrand 2009). (The others participated in more than one project.) The PLP ended in December 2007. A mixed-methods evaluation of the program—observation, semi-­structured interviews, and a mail questionnaire (Auerbach and Silverstein 2003; Lune and Berg 2012; Maxwell 2012)— highlighted lessons learned regarding incentives, communication, comfort with cooperation or collaboration, and interest in working together in the future (Conway and Hildenbrand 2009).  Projects that were currently funded from other, non-PLP sources but did not include funding for fishermen’s participation. 1

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Other efforts were launched to address the interdependence and mistrust between ocean scientists and fishermen. Born out of a blend of frustration and optimism, the Scientist and Fishermen Exchange (SAFE) began driving sustainable changes and solutions to these issues in 2002. Oregon Sea Grant connected leading fishermen and scientists who expressed concern about the current and future worldwide supply of seafood, the carrying capacity of ocean resources, and coastal economies and culture. Careful design and integrative implementation yielded partnerships that lessened negative impacts and strengthened positive impacts on the ocean, relationships, and coastal quality of life. SAFE met three times per year, hosting roughly 25 people, split evenly between fishermen and scientists. SAFE was designed to provide a comfortable venue that encouraged idea exchange via an authentic dialogue about unknowns, mutual understanding, and solution building. It grew from “simple” to “controversial” topics in less than 5 years. SAFE provided tangible local and regional benefits and received the highest form of flattery when it was replicated in another state because the concept is versatile and low-cost, solves problems, and has viability and application across other natural resource issues and cultures. Based on common interests and complementary knowledge, SAFE was one more paving stone on the road to new/more cooperation in ocean research and practice (Conway et al. 2010a, b; Hall-Arber et al. 2009; Conway and Pomeroy 2006). Over the years—spurred by the establishment of the first U.S. ocean policy and concerns about environmental and climate change—other projects/efforts were launched that built on the lessons learned and sustained momentum. A wide range of topics were addressed, including cooperation in fishing effort mapping, cooperative fisheries research website development, disaster response education programs, and marine reserve planning. Ultimately these efforts led to pre- and postmarine spatial planning efforts instigated by the threat (or promise, depending on how one looks at it) of a new ocean use, Marine Renewable Energy (MRE). As the technology advanced, the mid-2000s ushered in a new “gold rush” of interest in offshore wind, wave, and tidal power, raising concerns related to a lack of awareness regarding existing uses and users, ocean planning (or lack thereof), and the potential impacts of MRE development on coastal communities of place and interest (Henkel et al. 2013; Industrial Economics, Inc 2012; Conway et al. 2010a, b). Over the past 10–15 years, fishing community groups have been established up and down the Oregon coast to work together and with others to learn about MRE; participate in research; serve on decision-making bodies; and advise local, state, regional, and national policy related to MRE (Sullivan et al. 2015; Pomeroy et al. 2015).

Resilience (2010s) The past few years of research by the authors of this chapter bring these topics full circle. In the early 2000s, NOAA launched an effort to create a public database of oral histories called Voices from the Fisheries to help inform and educate the public, researchers, and decision makers in the United States about fishing and fishing


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communities. In the early 2010s, an effort was started to get more west coast entries into the database; Voices from the West Coast is a partnership among NOAA, Oregon State University, and the Newport Fishermen’s Wives. While capturing oral histories of members of the fishing community, some themes started to emerge that warranted a closer, scholarly study. Two research projects have emerged from this. In the first, Calhoun et  al. (2016) set up a mixed-methods study (observation, semi-structured interviews) (Auerbach and Silverstein 2003; Berg 2001; Maxwell 2012) to investigate how changes in management were impacting the wellbeing, resilience, and adaptive capacity of the fishing community. This work built on literature documenting the way in which major management changes—in this case, the implementation of quota/catch share programs—are affecting fishing communities, specifically via the broad lens of women’s roles in the industry and community. Analysis of the data revealed that women in commercial fishing wear many (if not all) hats within the fishing industry—contributing to food security via harvest/processing/buying, caring for the maritime household, and engaging in advocacy. While the fundamentals of being a fisherman’s wife have not changed, some roles have evolved due to shifts in family duties. Women’s roles at the individual and family level require a great deal of flexibility due to changes that are often outside the family’s control. The best example of this is the increasing complexity of fisheries regulations, which has caused some women to spend significantly more time working to understand the finer details of regulations. Some have stated that their roles have, for all intents and purposes, become similar to a “trader on the floor of the Chicago exchange” and that this has reinforced the need for and the importance of the social capital and support provided by networks such as fishermen’s wives organizations (Calhoun et al. 2016). The second project considers the emerging area of study and critical issue of the aging of the commercial fishing fleet, referring to a demographic shift within the commercial fishing industry; the overall average age of commercial fishermen, vessel owners, and industry support members is increasing in conjunction with decreased youth recruitment into the industry (Russell et al. 2014). Building on the initial work of Calhoun described above, this project focused on capturing oral histories and interviews of members of both the community of interest (fishermen) and communities of place (coastal community leaders) in two communities (Newport and Port Orford, Oregon). The goal was to assess their perceptions of graying of the fleet, including factors that may be contributing to this phenomenon and implications for resilience of the fleet and the local communities that rely on commercial fishing. This small-scale pilot study provided important baseline information examining perceptions related to an aging workforce and its potential impacts on the resilience of local commercial fishing communities and the resilience of the ports. Involving local fishermen, families, and community leaders as key stakeholders was critical in identifying drivers of change and potential impacts to resilience. Results revealed that commercial fishermen, fishing family members, and fishing support industry representatives perceive graying as a threat (Caracciolo 2017; Flathers 2017). However,

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nearly all participants expressed optimism for the future of fishing on the Oregon coast, whether in terms of the continuation of intergenerational family fishing businesses or the commercial fishing industry in general. The graying of the fleet was not perceived as an issue among community leaders; however, these individuals did identify other changes that have occurred within their local fishing fleets, in particular the consolidation and increasing barriers to entry for young people. The three quotes below from the research reflect these challenges and optimism: I mean everything changes I think. But the fishing industry has changed quite a bit regulation-­wise. Like my early days of fishing was some of the last times of the, “Anybody that wants to [can] buy a boat and go fishing.” [Now] it’s so regulated and permits are so variable and hard to come by that it’s a hard industry to get into (fisherman). The biggest barrier is when you go to limited entry or individual fishermen’s quotas … It really created a big barrier because there’s so few people who own the quotas … I watched, I figured, 16 million dollars of boats in about 30 days sail outta here. Business just gone … [quota] bought up by people who had more money in Seattle (community leader). A lot of the old-time fishermen are dying off and are gone. But there are some of them like the [name] family; their children are taking over and doing well with the business. There are some younger people that are coming in and buying boats and starting businesses and trying to get started. They usually start out working on a crew and they work their way up … so I think the fishing industry is probably sustainable with younger people coming in, some of them with the families that keep fishing and some of the younger people that are coming in buying boats and trying to get started (community leader).

The insights from this research have important implications for our understanding of the graying phenomenon. They also illuminate the relationship between regulatory changes in marine fisheries management and coastal community resilience.

Conclusion Much is written—and often romanticized—about fishermen and their way of life. It is true that commercial fishing has been, and continues to be, the soul and image of Oregon’s coastal communities. Loss of the traditional commercial fishing industry would not only be an economic hardship; it would be a symbolic tragedy to most coast residents. History and research have consistently shown that this heritage is a primary concern for both fishing family businesses and the communities within which they reside. Popular media often focus on the decline of fisheries or the negatives, and certainly there have been struggles and tragedies within the industry and for communities. However, our research over time repeatedly finds a culture of adaptation and resilience that continues to transcend social, ecological, and political speed bumps. Our work reveals an ever-present culture of adaptation that serves as the anchor of resilience in coastal Oregon.


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References Adger, W.  N. (2000). Social and ecological resilience: Are they related? Progress in Human Geography, 24(3), 347–364. Adger, W. N. (2006). Vulnerability. Global Environmental Change, 16, 268–281. Auerbach, C., & Silverstein, L. B. (2003). Qualitative data: An introduction to coding and analysis. New York: NYU Press. Berg, B. L. (2001). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. Allyn and Bacon Publishing, Boston, MA. Calhoun, S., Conway, F., & Russell, S. (2016). Acknowledging the voice of women: Implications for fisheries management and policy. Marine Policy, 74, 292–299. Caracciolo, D. (2017). Youth recruitment and an aging workforce: A pilot study of intergenerational family business in Oregon’s commercial fishing industry. Master’s thesis, Oregon State University. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/b2774142k. Conway, F. (2000). Building effective outreach to fishing families. In S. Hanna & M. Hall-Arber (Eds.), Change and resilience in fishing. Corvallis: Oregon Sea Grant. Conway, F. (2001). Outreach, communication, and empowerment: Commercial fishing communities and change. In S. Smith & S. Jacobs (Eds.), Transformations in the lives of commercial fishing families and communities: Reports from the late twentieth century. Gainesville: Florida Sea Grant. Conway, F. (2006). Sharing knowledge, power, and respect: Keys in bringing communities together to improve science, practice, and relationships. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 11(1), 129–137. Conway, F., & Hildenbrand, K. (2009). Adding value to ocean- and fisheries-related research through integrating the knowledge and expertise of the west coast fishing community: The final evaluation of the Port Liaison Project. Report to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Region. Conway, F., & Pomeroy, C. (2006). Evaluate the human—As well as the biological—Objectives of cooperative fisheries research. Fisheries, 31(9), 447–454. Conway, F., & Shaw, W. (2008). Socioeconomic lessons learned from the federally-declared west coast groundfish disaster. Fisheries, 33(6), 269–277. Conway, F., Gilden, J., & Zvonkovic, A. (2002). Changing communication and roles: Innovations in Oregon’s fishing families, communities, and management. Fisheries, 27(10), 20–29. Conway, F., Pomeroy, C., & Hall-Arber, M. (2010a). Managing data-poor fisheries by paying attention to managing relationships. In Managing data-poor fisheries: Case studies, models and solutions. Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1–4 December 2008. Conway, F., Stevenson, J., Hunter, D., et al. (2010b). Ocean space, ocean place: The human dimensions of wave energy in Oregon. Oceanography, 23(2), 82–91. Cramer, L.  A. (2000). Community infrastructure and development of human capital: A Pacific view. In S. Hanna & M. Hall-Arber (Eds.), Change and resilience in fishing. Corvallis: Oregon Sea Grant. Cramer, L. A., Kennedy, J. J., Krannich, R. S., et al. (1993). Changing Forest Service values and their implications for land management decisions affecting resource-dependent communities. Rural Sociology, 58, 475–491. Cutter, S.  L. (2009). Social science perspectives on hazards and vulnerability science. In T.  Beer (Ed.), Geophysical hazards, international year of planet earth. https://doi. org/10.1007/978-90-481-3236-2_2. Cutter, S. L., Barnes, L., Berry, M., et al. (2008). Community and regional resilience—perspectives from hazards, disasters and emergency management. Research Report 1, Community and Regional Resilience Initiative. Finley, C. (2011). All the fish in the sea: Maximum sustainable yield and the failure of fisheries management. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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Fischer, A.  P., Paveglio, T., Carroll, M., et  al. (2013). Assessing social vulnerability to climate change in human communities near public forests and grasslands: A framework for resource managers and planners. Journal of Forestry, 111(5), 1–9. Flathers, C. (2017). Continuity & change: Commercial fishing & community resilience on the Oregon coast. Master’s research paper, Oregon State University. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from Flora, C.  B., & Flora, J.  L. (2013). Rural communities: Legacy and change (4th ed.). Boulder: Westview Press. Folke, C. (2006). Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analyses. Global Environmental Change, 16(3), 253–267. Folke, C., Carpenter, S. R., Walker, B., Scheffer, M., Chapin, T., & Rockström, J. (2010). Resilience thinking: integrating resilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology and Society, 15(4), 20. Fussel, H.  M. (2007). Vulnerability: A generally applicable conceptual framework for climate change research. Global Environmental Change, 17, 155–167. Gale, R.  P., & Cordray, S.  M. (1994). Making sense of sustainability: Nine answers to “What should be sustained?”. Rural Sociology, 59(2), 311–332. Gilden, J., & Conway, F. (2001). An investment in trust: Communication in the commercial fishing and fisheries management community. Corvallis: Oregon Sea Grant. Gilden, J., & Conway, F. (2002). Fishing community attitudes toward socioeconomic research and data collection by fisheries managers. Northwest Region: Report to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Hall-Arber, M., Pomeroy, C., & Conway, F. (2009). Figuring out the human dimensions of fisheries: Illuminating models. Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 1, 300–314. Heinz Center. (2002). Human links to coastal disasters. Washington, DC: H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. Henkel, S., Conway, F., & Boehlert, G. (2013). Environmental and human dimensions of ocean renewable energy development (invited). Proceedings of Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, 101(4), 991–998. Industrial Economics, Inc. (2012). Identification of OCS renewable energy space-use conflicts and analysis of potential mitigation measures. Herndon: U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Jacob, S., Farmer, F. L., Jepson, M., et al. (2001). Landing a definition of fishing dependent communities: Potential social science contributions to meeting national standard 8. Fisheries, 26(10), 16–22. Janssen, M. A., Schoon, M. L., Ke, W., et al. (2006). Scholarly networks on resilience, vulnerability and adaptation within the human dimensions of global environmental change. Global Environmental Change, 16(3), 240–252. Johnson, T. J., & Stallmann, J. I. (1994). Human capital investment in resource dominated economies. Society and Natural Resources, 7, 221–233. Krannich, R. S., & Luloff, A. E. (1991). Progress in rural policy and planning. London: Bellhaven Press. Lui, J., et  al. (2007). Complexity of coupled human and natural systems. Science, 317(5844), 1513–1516. Lune, H., & Berg, B. L. (2012). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. New York: NY Pearson. Machlis, G. E., & Force, J. E. (1988). Community stability and timber-dependent communities. Rural Sociology, 53, 220–234. Magis, K. (2010). Community resilience: An indicator of social sustainability. Society & Natural Resources, 23(5), 401–416. Mark, J. J. (2010). Heraclitus of Ephesus. Ancient history encyclopedia. Heraclitus_of_Ephesos/.


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Marshall, N. A., Fenton, D. M., Marshall, P. A., et al. (2007). How resource dependency can influence social resilience within a primary resource industry. Rural Sociology, 72(3), 359–390. Maxwell, J. A. (2012). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. Los Angeles: SAGE. McLeod, K., & Leslie, H. (2009). Ecosystem-based management for the oceans. Washington, DC: Island Press. Mederer, H., & Barker, C. (2000). Reconstructing identities, families, communities, and futures in the wake of fisheries regulation. In S. Hanna & M. Hall-Arber (Eds.), Change and resilience in fishing. Corvallis: Oregon Sea Grant. Miller, F., Osbahr, B. E., Thomalla, F., et al. (2010). Resilience and vulnerability: Complementary or conflicting concepts. Ecology and Society, 15(3), 11. National Research Council. (2004). Cooperative research in the National Marine Fisheries Service. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Norris, F., Stevens, S., Pfefferbaum, B., et al. (2008). Community resilience as a metaphor, theory, set of capacities, and strategy for disaster readiness. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 127–150. Ostrom, E. (2009). A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. Science, 325(5939), 419–422. Peluso, N.  L., Humphrey, C.  R., & Fortmann, L.  P. (1994). The rock, the beach and the tidal pool: People and poverty in natural resource-dependent areas. Society & Natural Resources, 7, 23–38. Pomeroy, C., Hall-Arber, M., & Conway, F. (2015). Power and perspective: Fisheries and the ocean commons beset by demands of development. Marine Policy, 61, 339–346. Russell, S., Sparks, K., Arias-Arthur, A., et al. (2014). Pacific coast groundfish trawl fishery social study. Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www. Shackeroff, J., Hazen, E., & Crowder, L. (2009). The oceans as peopled seascapes. In K. McLeod & H.  Leslie (Eds.), Ecosystem-based management for the oceans. Washington, DC: Island Press. Smit, B., & Wandel, J.  (2006). Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Global Environmental Change, 16, 282–292. Sullivan, C., Conway, F., Pomeroy, C., et al. (2015). Combining geographic information systems and ethnography to better understand and plan ocean space use. Applied Geography, 59, 70–77. Tierney, K. J., Lindell, M. K., & Perry, R. (2001). Facing the unexpected: Disaster preparedness and response in the United States. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press.

Chapter 10

Understanding the Working in Working Waterfronts: The Hidden Faces of the Industries That Make up the Working Waterfront Jamie Doyle, Bradley Boovy, Marta María Maldonado, and Flaxen D. L. Conway

Introduction Physically, coastal places are the interface between the land and sea. Working waterfronts are defined by industries that are reliant upon water access and ­ ­encompass everything from wild harvest seafood and oysters to towboats, shipping, and marine research. The industries that are the heartbeat of working waterfronts do not exist in a vacuum; they are connected to the place, ecology, and people (workforce) of the coastal community. As the coastal community changes, so do the needs of the workforce in waterfront industries. This is an interwoven, social-ecological system. When viewed through the lens of ethnobiology, classically defined as “the study of the interactions of people and the environment” (Albuquerque and Alves 2016), for the purposes of this chapter, we refer to the term “place” as the environment where these interactions or connections occur. For example, rather than looking at the connection between people and, say, salmon, we focus on the place that

J. Doyle (*) Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, Myrtle Point, OR, USA B. Boovy Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts School of Language, Culture, and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA M. M. Maldonado Department of Ethnic Studies, College of Liberal Arts School of Language, Culture, and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA F. D. L. Conway Department of Sociology/Oregon Sea Grant/Marine Resource Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



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allows this connection to occur. Similarly, we focus primarily on the commercial seafood/fishing industry (rather than recreational) as a whole; we do not focus on specific species, seasons, or management, as these would be worthy chapters in their own right. Our premise, rather, is that working waterfronts provide a lens through which we can understand the connection between coastal communities and the natural environment; the community’s knowledge of that environment; and the links between support for the place, the work, and the people working in these waterfront industries. Interestingly, these waterfront industries and waterfront changes tend to be invisible to and misunderstood by even the local public. Many elements of the working waterfront take place out of sight—for reasons of safety, privacy, tides and timing, or the simple fact that activities are on the water, far from the eyes of those on land. This means that not only is the work/activity itself often not visible, but the people doing that work are also not visible. Oyster growers follow the tides and may harvest oysters by hand with headlamps in the middle of the night (Fig. 10.1). Seafood processing operations are visible and are detectable by smell outside the processing facilities, but what goes on inside the buildings and who is doing this work can be unclear. Fishing boats exit harbors in the early hours of the day, and all activity is offshore except unloading, which can happen at limited times, especially with at-sea catcher-processors that are in port for only brief periods of time. Marine research is also relatively hidden, as it takes place offshore, underwater, in a lab, or in other

Fig. 10.1  Moving bags of oysters shells [Photo: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone]

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places rarely accessible to the public. This workforce behind working waterfronts extends to marine resource managers, and the significance of management (in the case of fisheries, what is caught, how it’s caught, and even the fact that the fishery is managed) is also generally invisible to the local community and the public. Working waterfronts around the country share similar challenges, yet each state has its own unique issues. Like others, Oregon’s working waterfronts are facing issues of infrastructure and a changing seafood industry. Although many of the industries along Oregon’s working waterfronts are off-limits to the public, hard to see, and not something that everyone knows about, waterfront industries often play critical roles in the local community. Without a visible identity, however, it is hard to foster understanding and maintain support for the many roles they play. This chapter presents a glimpse into some of the challenges and potential solutions by sharing some examples from coastal Oregon: infrastructure and small port dredging, family and gender role changes, public awareness and education, and research to understand changing demographics within working waterfront industries and place. We take this approach because humans generally do not make decisions to support or protect things that they do not see or understand. The idea is to give a face to these industries, as this may help locals and nonlocals alike to see, better understand, and support the crucial role these people, workers, and industries play in Oregon’s coastal communities. While we share some examples, we do not pretend to have all of the solutions. Change is a given part of life, and the only way forward as a resilient coastal community is to anticipate change, learn from the past, and keep asking challenging questions while looking toward the future.

History of Working Waterfront Issues Around the Country Change is part of coastal heritage, and U.S. waterfronts have changed drastically in the past 100 years. Understanding these changes is part of community resilience and adaptive capacity. To understand the current working waterfront efforts around the country, it is important to look back at the changes that have happened over time. Historically, waterways played critical roles in a city’s transportation system and often were very dirty places full of industrial and household waste. “Waterfront revitalization” is the cleaning up of these waterfronts to make them usable for things such as recreation, parks, and housing (Kellner 2009). As waterfronts were revitalized, the demand for waterfront property increased, which led to a squeezing out of traditional users, who were reliant on access to water for their work. Working waterfront efforts differ from waterfront revitalization by placing the focus on users that are waterdependent. Working waterfronts can be described as the industries and properties that are water-dependent (those that rely on access to water, such as marinas and seafood processors), water related (those that could occur anywhere but benefit from being near water, such as gear shacks), and non-water-dependent (those that do not require water and derive no economic benefit from being close to the water) (Kellner 2009). Issues with water access for water-dependent industries are occurring in many coastal states, and while traditional working waterfront industries and laws vary from


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state to state, all working waterfront industries share many similar challenges. The desire to collectively address the issues facing working waterfront industries and to leverage efforts led to the formation of the National Working Waterfronts Network (NWWN), a nationwide network dedicated to supporting, preserving, and enhancing our nation’s working waterfronts and waterways. The NWWN’s mission is to increase the capacity of coastal communities and stakeholders to make informed decisions, balance diverse uses, ensure access, and plan for the future of their working waterfronts and waterways (National Working Waterfront Network 2017). In addition to conducting research on working waterfront needs and sharing knowledge by hosting a national conference (the National Symposium on Working Waterfronts and Waterways), the NWWN provides tools for working waterfront industries (e.g., legal information, case studies), with particular focus on smaller operations, as larger ports (e.g., Long Beach, Seattle, New York) have the capacity to advocate for their own needs. In Oregon, ports are smaller in scale and can benefit from NWWN resources.

Oregon’s Working Waterfronts Oregon’s working waterfronts are both similar to those in other parts of the country and unique. Oregon’s statewide planning goals, written in the 1970s, were very proactive in zoning to protect water-related and water-dependent industries for both submerged lands and shoreside areas (Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development 2010). These industries include shipping, tugboats (Fig.  10.2), oyster growers, log yards, marinas, and seafood processors. Oregon planning goals define water-dependent as “a use or activity which can be carried out only on, in, or adjacent to water areas because the use requires access to the water body for water-­ borne transportation, recreation, energy production, or source of water.” Water-­ related uses are those that “are not directly dependent upon access to a water body, but which provide goods or services that are directly associated with water-­ dependent land or waterway use, and which, if not located adjacent to water, would result in a public loss of quality in the goods or services offered. Except as necessary for water-dependent or water-related uses or facilities, residences, parking lots, spoil and dump sites, roads and highways, restaurants, businesses, factories, and trailer parks are not generally considered dependent on or related to water location needs.” Goal 16, Estuarine Resources, and Goal 17, Coastal Shoreland, specifically prioritize water-related and water-dependent activities and industries for management and use (Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development 2010). Many other states do not yet have such protections and are working on laws that will protect access to water for water-dependent users. While Oregon already has legal protection so that water-dependent users can access the water, Oregon’s working waterfronts face unique challenges with water access. This chapter will explore the working waterfronts of Oregon’s coastal communities, looking at how community voice and identity have been/are critical to the vital-

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Fig. 10.2  Tugboat [Photo: Jamie Doyle]

ity of working waterfront industries. But first, we need to give some context to these places. Although the Oregon coast is a well-known tourist destination beloved by many visitors, it is home to a relatively small population. Unlike the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, there are no large urban centers on the Oregon coast. Only about 234,000 people live along the 340 miles from Astoria to Brookings (Oregon Rural Explorer 2017); roughly the same distance from Jacksonville to Miami, Florida, has a population of more than six million (Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research 2017). Most of Oregon’s coastal towns have populations of 10,000 or fewer people. The largest community—a combination of Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston— has a population of only about 30,000 people. In addition to these small populations, the Oregon coast is relatively isolated by the low-lying Coast Range mountains; much of this land is publicly owned as national forest. The closest urban areas are on the other side of the Coast Range, approximately 1–2.5 h away. In the winter months, landslides frequently cut the link between the major transportation routes—Interstate 5 and Highway 101 (Bakall 2014; Associated Press 2015). Given the small population, isolation, and limited resources, existing industries are crucial to coastal communities; traditional industries (timber, fishing, agriculture), while having changed and adapted over time, are still the lifeblood of many of these communities. On the Oregon coast, the three largest working waterfronts—Astoria/Warrenton, Newport, and Charleston/Coos Bay/North Bend—have many working waterfront industries, including commercial fishing, recreational fishing, seafood processing,


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shipping, timber and chip terminals, shipbuilding, oyster growing, and marine research. Several smaller Oregon ports are important in their own right: Garibaldi and Pacific City in the northern part of the state; Depoe Bay, Florence, and Reedsport/Winchester Bay in the central part of the state; and Port Orford, Bandon, Gold Beach, and Brookings in the southern part of the state. In spite of their smaller size, all of these communities have working waterfront industries. Because of their size, it could be argued that these industries play an even larger role in the local economy. Next, we will briefly describe Oregon’s working waterfronts. Astoria/Warrenton is located at the mouth of the Columbia River, the main shipping route to Portland (Oregon’s largest city), which is 70 miles upriver. Large ships have to cross a treacherous bar (the dangers of the bar will be d­ iscussed in the next section), and they rely on Columbia River bar pilots for navigation across the bar, upriver, and back across the bar to the ocean on the ship’s passage out to sea (Fig. 10.3). The Columbia River bar pilots are an important industry group whose local ecological knowledge is critical for safe passage into and out of the Pacific; bar pilots have been formally licensed since 1846 (Columbia River Bar Pilots 2014). This area is so dangerous that more than 2000 ships have sunk here since the 1790s, earning it the nickname the “Graveyard of the Pacific” (Oregon State Parks 2014). Astoria historically was the home of many salmon canneries, and today Astoria and Warrenton have a commercial fishing fleet and several seafood processors. The tourist connection to Astoria’s working ­waterfront includes a large recreational salmon fishery in the fall, Buoy 10, cruise ship visits, and an integrated boardwalk with a trolley that passes current and historic working waterfront industries and helps visitors understand that much of Astoria’s identity is connected to these waterfront industries. One of the challenges facing this (and other) coastal

Fig. 10.3  Bar pilot [Photo: Jamie Doyle]

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communities is affordable housing for the local workforce; prices are too high for many seafood processing workers, especially if they only work seasonally. Newport sits along Oregon’s midcoast. Newport has a large nearshore and distant-­ water commercial fishing fleet. Newport’s Bayfront neighborhood has a mix of tourism-related businesses and working waterfront industries. Seafood processors line the water side of the street, facing tourist-focused fudge shops and Ripley’s Believe It or Not across the street. Newport is also Oregon’s hub for marine research activity. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Operations– Pacific fleet is headquartered here (NOAA Marine Operations Pacific 2017), and an ocean renewable energy testing facility is emerging just offshore (Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center 2017). This community is home to one of Oregon’s oldest active fishing advocacy groups, Newport Fishermen’s Wives, who play a critical role in keeping fishing a visible part of the community (Newport Fishermen’s Wives 2017). Challenges facing this (and other) coastal communities include tensions that can arise between waterfront users (such as parking for tourism or commercial fleets). Coos Estuary (Coos Bay/Charleston/North Bend) is the largest estuary in Oregon and is the largest oyster producer in the state. A timber company ships logs and chips to Asia, and a railroad transports lumber products inland. The shore-side infrastructure and transportation help keep these working waterfront industries in business. Charleston also has a large fishing fleet. One branch of Coos Estuary, South Slough, is a National Estuarine Research Reserve. Challenges facing this (and other) coastal communities include recent efforts to allow a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the estuary. This project has been highly controversial but also shows how working waterfront industries change with time (Sickinger 2017). Highlighting a few of the smaller ports, Pacific City has a dory fleet that launches and lands directly onto the beach—a daunting task considering the small size of the boats and the large surf of the Pacific Ocean. Depoe Bay may be the “world’s smallest harbor” (the town’s tag line), but it has a strong charterboat industry that takes people fishing and whale watching. Winchester Bay used to have a commercial fleet but is primarily a recreational port these days. Because of a shoaling issue, Port Orford has a dock with limited water access and no in-water marina. Rather, fishing boats must be hoisted into and out of the water (boat length is limited by the winch’s capacity) and are d­ ry-docked in port.

Commonalities, Challenges, and Resilience Change in working waterfront industries happens over time (e.g., the wave energy industry of today versus wood boat builders and shipping of the past) and varies based on location (e.g., oyster cultivation in Coos Bay versus NOAA Marine Operations Pacific research fleet in Newport). Nonetheless, many aspects of working waterfront industries have remained the same in spite of changes in technology and people. There are also many commonalities in the working waterfront industries from Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south. Working waterfront


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Fig. 10.4  Oyster processing [Photo: Jamie Doyle]

industries employ a wide range of people. These include workers such as welders, who break and make ships; bar pilots, who climb a rope ladder from a small tug up 70 ft onto a giant ship to navigate it safely across the bar, and the reverse on the way out; oyster growers, who harvest oysters following the tides at all times of day or night; seafood processing workers (Fig. 10.4), who work shifts seasonally depending on what species is in season; net makers; tugboat captains; longshoremen/stevedores, who load and unload cargo; fishermen in boats large and small; and researchers on boats or mudflats or diving underwater. Additionally, working waterfront industries encompass a wide range of incomes, from first-time deckhands who barely get by to seasoned captains and owners who lead economically comfortable lifestyles. Oregon’s working waterfronts also have some strikingly similar challenges, regardless of scale or the industries they house. As previously stated, while legal access to the water is not an issue in Oregon as it is in other states, access can be severely limited by infrastructure, safety, changing climate and/or ocean conditions, public awareness, and changing demographics. Sometimes, access is limited by changes in policy or approach, such as increasing requirements for permits and licenses for fishermen (Stoll et al. 2016). There is a need to retain the specialized knowledge in each of these working waterfront industries: the fishermen who know how to read the bar to cross it safely, the seafood processing worker who knows how to maximize recovery weight, the oyster harvester who can walk on the mud without sinking, the bar pilot who can bring in a ship in turbulent seas. In discussing these challenges, it is important to look not only at how these issues affect Oregon’s coastal communities, but also at how the communities and working waterfront

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industries overcome these challenges—in short, how working waterfronts are exhibiting (or not) resilience.

Seeing the Changing Face of Oregon’s Working Waterfronts As the image of these places, industries, and the people involved becomes clearer, one can begin to see the crucial role they play in the community. One can see the shift from historic uses and users to the present situation facing Oregon’s working waterfronts. Although populations have grown and ebbed over time, the overall populations in Oregon’s coastal ports are slowly rising (Oregon Rural Explorer 2017). However, while some people leave and others move into these places, one might see fewer residents with a connection to the historical industries. This, we suggest, is ultimately connected to the resilience of the community. It is important to note the connection between community resilience and the resilience of working waterfront industries. In the past decade, there has been a marked interest in defining and understanding resilience and vulnerability (broadly speaking, the opposite of vitality) within fisheries and the social systems that surround them (Berkes and Ross 2013; Calhoun et  al. 2016; Clay and Olson 2008; Coulthard 2012; Johnson et al. 2014; Tuler et al. 2008). Vulnerability can be broadly described as a function of stresses people experience and their ability to cope with them (Tuler et  al. 2008), whereas resilience may be understood as the ability to adapt and endure in the face of changing conditions (Johnson et al. 2014). According to Clay and Olson (2008: 143), “vulnerability and resiliency highlight the role of people, in relation to each other and to the environment, in creating and coping with risk.” Social vulnerability, more specifically, is the product of stress on a person’s or group’s experience and the ability of that social entity to cope with perturbation (Adger 2000; Tuler et al. 2008). These stressors can be internally derived within the social system, from the power relations inherent in categories such as gender, race/ ethnicity, and class, or a product of external influences, such as those resulting from policy application and economic disruptions (Clay and Olson 2008; Tuler et  al. 2008). Adaptive capacity connects both resilience and vulnerability within a system and may be defined as the system’s capacity and capability to evolve when faced with a shifting environment (Folke et  al. 2002; Gallopín 2006; Smit and Wandel 2006). Social, economic, and environmental systems alike should strive to increase adaptive capacity while reducing situations that may reduce adaptive capacity. To illustrate some of these concepts in a working waterfronts context, the following stories are examples of how working waterfronts and the associated industries in Oregon have and continue to change and adapt.


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Port Infrastructure and Passage The first example highlighting the connection between resilience and working waterfronts is related to port infrastructure and passage (jetties and dredging). While other states are limited in their legal access to water, and Oregon has many protections that allow physical access to the water, what makes Oregon unique is that access to the water often is limited by safety. Most of Oregon’s coastal water access is via a river, and even in places where the access is not via a river, such as the dory fleet in Pacific City, the Pacific Ocean’s waves can be very harsh; wave height can reach 30 ft at least once annually, with the highest wave heights reaching approximately 45 ft and the lowest almost never smaller than 3–6 ft (Özkan-Haller 2016). The eastern Pacific Ocean along the west coast of North America has very large waves, in part because of the narrow width and steep drop of the continental shelf; the Atlantic Ocean, along eastern North America, by comparison, has a very gradual and wide continental shelf, which slows waves long before they reach shore. The bar—the navigational inlet where the river meets the ocean—can be a very dangerous place (Condon 1980). The large volume of river water flowing into the ocean dumps silt and creates its own small currents. At the same time, river water meets the large waves of the Pacific, and conditions can change with the weather, tides, fog, winds, etc. It takes experience and local technical and ecological knowledge to safely cross all of the bars in Oregon. Almost every year, someone without experience at a particular bar dies when a boat sinks trying to cross the bar (Strong and Sheeler 2016; Zarkin 2016). Fishermen with familiarity, a long history, and local technical and ecological knowledge of their home port have noticed changes in recent years and communicate these changes to their peers and local decision makers. In one example, because the Coos Estuary bar in Charleston has become harder to cross, they have noted that attempted crossings by people unfamiliar with the bar can end in tragedy, as in the case of the Eagle III, when a captain from another port attempted to cross the bar in dangerous conditions (Strong 2016). Over time, humans have found ways to make bar crossings safer by creating jetties to channelize rivers and extend their reach into the ocean. Dredging helps keep access open, an important factor for large ports such as Coos Bay and small ports such as Port Orford. (As mentioned earlier, a winch hoists vessels into and out of the water, but only if the area has been dredged so that water, not sand, is beneath the winch.) Many of Oregon’s river jetties were installed around 1900, and the pounding of the Pacific Ocean has worn them down over time. Maintaining working waterfront infrastructure is critical to keeping the access to water safe for commercial and ­recreational uses, but the cost of updating and maintaining this infrastructure is very high. In small ports, which no longer have the large volumes of commercial fish landings that typically pay for this type of infrastructure maintenance, funding can be even more difficult to find. The result is a relentless cycle: as the bar becomes more dangerous to cross, fewer fishermen risk it and move to ports with a safer bar. Supporting industries—such as a winch to offload the seafood, seafood processors to buy and process the fish, and ice suppliers—slowly vanish. Over time, even if someone wanted to fish out of this port,

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the infrastructure would be inadequate. This problem is especially serious for commercial fishing, the primary focus of this chapter, but such changes also affect recreational fishing. Many smaller coastal communities that no longer have the infrastructure to support commercial fishing rely heavily on recreational fishing and the tourists that come to fish. These recreational fishing operations also rely on safe conditions for their business. One of the worst bar-crossing tragedies involved a charter excursion in 2003, the Taki-Too, out of Tillamook, in which 11 people died (Tobias 2010). Oregon’s small southern ports have collectively been suffering from the need for dredging in their commercial marinas and launch sites. This in-port dredging is critical to keeping their marinas accessible for recreational boats. Dredging of navigational channels is done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but smaller dredging needed in their marinas is not covered by the Corps and is exceedingly expensive. These ports combined efforts to form the South Coast Ports Coalition and were able to get the attention and support of elected officials. In 2015, the state of Oregon purchased the Laura, an Ellicot-360SL swing ladder suction dredge, which is housed at the International Port of Coos Bay (Port of Coos Bay 2017). The dredge is now used coastwide in smaller ports and marinas to keep the water accessible for working waterfront industries. This creative solution was possible only through collaboration and a collective voice that was able to raise awareness far beyond what any individual port would have been able to do. This leveraging of efforts by the smaller south-coast ports even led to collaboration with a larger port, the International Port of Coos Bay, and a solution that can serve the smaller ports coastwide.

Seafood Harvesting and Safety Commercial fishing in Oregon is made up primarily of small, family businesses (Pomeroy et al. 2015; Calhoun et al. 2016). An important yet often-overlooked part of the capacity for resilience and adaptation has been the role women play in working waterfront industries. Similar to other natural resource-based occupations in Oregon and other places, commercial fishing is typically a gendered occupation, with the majority of commercial fishermen being male. The work of processing, packaging, and preparing seafood, however, has historically largely been done by women. As in other industries, the labor of women in fishing and seafood processing remains invisible to both policy makers and scholars (Santos 2015) despite the fact that these jobs provide income to support family wellbeing. These jobs often are not tracked. Worldwide, Biswas (2011) estimates that roughly 174 million people do jobs that are not tracked in fishery statistics because they are considered economically insignificant. Most of these jobs are done by women, and many are unpaid or underpaid for their labor (Biswas 2011). Fisheries have relied on the cheap and often unpaid labor of women and minority groups, including migrants, in order to maintain the industry during key shifts in structure and locations of global fisheries moving south (Biswas 2011). Additionally, because of connections between the kinds of jobs that women do in fisheries on the one hand


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Fig. 10.5  Shrimp processing [Photo: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone]

and family and community wellbeing on the other, women also are often involved in grassroots efforts to protect their livelihoods and the seafood industry more broadly (Veuthy and Gerber 2012). Along with their roles in seafood processing (Fig. 10.5), traditional female roles in commercial fishing include caring for the family and maritime household (emotional and household support, child rearing), onshore business logistics (finances, correspondence), and maintaining the connection with the community at large (Calhoun et  al. 2016). This connection can come through organizations such as Newport Fishermen’s Wives, which provides guidance for new fishing families, financial support in instances of lost loved ones, a support group for a complex lifestyle (Conway et al. 2002; Calhoun et al. 2016), and advocacy, such as promoting seafood and safety. Organizations such as this serve not only to support the industry but also to retain economic, technical, and ecological knowledge within the industry and community across a range of ages and experience. Younger or newer members can learn from established members. They gain support from each other but also pass along the knowledge that ultimately keeps the community strong. In essence, this organization provides support and growth to an unknown or unrecognized part of the working waterfront: the fisherman’s spouse. There are many examples of how being a strong organization connected to the larger community is beneficial, and we will focus on an example that relates to safety. The organization played a key role in keeping the U.S.  Coast Guard (USCG) from closing the rescue helicopter facility stationed in Newport. USCG in Oregon

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is part of the 13th District, based in Seattle, which covers the Pacific Northwest. Of these districts, two sectors—Columbia River and North Bend—cover the Oregon coast and oversee more than nine stations along the Oregon coast, one of which is an air facility in Newport (U.S. Coast Guard 13th District 2017). Helicopters are located in Astoria and Coos Bay/North Bend, and the only other air facility is the midcoast Newport location. Helicopters are incredibly important for search and ­rescue (SAR) operations. They are able to reach a distressed or sinking vessel faster and in worse weather than a SAR boat and are outfitted to rescue fishermen using a lowered basket and USCG rescue swimmer. In 2014, the USCG decided to close the Newport location and consolidate efforts at the North Bend station, whose helicopters would service the midcoast area. This decision was incredibly distressing for the Newport community. The most dangerous fishery in Oregon, Dungeness crab, is fished in the winter when storms are severe and average ocean temperatures are around 50 °F. In that water temperature, barring challenges such as waves or sinking vessels, a person might survive an hour in the best-case scenario. A helicopter ­coming from North Bend or Astoria would take at least an hour—if not more—to arrive, thus significantly reducing chances of survival. Fishermen and their families follow the weather incredibly closely, tracking swells, storms, and other ocean ­conditions. The Newport Fishermen’s Wives organization is very aware of the environmental dangers of working on the ocean, crossing the bar, and fishing. They are intimately familiar with the unpredictability of the weather, the rough seas of the winter crab season, and the stress of waiting onshore for someone to come home safely. This knowledge of and connection to the often rough ocean environment helped this group mobilize to retain the helicopter. After a very public battle with the USCG, Newport Fishermen’s Wives and Oregon’s federal elected officials successfully made a case to keep the Newport air facility open. The role of these women in mobilizing the rest of their community cannot be overstated. They collected more than 10,000 signatures for a petition to keep the helicopter. They sued, arguing that “closing the Newport Air Station would violate the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which prohibits the Coast Guard from cutting back its mission” (Dillman 2016; Associated Press 2014). They worked tirelessly to be the voice of this working waterfront, and that voice saved the helicopter, which is used far beyond commercial fishing. Tourists who do not know the waves are often swept off of jetties or caught unawares, and the Newport helicopter has saved several lives since the 2014 attempt to eliminate it. Pilots’ deep knowledge of the local ocean conditions and industry’s needs, combined with their unified ­community voice, led to a successful outcome. Other examples include newer or expanding roles, such as actively engaging with increasingly complex regulations, including fishing quotas (Calhoun et al. 2016), which also appear to impact intergenerational family business practices. All of these brief examples highlight the benefit of gaining awareness and a more a­ ccurate image of the people integral to working waterfront industries.


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Fig. 10.6  Offloading at a processor [Photo: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone]

Education Raising awareness and understanding can also come through education. Members of today’s coastal communities—unless they are employed by or have family employed in a working waterfront industry—may not recognize a connection to any of Oregon’s working waterfront industries. For many, the appeal of the waterfront is linked to the romantic notion of these industries. If people follow that romance without a good understanding of the complexities of working waterfronts, they may not be able to sustain the industries. Many coastal residents, especially those who moved to the area recently, do not understand what the local working waterfront industries are or what impact they have on the community. They do not know what seafood is caught, how it is caught, or how it is processed. Education programs can help people learn about these working waterfront industries, especially seafood and its importance to the local foods movement. In this way, these efforts aim to create an awareness in the community of both historical industries and current industries. They help coastal Oregonians and visitors alike understand the industries and the people ­working in them, which are key pieces of the fabric in coastal communities. Examples of the role education can play in fostering an identity for Oregon’s working waterfronts include programs such as Shop at the Dock (and Beyond), a guided seafood dock walk that helps people learn how to buy direct from fishing boats. The Coos Bay/Charleston/North Bend working waterfronts tour app provides behind-the-scenes footage of many of the working waterfront industries (Oregon

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Working Waterfront Tour 2016), such as offloading (Fig. 10.6). Both programs aim to make the waterfront accessible to people unfamiliar with working waterfront industries. These programs serve as a link between producers and consumers (­education regarding what is local, what is available and when, etc.) and represent another changing face of the working waterfront. At the same time, the different needs and interests of working waterfront ­industries and tourism can lead to tension and user conflicts, such as the previously mentioned parking conflict. Education programs can help tourists and locals alike recognize that their interests are not mutually exclusive and that they can thrive together. For instance, a port-run docent program in Newport has trained volunteers on the docks to provide interpretation about the fishing industry and the sea lions that like to haul out on a dock adjacent to the fishing areas. When tourists view the sea lions there instead of on the active fishing docks, they stay out of the way of working fishermen but are able to view fishing operations and create a connection to the industry. Visitors are thus able to “access” the working waterfront industries in a way that is mutually beneficial to tourism and fishing. In a time when one of the biggest challenges facing working waterfront industries is access to the water, their future success might be determined by finding ways for everyone to access and experience these industries. Oregon’s seafood processing industry faces many challenges, among which workforce-related challenges stand out. Although there are some seafood direct sales (e.g., off the boat), the majority of the U.S. wild-harvested seafood and aquaculture (including in Oregon) is processed and exported (Greenberg 2014). The seasonality and unpredictability of the work means a high turnover rate and loss of workers with needed skills. Processors employ people in coastal communities where employment opportunities often are limited. In Coos Bay, a community where 1 or 2 new jobs are celebrated, the loss of 46 positions in 2016 at a Charleston processor had remarkable impacts, as noted in the public comment by Hallmark Fisheries at the NOAA-NMFS Catch Shares meeting (personal communication, Coos Bay 2016). In Astoria and Newport, a recurrent theme brought up by processors in similar meetings was “success for conservation/failure for the industry and economic impacts to the processors” given “the loss of skilled labor due to the inconsistency and unpredictability of work” and how workers “need to seek other work to complement processing work.” The resilience, or lack thereof, of the processing workforce and industry has the potential for a range of direct and indirect impacts on the resilience and vitality of coastal communities. However, these impacts are not well understood, and the empirical foundation needed to inform response strategies to current issues (e.g., negative impacts from fisheries policy changes such as ­rationalization) or to predict how coastal communities might respond to future unknown impacts (e.g., immigration policy changes, demographic changes, and/or environmental changes) is lacking. This leads to the final story to tell in this chapter: the future of these working waterfronts and the workforce c­ onnected to them.


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Oregon’s Future Working Waterfront Workforce Oregon’s coastal communities have begun to face demographic changes like those experienced by inland rural communities throughout the United States, specifically, the loss or graying of the non-Hispanic white population, coupled with significant growth of new populations. Current studies are investigating the trend in rising average age of commercial fishermen, often called the graying of the fleet, and the impact this might have on the industry and multigenerational family businesses. Results from the pilot study indicate that there are concerns regarding a change or loss in the transmission of traditional or local technical and ecological knowledge held by graying fishermen and how this loss might impact both the industry and coastal communities (Caracciolo 2017; Flathers 2017). A cultural/ethnic disconnect may also exist, possibly affecting the transmission of local technical and ecological knowledge. In Oregon, demographic change is driven primarily by Latino population growth, followed by growth of Asian populations (Oregon Community Foundation 2016; Asian Americans Advancing Justice 2015; Office of Economic Analysis 2010; Kirschner et al. 2006). In places such as Astoria, Newport, and Coos Bay/Charleston/North Bend, where seafood processors are valued employers, research points to shifting demographics within the seafood processing workforce and specifically a growing reliance on Latino labor (Langdon-­Pollock 2006; Salinas Ferreira 2015). Research also suggests that demographic change in workplaces may be likely to affect industry practices and conditions (Kmec 2003). To date, little is known about whether and how demographic change along the Oregon coast has changed practices and conditions in seafood processing. Demographic change at the community and workplace levels entails a range of potential changes in economic conditions, sociocultural and socioecological relations, and even in the identity of communities (Maldonado and Licona 2007). For instance, some small coastal towns in Oregon describe a sense of uncertainty from demographic change, a feeling that can inhibit innovations in family, business, and community planning efforts (Russell et  al. 2014). With this in mind, research is needed on the extent to which the sociodemographic composition of coastal communities and of the seafood processing workforce in Oregon has changed and the consequences for industry conditions and practices and for coastal communities. Places are dynamic and are constituted by the social relations among those who inhabit them. As the characteristics of those who inhabit and animate Oregon’s coastal communities change, a host of new sociopolitical questions emerge, with implications for how we understand coastal spaces. For example, national immigration policy and federal practices of immigration enforcement could increasingly shape conditions and dynamics in coastal industries and communities. Latinos’ vulnerabilities resulting from immigration and legal ­status shape everyday life for individuals, households, workplaces, and communities and likely have direct implications for Oregon’s working waterfront industries. Similarly, to the extent that coastal communities are created by and

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through social interaction, demographic change is likely to spark interruptions or disruptions in dominant or historical sociocultural practices, which can become manifest as ­tensions between segments of community, with the potential for sociocultural change. Emerging research aims to answer important questions and explore how new populations have inscribed Oregon’s coastal communities with their cultural and linguistic repertoires, how different segments of community, including new populations, understand, value, and use waterfronts and coastal resources, and with what ecological and social consequences. For example, will the new working waterfront industry workforce be able to help advocate, if needed, for their industry, given their shorter time in the community and in the working waterfront workforce? Will they have a unified voice, if needed, to help protect the industry, and will the broader community know enough about the new minority working waterfront workforce to have a community voice behind this industry/workforce if needed in the future?

Conclusion Waterfront industries inherently face challenges with being understood in the ­community because so much of the activity takes place out of sight, whether ­intentionally for safety reasons, or because of tides (e.g., harvesting oysters at night), times (e.g., railroad schedules), or locations (e.g., offshore fishing, underwater research). Add to this the fact that activities such as fisheries management are also “hidden” or misunderstood, and the result is that new people moving to the area, visitors, and even the local public often know very little about Oregon’s waterfront industries. They do not know or understand the environmental regulations to which they are bound or with which they are obliged to comply. They do not see the value of the industry. They do not see the faces of the people working in these industries. This lack of visibility and understanding leaves a wide opening for communities to neglect working waterfront industries. Simply, if access to the water is limited by safety, safety is limited by infrastructure, and the will to maintain infrastructure is limited by community support, then a focus could be placed on building community support and awareness. While elected officials are often needed to help find the means to support these industries, officials respond only when enough “average” citizens/constituents demand action. As a crucial component of Oregon’s coastal economy, working waterfront ­industries depend on the resilience and vitality of the broader communities in which they are embedded and on which they rely to meet workforce needs. Similarly, workers depend on these working waterfront industries as a source of employment in order to sustain families and coastal communities more generally. Much can be learned from the study of the effects of policy, economic, social, and demographic change in other rural parts of the country, which imply a growing need for Oregon’s coastal communities and working waterfront industries to work in tandem, so that


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employers can ensure the long-term stability of their workforce and communities can achieve economic stability while adapting to change in positive ways. Yet, is it not also true that as we better understand coastal communities and construct a clearer image or “face” of these working waterfronts and their industries, locals and nonlocals alike might be able to see, better understand, and support the crucial role these people, workers, and industries play in this and other places? We believe this to be true and have taken this approach in this chapter because humans generally do not make decisions to support or protect things that they do not see or understand.

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Dillman, T. (2016). Newport’s rescue helicopter rescued. Fishermen’s News. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from Flathers, C. (2017). Continuity & change: Commercial fishing & community resilience on the Oregon coast. Master’s research paper, Oregon State University. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from http:// Folke, C., Carpenter, S., Elmqvist, T., Gunderson, L., Holling, C.  S., & Walker, B. (2002). Resilience and sustainable development: Building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations. Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment, 31(5), 437–440. Gallopín, G. C. (2006). Linkages between vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity. Global Environmental Change, 16(3), 293–303. Greenberg, P. (2014). American catch: The fight for our local seafood. New York: Penguin Press. Johnson, T., Anna, H., & Thompson, C. (2014). Qualitative indicators of social resilience in small-­ scale fishing communities: An emphasis on perceptions and practice. Human Ecology Review, 20(2), 97–115. Kellner, L. (2009). A toolbox for sustaining working waterfronts: Assessing applications in Newport, Oregon. Master’s thesis, Oregon State University. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from Kirschner, A., Berry, E., & Glasgow, N. (2006). The changing faces of rural America. In W. A. Kandel & D. L. Brown (Eds.), Population change and rural society. The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis (Vol. 16). Dordrecht: Springer. Kmec, J. (2003). Minority job concentration and wages. Social Problems, 50(1), 38–59. Langdon-Pollock, J. (2006). A pilot study in two west coast marine fishing communities, Astoria and Newport, Oregon: Perspectives from fishing community members. Portland: Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Economic Fisheries Information Network. Maldonado, M., & Licona, A. (2007). Re-thinking integration as reciprocal and spatialized process. Journal of Latino/Latin American Studies, 2(4), 128–143. National Working Waterfront Network. (2017). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from http://www. Newport Fishermen’s Wives. (2017). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from NOAA Marine Operations Pacific. (2017). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from https://www.omao. Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center. (2017). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from Office of Economic Analysis. (2010). Oregon’s demographic trends. Oregon Department of Administrative Services. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from Oregon Community Foundation, Latino Partnership Program. (2016). Latinos in Oregon: Trends and opportunities in a changing state. Tracking Oregon’s Progress Series. Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. (2010). Oregon’s statewide planning goals and guidelines. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from goals.aspx Oregon Rural Explorer. (2017). Community report tool. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from http:// Oregon State Parks. (2014). Graveyard of the Pacific (Publication 63400-8117). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from Files%2Fpublications%2F37441_Graveyard_of_Pacific_%28lowres%29032248.pdf Oregon Working Waterfront Tour. (2016). Video series. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from https://


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Özkan-Haller, H. T. (2016). Oregon’s waves: Both beauty and beast. Presentation at the State of the Coast conference, Lincoln City, OR, October 27, 2016. Pomeroy, C., Hall-Arber, M., & Conway, F. (2015). Power and perspective: Fisheries and the ocean commons beset by demands of development. Marine Policy, 61, 339–346. Port of Coos Bay. (2017). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from port-of-garibaldi-dredging/ Russell, S., Sparks, K., Arias-Arthur, A., & Varney, A. (2014). Pacific Coast groundfish trawl fishery social study. Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from https:// Salinas Ferreira, A. (2015). Immigrant labor in fish processing in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia and current undocumented labor. Pomona Senior Theses, Paper 130. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from Santos, A. (2015). Fisheries as a way of life: Gendered livelihoods, identities and perspectives of artisanal fisheries in eastern Brazil. Marine Policy, 62, 279–288. marpol.2015.09.007. Sickinger, T. (2017). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from index.ssf/2017/05/wyden_and_merkley_ask_trump_to.html Smit, B., & Wandel, J.  (2006). Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Global Environmental Change, 16(3), 282–292. Stoll, J. S., Beitl, C. M., & Wilson, J. A. (2016). How access to Maine’s fisheries has changed over a quarter century: The cumulative effects of licensing on resilience. Global Environmental Change, 37, 79–91. Strong, A. M. (2016). “An ungodly sound”: Eagle III boat captain recalls harrowing experience. The Bandon Western World. Retrieved January 1, 2018, from news/eagle-iii-boat-captain-recalls-harrowing-experience/article_c5f1ed1d-beb8-5631-9e6da1b80e56cac5.html Strong, A. M., & Sheeler, A. (2016). Sheriff’s office releases names of Eagle III crew members. The World Newspaper. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from sheriff-s-office-releases-names-of-eagle-iii-crew-members/article_5285bade-309f-5604-b81ff215e036b8c2.html Tobias, L. (2010). Oregon’s Tillamook Bay bar grows more deadly, claiming 17 lives in seven years. The Oregonian. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from Tuler, S., Agyeman, J., Pinto da Silvia, P., et al. (2008). Assessing vulnerabilities: Integrating information about driving forces that affect risks and resilience in fishing communities. Human Ecology Review, 15(2), 171–184. U.S. Coast Guard 13th District. (2017). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from http://www.pacificarea. Veuthy, S., & Gerber, J. (2012). Accumulation by dispossession in coastal Ecuador: Shrimp farming, local resistance and the gender structure of mobilizations. Global Environmental Change, 22, 611–622. Zarkin, F. (2016). Three people killed after boat capsizes near Bandon. The World Newspaper. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from ssf/2016/09/three_people_killed_after_boat.html

Chapter 11

Enhancing a Culture of Preparedness for the Next Cascadia Subduction Zone Tsunami Lori A. Cramer, Daniel Cox, and Haizhong Wang

Introduction Cascadia Subduction Zone Tsunamis Tsunami disasters, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean, 2009 Samoan, 2010 Chilean, and 2011 Tohoku events, demonstrate how tsunamis associated with subduction zone earthquakes are significant threats to life safety, economic wellbeing, and resources of coastal communities. The Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred on December 26, 2004 alerted the world to the damage inflicted by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The resulting disaster affected numerous countries from southeast Asia to Africa. On February 27, 2010, a large magnitude 8.8 earthquake generated a tsunami that caused heavy damage to coastal areas of Chile. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami was experienced off the coast of Japan, with tsunami surges of 128 ft, killing more than 15,000 people and displacing nearly a quarter of a million others (Live Science 2018). The tsunami waves eventually reached the Pacific coast of the United States; however, the impact and losses were comparatively less there. The Japan event was significant for Oregon residents because it showed how a disaster can impact a developed country with a long history of a culture of preparedness to tsunamis. Coastal communities in the U.S. Pacific Northwest also are threatened by tsunamis where tens of thousands of people live, work, and recreate. Experts are predicting a 37% chance of a major rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ)—a

L. A. Cramer (*) School of Public Policy, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA D. Cox · H. Wang School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



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Cascadia earthquake sources

North American Plate



Pacific Plate


Juan de Fuca Plate


Affected area

Crustal earthquakes (900AD, 1872)

Deep earthquakes (1949,1965, 2001)

Subduction zone earthquakes (1700)


Seattle Fault

Max. Size


Subduction Zone



500-600 yr

Deep Juan de Fuca plate


M 7+

30-50 yr

Crustal faults


M 7+

Hundreds of yr?

Fig. 11.1  Map of the Cascadia Subduction Zone [Source: U.S. Geological Survey]

principal geological fault off the Pacific coast—sometime within the next 50 years (Goldfinger et al. 2012). The CSZ runs from northern California to Vancouver Island, Canada, at the confluence of two tectonic plates (Fig. 11.1). One plate is subducting (sliding underneath) the other, and the resulting force can produce large earthquakes. Great earthquakes off the Oregon coast have occurred 40 times during the past 10,000 years, with the most recent CSZ event occurring in A.D. 1700. In their book The Orphan Tsunami of 1700, Atwater et al. (2005) provide a review of geological data, as well as indigenous oral histories and Japanese documents to pinpoint the event as occurring around 9 p.m. on January 26, 1700. The synthesis of the 1700 account detailed a destructive tsunami that flooded western North America and traveled across the ocean to the shores of Japan. The next CSZ event, popularized as the “Really Big One” in the New Yorker (2015), will likely trigger an earthquake ranging from magnitude 8.0 to 9.0+. After the ground shakes for about 5 min, a powerful near-field (versus a far-field

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wave that takes more than 4 h to arrive) (DOGAMI 2018d) tsunami will strike land within 15–35 min, mirroring the devastating 2011 Tohoku event in Japan. Needless to say, when the “Big One” hits and a near-field tsunami is triggered, minutes matter for life safety. The life safety issue is severe for near-field CSZ tsunamis for several reasons. First, there is a short amount of time between wave generation and inundation on land, approximately 15–35 min depending on location. This is in contrast to several days of warning for hurricanes, for example. Second, evacuations will be self initiated, relying on an individual’s perception of risk, awareness of ecological cues, and knowledge of the correct course of action. Third, the coastal population in Oregon includes a disproportionately large population at risk to natural disasters due to factors such as age and socioeconomic status (NRC 2006; Wood et al. 2010).

Tsunamis in Oregon During Modern Times The Pacific Northwest coast is not unfamiliar with earthquakes; however, unlike other natural hazards such as river floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes, which are more easily imagined, the rarity of tsunami events in the United States, and in Oregon specifically, makes the tsunami scenario difficult to visualize. That is, without previous direct experience, cultural and ecological reference points are lacking, particularly in relation to a person’s sense of place and evacuation plans, including preparation time and route choice. In a study of the response to a near-­ field tsunami during the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami, McAdoo et  al. (2009) found local knowledge of the physiography and cultural memory of previous events to be a significant factor in mitigating lives lost compared to more recent residents who lacked indigenous knowledge of place. Tsunamis have historically been rare in Oregon. Since 1812, Oregon has experienced about a dozen tsunamis with wave heights greater than 3  ft (DOGAMI 2018a). Ten of these were generated by distant earthquakes near Alaska, Chile, or Japan. The worst damage and loss of life resulted from the 1964 Alaskan earthquake. On March 27, 1964, the Pacific Northwest experienced a subduction zone earthquake centered along the south coast of Alaska, measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale. Although this event was an Aleutian Subduction Zone event rather than a CSZ event, a tsunami was triggered, heavily damaging the Oregon communities of Seaside and Cannon Beach, as well as Crescent City in northern California (Fig.  11.2). More than 100 people were killed in Alaska, 11 people in Crescent City, California, and 4 children in Oregon. This event, its images, and oral histories serve as reminders of what can happen when a distant event occurs.


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Fig. 11.2  1964 tsunami. A car rests against a cottage in Seaside, which suffered much damage from the 1964 tsunami along the west coast [Photo: Drew Vattat, Oregonian/OregonLive]

Community Resilience Evacuation preparation for a near-field tsunami contributes to a community’s overall resilience to coastal hazards. Holling (1973) is credited with introducing the concept of resilience in the field of ecology in the 1970s (Folke 2006) and defined the term as the capacity of a system to absorb a shock and persist in essentially the same form. During the past several decades, academic interest in the topic of resilience has proliferated, and application of this concept has expanded significantly to include the study of human resilience at both the individual and the community level (Folke 2006; Mayunga 2007; Norris et  al. 2008). Individual resilience is frequently defined as a person’s ability to use available resources to overcome stress and adversity (Berkes and Ross 2013). Community resilience has been conceptualized in myriad ways in a variety of academic disciplines (Magis 2010), and there is no universal measure of community resilience within this field of study (Folke 2006). Rather, scholarship has largely focused on the resources a community possesses and the degree to which the community can collectively develop and engage these resources to improve wellbeing (Magis 2010). In general, resilient communities have a high degree of economic resources, infrastructure, assets, skills, information, knowledge, community networks, access to services, and shared values that can be leveraged on behalf of the community (Berkes and Ross 2013; Flora et al. 2015; Maclean et al. 2014; Mayunga 2007).

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Disaster Resilience Coastal community resilience has attracted considerable attention from scholars and policy makers, with a consensus that more proactive efforts at the community level to mitigate the effects of coastal hazards, such as sea-level rise, earthquakes, and tsunamis, are needed. Although hazard and disaster resilience research is not new (White and Haas 1975), it has grown with new definitions and systems to which it refers (e.g., ecological systems, infrastructure, individuals, economic systems, communities) (Blaikie et al. 1994; Bruneau et al. 2003; Gunderson 2000; Plodinec 2009). A consensus definition of disaster resilience is “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events” (NRC 2012: 1). For some residents, this may require a paradigm shift toward a “culture of disaster resilience” that requires building local capacity and cultivating ownership for taking responsibility. Due to the connection between perceptions and behavior (Fishbein and Ajzen 2010), when it comes to disaster-mitigating behavior (e.g., preparation), risk perceptions become an important factor. How to conceptualize and address disaster risk is complicated by the various disciplines and frameworks that attempt to define “risk.” In the natural sciences, risk is viewed as a calculated probability; however, in the social sciences, risk is often described as a socially or culturally constructed concept (Tierney 1999; Parsizadeh et al. 2015). Rayner and Cantor (1987: 5) explain that “risk is rather a way of classifying a whole series of complex interactions and relationships between people, as well as between man and nature.” In recent years, risk perception research,1 including hazard and disaster-related risk, primarily focuses on how behaviors toward a potential hazard are influenced by risk perceptions (Slovic 1987; Shtob 2016). When it comes to preparedness behavior, situational factors, such as surrounding physical environment (frequency and magnitude of a natural hazard) and the socioeconomic context (culture, education, previous experiences with hazards, age, mobility, and gender) in which people are embedded are important to understanding perceptions. Additionally, agency (or locus of control) can also be a factor in risk perceptions and preparedness behaviors (Brown and Westaway 2011). That is, if people perceive that they have an ability to influence an outcome, they are more likely to take action. If, however, people know the risks, but have a fatalistic attitude toward their behavior’s ability to change the outcome, they are less likely to take preparedness actions.

Disaster Resilience and Culture of Preparedness Creating a culture of preparedness plays an essential role in reducing loss of life due to natural hazards, including earthquakes and tsunamis. Life safety issues related to the earthquake hazard largely stem from the structural integrity of occupied buildings  A theoretical discussion of risk, risk perception, and cultural theory of risk are beyond the scope of this chapter; for a review, see Boholm (2003) and Shtob (2016). 1


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because there is essentially no warning of the earthquake and no time to evacuate the building. For the near-field CSZ tsunami, however, because there are approximately 15–35 min before the first wave arrives, there is time for residents to evacuate. After the ground ceases to shake, exactly when people decide to leave, whether they travel alone or in groups, and the routes they choose will determine the initial loss of life. Therefore, it is critical that we understand the individual decision-­making process if communities are to improve their disaster resilience. This includes the role of culture, in particular the values and beliefs that support a culture of preparedness— whether toward infrastructure or evacuation behavior. A critical component to this culture of preparedness is knowledge of the geospatial area. For example, in Japan, due to the history of earthquakes and related disasters, people are well prepared, with quake-resistant structures and strict building codes. It is also argued that lives have been saved due to the role of individual-level responses, such as ecological knowledge to evacuate low-lying areas. Similarly, during the Indian Ocean tsunami event, community members utilizing indigenous knowledge regarding tsunamis were more likely to survive than tourists who did not have local knowledge of evacuation processes (Arunotai 2008; McAdoo et  al. 2009). Thus, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) regarding hazards can help explain why and how people choose to respond to future earthquakes and tsunamis. In this case, TEK serves as an important lens to understand local knowledge, practices, and beliefs held by coastal residents (Becker et al. 2008; Lazrus 2015). No one alive has experienced a CSZ-generated earthquake and near-shore tsunami in Oregon. For many people currently living on the Oregon coast, the 1964 tsunami serves as a reminder of what could happen during a CSZ event; however, for many other residents, it is either a distant memory or they did not live along the Oregon coast at the time. Scientists warn that the CSZ tsunami will not be triggered by a distant earthquake but by a local one, and that to minimize lives lost, a culture of preparedness that includes TEK of topography is warranted. This can be challenging when few residents have directly experienced a CSZ earthquake. The role of indigenous knowledge, especially as it relates to physical landscapes, is a recurring theme in community resiliency. Local residents have specific, localized knowledge related to land and seascapes that can prove invaluable in times of disasters (McAdoo et al. 2009), including earthquakes and tsunamis. This bottom-up approach complements the top-down, or institutional response discussed elsewhere in this chapter. In a review of areas affected by recent tsunamis, Esteban et al. (2013) argue that a “tsunami culture” has emerged in many areas that includes increased awareness, disaster preparedness, and willingness of local populations to evacuate should a threat present itself. For instance, due to the frequency of tsunamis in Japan, during the 2011 event, it took only 3 min after the earthquake for a tsunami warning to be issued in Tohoku. However, time available for evacuation in some areas was too short, and many people perished while attempting to move to higher ground. “Despite shortcomings, Tohoku could be considered as one of the most well prepared coastal areas in the world for a tsunami emergency, and tsunami preparedness was clearly taken seriously by local authorities and residents, highlighting the high level of tsunami

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culture present in the area” (Esteban et al. 2013: 700). As evidence of prior disasters in Japan, numerous tsunami memorials line streets, keeping alive the memory of previous events for the local population, contributing to the transmission of a tsunami culture to future generations. Figure 11.3, The “tsunami memory stone” overlooks a beach in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. In English, the stone reads “Memorial Stone of the Tsunami. Just run! Run uphill! Don’t worry about the others. Save yourself first. And tell the future generations that a Tsunami once reached this point. And that those who survived were those who ran. Uphill. So run! Run uphill!” Cultural beliefs and traditions encourage local communities to preserve the memory of a disaster and strategies for risk mitigation (Parsizadeh et al. 2015). This public display of memories of past events (at which current citizens were not present) contributes to socially constructing a reality of the disaster that supports a culture of preparedness. Prior to the 1980s (Atwater 1987), the CSZ was not seen as a major threat to life safety, and adaptation plans were based on far-field tsunami scenarios, given the locations and arrival times of recent historical tsunamis (Chile in 1960, Alaska in 1964). Even after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the major U.S. response involved advance warning via an ocean-wide network of buoys to detect far-field events, leaving Oregon at risk of the near-field hazard (Associated Press 2008). Such warning strategies are helpful, but they do little to reduce vulnerability of coastal communities in Oregon to the immediate impact of the near-field tsunami hazard and likely create a naive sense of security, thereby inhibiting any urgency toward an enhanced culture of preparedness. Regionally, we have seen an increase in attention to the potential CSZ disaster, yet preparation strategies, including understanding evacuation options, vary widely, depending on public perceptions of risk and uncertainty. Disaster resilience and the promotion of a culture of disaster resilience were specifically formulated at the 2005 Conference on Disaster Reduction, which took place in Kobe, Japan. In the final document of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction—the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015—the international community underlined the need to promote strategic and systematic approaches to reducing vulnerabilities and risks to hazards (United Nations 2005, preamble). The declaration points out that: The starting point for reducing disaster risk and for promoting a culture of disaster resilience lies in the knowledge of the hazards and the physical, social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities to disasters that most societies face, and of the ways in which hazards and vulnerabilities are changing in the short and long term, followed by action taken on the basis of that knowledge (United Nations 2005).

Since the publication of the Hyago Framework for Action 2005–2015, increasing attention has been given to the ability of communities to recover from a disaster. Globally, many communities are assessing their risks and vulnerabilities and developing strategies that address environmental challenges from natural disasters (Esnor and Berger 2009; Adger et al. 2010). Community-level resilience strategies can be influenced by social, cultural, economic, and political capital, as well as by infrastructural and ecological conditions (Esnor and Berger 2009; Adger 2000). Resilience efforts will be unique to each community, given their levels of local


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Fig. 11.3  Tsunami memory stone, Kamasihi, Iwate Prefecture, Japan [Photo: http://unesdoc.]

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ecological knowledge and specific risks and vulnerabilities. Like many other localized efforts to address environmental issues, community-based adaptation to local risks and vulnerabilities will take grassroots mobilization and will require collaborative efforts with formal institutions (Cramer 2015; Thornton and Scheer 2012). Adaptation strategies must also address local concerns and diverse perspectives to be successful.

Culture of Resilience in Oregon to the Next Big One Institutional Response2 The resilience of a community to natural and built hazards is inextricably linked to the antecedent conditions associated within the region and is a shared responsibility among citizens, the private sector, and government (NRC 2012). In the state of Oregon, much is being done at the state, regional, and county levels to increase resiliency efforts to potential disasters. Both prior to, and immediately following, the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, the Oregon legislature introduced a House Resolution calling for a plan for the impacts of a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. House Resolution 3 directed the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC) to lead the effort. The OSSPAC’s seismic resilience goal was: Oregon citizens will not only be protected from life-threatening physical harm, but because of risk reduction measures and pre-disaster planning, communities will recover more quickly and with less continuing vulnerability following a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and tsunami (OSSPAC 2013).

Within the Oregon Resilience Plan, the Coastal Communities Task Group primarily focused on critical infrastructure survivability, and citizens were to plan on being selfsufficient for far longer than the 72-h period typically advised for disaster preparedness. In response to the needed community preparedness, in 2016, the state of Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) developed a 2 Weeks Ready campaign, recognizing that [T]he 72 preparation goal … is a good start, and helpful in the event of short-term power outages or temporary evacuation. But a large earthquake and tsunami will leave much of the area’s transportation routes destroyed. Oregonians will have to count on each other in the community, in the workplace and at home in order to be safe until responders can reach you.

 The examples of state and federal actions identified here are not intended to be exhaustive nor inclusive of all outreach efforts by communities, scientists, or education groups (e.g., The Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and  Tsunami Education Program [], which works to bridge the gap between scientific researchers and the public by providing professional development workshops for  educators from  coastal communities in  Oregon, Washington, and northern California). Rather, the examples are cited to illustrate an active institutional approach to the development of a culture of resilience to earthquakes and tsunamis on the Oregon coast. 2


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Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management encourages people to be prepared to be on their own for a minimum of two weeks. This lessens the strain on emergency responders who need to focus limited resources on injured and other vulnerable populations immediately following a disaster (OEM 2016).

In other words, coastal communities need to enhance their culture of preparedness beyond 72 h. In Oregon, one of the most significant actions was the adoption of the “379 Line” (named after Oregon Senate Bill 379) as an official map location of where a CSZ tsunami would extend if it were to happen (DOGAMI 2018b). The maps reflect the best estimate of a tsunami inundation for the most likely earthquake scenario, not necessarily a worst-case event. Such state tsunami maps guide the implementation of Oregon building codes for critical infrastructure. In addition to Oregon’s institutional response, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages communities to develop disaster readiness plans. To this end, federal, state, and regional organizations advocate for evacuation planning, or being “tsunami-ready.” Five of Oregon’s coastal counties and 18 coastal communities are certified as tsunami-ready.3 The TsunamiReady program helps communities reduce the risk posed by tsunamis through better risk assessment, planning, education, and warning communications. It is a voluntary community program that promotes tsunami hazard preparedness as the main goal of improving public safety before, during, and after tsunami emergencies. Institutional and agency preparedness campaigns are key components to a community’s overall culture of preparedness. Yet, despite institutional or government efforts, if an individual culture of preparedness is not evident, people will not care to seek out available resources. As noted above, individual agency or locus of control plays an important role in a culture of preparedness. If residents do not see a connection to how their preparedness behavior can make a difference in disaster resilience, they may not seek opportunities to prepare. For coastal residents, in addition to preparing for post-CSZ short (72 h) and longer (2 weeks) impacts, the culture of preparedness needs to include evacuation plans (e.g., awareness and understanding of the physiography); if lives are lost, the post-event preparations are moot. Thus, not only is a top-down or institutional approach important, but a bottom-up approach is needed as well.

 Missing Gap: Cultural Dimensions to Understanding A Preparedness Behavior While regional and state hazard managers can inform residents about hazards and encourage preparation, less is known about residents’ ecological evacuation knowledge and decision-making processes, including evacuation behavior intent due to a  For the purposes of the TsunamiReady program, “community” is defined as a local government entity, an Indian tribal government, or a facility that has the authority and ability to implement the TsunamiReady guidelines ( 3

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near-field tsunami. In evacuation planning, research has often focused on infrastructure capacity issues, rather than evacuees’ decisions about routes or details of the mode of transportation (Sorensen and Mileti 1988; Dow and Cutter 2002). To date, much of the evacuation decision-making research and theoretical development, such as protection motivation theory (PMT, Rogers and Prentice-Dunn 1997) and protective action decision model (PADM, Lindell and Perry 1992, 2004), has been applied to earthquakes and hurricanes (Davis 1989; Farley et al. 1993; Lindell et al. 2009; Lindell and Prater 2000; Lindell and Whitney 2000; Mileti et  al. 1981; Mileti and Darlington 1997; Mileti and Fitzpatrick 1992; Mulilis and Duval 1995; Perry et al. 1981). There is less focus on tsunamis and evacuation behavior intent (Huang et al. 2016; Lindell et al. 2015). There is a dearth of tsunami research that attempts to connect local ecological knowledge and attitudes to behavior intent, that is, exactly when people decide to leave, whether they travel alone or in groups, and the geographic routes they choose (Murakami et al. 2012).

Filling the Research Gap It is only since the 1980s that the scientific community acknowledged the CSZ tsunami hazard, and our outdated emergency evacuation plans are based on decades-­old assumptions of far-field tsunamis. Instead of hours for evacuation as previously thought, coastal residents and tourists must evacuate within 15–35 min immediately following intense ground shaking from a magnitude 9.0 CSZ earthquake. People are faced with an array of choices: Should I evacuate on foot or by car? Go it alone, or find friends and family first? What are our best chances for immediate survival—head for high ground a mile from the beach or seek shelter at the top of the parking garage behind the hotel? Earthquakes and tsunamis are rare in the Pacific Northwest, leaving little memory of past events or culture of tsunami preparedness. Evacuations will be self initiated, relying on an individual’s perception of risk and knowledge of the correct course of action, as well as on local knowledge of the physical landscape. If someone is facing these choices for the first time during a real event, it may be too late. Although tsunami evacuation models exist, including our own work (Mostafizi et al. 2017; Wang et al. 2016), there has been little effort to validate assumptions about evacuees’ behavior, especially their ability to walk to a higher elevation (for tsunami evacuations) (NRC 2006). Encouraging predisaster response planning, in which residents have the opportunity to think through what to do prior to the event, is encouraged. Knowledge of how personal decisions are made must be integrated with advances in information (e.g., evacuation brochures, maps, and mobile device applications) and evacuation planning (Dash and Gladwin 2007). In our current work, we actively engage local populations to provide additional insight on the evacuation context and assess the utility of modeling behavior. This contributes to the under-studied dimensions of a culture of preparedness associated with disaster planning, adaptation, and local geophysical knowledge and ultimately contributes to more resilient coastal communities.


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Agent-Based Tsunami Evacuation Model The overall aim of agent-based modeling (ABM) is to understand the collective actions of groups by prescribing decision-making rules to individuals (agents). Due to increased availability of computational resources, ABM has seen increased use for disaster planning for evacuation from constructed facilities (Pan et al. 2007) in large urban areas susceptible to hurricanes (Chen et  al. 2006), earthquakes (Liu et al. 2008), and tsunamis (Mas et al. 2012). In our tsunami evacuation simulations (Mostafizi et al. 2017; Wang et al. 2016), the agents are assigned different options of how to evacuate (on foot, by car) and when to evacuate (milling time or the time for each individual between the knowledge of the hazard and taking action). Modeling tsunami evacuation is a particularly vexing problem because of the uncertainties of the milling time; other aspects, such as altruistic behavior (willingness to assist others or compete for scarce resources); and multimodal transportation (for example, arriving to the coast by car and being instructed to evacuate on foot). It is important to note that the model is not used as a predictive (forecasting) tool in this project. Instead, we use realistic assumptions (walking or driving speeds, tsunami arrival and inundation dynamics, population distributions, and so on) to develop scenario simulations. We have used the ABM to identify critical transportation infrastructure impacts due to an unplanned disruption, such as an earthquake and tsunami (Mostafizi et  al. 2017), thus highlighting how the loss of transportation links (e.g., bridges) has differential impacts on evacuation routes. The current approach to our research is to ground-truth the modeling efforts by incorporating a human decision-making component and real-time evacuation trajectories.4

Adding the Cultural Dimension to the ABM Model The Process With funding from the National Science Foundation and Oregon Sea Grant, our research team set out to develop a computer tool to model various evacuation scenarios and assess the accuracy and utility of modeling evacuation trajectories to improving tsunami evacuation preparedness. Working closely with members of the community, state agencies, and scientists living and working in Newport, Oregon, 4  Myriad variables are used in agent-based modeling, such as gender, age, mobility, presence of others, etc. in a variety of contexts. For this phase of the project, we are adding only a few variations as we assess the process and technology and, more importantly, the route trajectories. We are working with community-level stakeholders, as well as incorporating census data to identify the specific variables relevant to each coastal region. Our goal at this time is to assess the utility of this approach as a tool for use in improving life safety and strengthening local ecological awareness. Future research will involve local diverse and vulnerable groups, including volunteers from senior centers and the differently able-bodied, and will incorporate demographic analyses based on age, gender, previous hazard experience, presence/absence of children in the household, hazard knowledge, etc.

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Fig. 11.4  Representative from Hatfield Marine Science Center pointing out Safe Haven Hill [Photo: Julia Waters]

we designed a series of evacuation simulations for the South Beach peninsula. For this region, there are two formally designated evacuation sites: Safe Haven Hill (Fig. 11.4) and the Oregon Coast Community College (DOGAMI 2018c). We conducted six evacuation drills between February and August 2017, utilizing starting points associated with Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) and South Beach State Park (SBSP). Figure  11.5 represents the visual representation of our ABM model and where the SBSP agents (small circles) were placed along the beach, near popularly used trailheads. HMSC employees begin their evacuation from their primary work building (indicated by a square in the upper right of the figure). The evacuation safe zones are represented by gray circles, with the primary site for our preliminary work being Safe Haven Hill (large circle near the upper right of the figure). In our evacuation drills, agents were replaced with actual volunteers and are represented by the dots along the beach. Two types of data were collected: geospatial/time data and survey data. The geospatial and time data were obtained from participants’ use of a downloadable mapping application (Strava5). Using the Strava application, we were able to track participants’ route choice and start/stop time. Participants sent their Strava data to the research team to be incorporated into the ABM model. Survey data



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Fig. 11.5  Tsunami evacuation simulation map of South Beach area of Newport, Oregon. Small dots along the beach represent agents/participants, gray circles indicate designated safe zones, and squares indicate day use parking areas

included pre-evacuation and postevacuation information using a Qualtrics online survey. As part of the coproduction of knowledge, based on input from community members, we added increasing levels of complexity to the decision-­making process, including family geospatially separated at the time of the earthquake, injured friend during the earthquake, and nighttime earthquake and tsunami drills.

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Table 11.1  Number of volunteer participants by drill date Date February 18, 2017 May 11, 2017

Number Who 13 OSU graduate students

June 16, 2017 June 29, 2017

11 28

July 13, 2017 August 10, 2017

19 50


Purpose Pilot test, logistics of working remotely OSU, Oregon Parks, Teen CERT, Collect travel trajectory, user and HMSC volunteers surveys, debrief HMSC employees and students Add OCCC destination OSU undergraduate students Add scenario, role playing. No (SURF) maps or cell phone HMSC REU students Night drill (HMSC-SHH) HMSC REU students, OMSI camp Night drill, role playing

OSU Oregon State University, CERT Community Emergency Team, HMSC Hatfield Marine Science Center, SURF Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, REU Research Experiences for Undergraduates, OMSI Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, OCCC Oregon Coast Community College, SHH Safe Haven Hill

Preliminary Results6 There were a total of 173 participants (Table 11.1). We utilized the trajectory data collected from the Strava application as inputs to evaluate the agent-based tsunami evacuation model to ground-truth the global behavior using the site-specific knowledge from Newport, Oregon. The first group consisted of Oregon State University student volunteers. This group served as a pilot test of our process. The second group consisted of student volunteers, community members (who were recruited via the Oregon State Parks website), and a group of Teen CERT (Community Emergency Team) volunteers. We randomly assigned participants to four starting points (essentially, the popular trailheads in the area). At the specified time they were to imagine a CSZ earthquake, pause, start the Strava app, and then get to Safe Haven Hill (SHH). The third wave of participants were employees of HMSC and other buildings located in the same geographical region of the peninsula. The HMSC et al. group provided data from people who are familiar with the routes (including Oregon Coast Community College [OCCC]), as they are required to walk the route as part of their orientation. However, for this exercise, we asked participants to download the Strava app and to run the route “as if” this were truly the CSZ event. The fourth, fifth, and sixth waves of participants consisted of students involved in undergraduate research (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and Research Experiences for Undergraduates), and we increased the complexity of the drill. For the June event, participants were placed on the beach near trailheads and given an envelope to open after the earthquake. Inside the envelope, they were told they had a parent at the visitor center and they could decide to first go to the visitor center and  Data analysis is ongoing; results presented here are preliminary and are used to illustrate how our work ground-truths the  models and  incorporates the  coproduction of  knowledge to  inform an emerging culture of preparedness. 6


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then to safety, or go directly to safety. The next iteration involved a night drill, and finally a night drill with a scenario envelop that indicated that a person in their group was injured. We evaluated the impacts of evacuees’ walking speed in different scenarios on life safety in terms of mortality rate and compared the simulated mortality rate with the empirical data from tsunami drills. Our preliminary results indicate a high congruency between empirical data and tsunami drills by participants from HMSC; however, there was more variation by participants from within South Beach State Park. A key component to our research process is providing near real-time results to participants and the coproduction of knowledge. We did this by downloading the participants’ actual Strava data and overlaying the results in our models and presenting the results to participants within about 20 min of data input. Participants can see their collective route choices (we do not identify particular individuals) and how their decision-making affected the likelihood of reaching safety (Fig. 11.6). Following the drills, adult participants were asked to participate in an online Qualtrics post-drill survey that included 19 questions related to demographics, risk perception, tsunami preparedness, ecological knowledge of the routes, and evacuation drill behavior. When analyzing the survey and Strava data, it is clear that those participants who had previous experience (58% of all respondents) with evacuation drills had more familiarity with the evacuation routes and were able to make it to safety within the model’s expected time frames. These results support previous research on the importance of indigenous knowledge and evacuation response (McAdoo et al. 2009). In this case, participants from HMSC had previous knowledge of the local ecology and landscape, with many of the participants walking the routes

Fig. 11.6  Debrief with volunteer tsunami evacuation participants [Photo: Mollie Dorna]

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as part of their work orientation; participants who were nonlocal or had not previously participated in a drill were unfamiliar with the landscape. Participants who had not participated in a prior evacuation drill experienced longer evacuation times and in some instances became lost; had the event been real, they would have perished. Additional survey data center on participants’ perception of the event, knowledge of the CSZ, and the role of current and future preparedness. For instance, participants were asked whether they felt a CSZ event would happen in their lifetime (the majority indicated “somewhat” to “extremely” likely). Participants were then asked whether, after participating in the tsunami drill (and subsequent debrief session), they felt prepared to be able to evacuate to a safe zone in the case of a CSZ event (nearly all indicated a “probably” or “definitely” yes response). As noted by one participant from the general public: Today’s event is awesome. During the activity, I was thinking that if it was a real tsunami, would I evacuate successfully? This is the most meaningful thing that I have done and my preparedness for a tsunami has increased.

Participants were also asked whether they think participation in this event will affect their preparation for visiting other places along the Oregon coast. The majority of participants indicated “definitely yes.” This latter finding directly supports the contribution of our work to enhancing an overall culture of preparedness; that is, participants were thinking beyond our event to how they would more directly incorporate the ecological landscape into their everyday lives. Feedback from participants regarding route signage (Fig. 11.7) proved quite significant; more than 70% of respondents indicated that signage from the South Beach State Park area to Safe Haven Hill was poor, especially respondents who were unfamiliar with the topography of the area. The Strava data submitted by these respondents indicated that many of them would not have reached safety prior to the tsunami’s arrival. Using this information, local state park officials are now working with visitors and residents to create alternative evacuation routes and improve signage.

 nhancing a Culture of Preparedness (and Ultimately E Community Resilience) An important part of our collaborative work is to provide evidence-based research to support multiple dimensions of community resilience to a CSZ earthquake and tsunami. Combining the disciplines of engineering with social science provides a necessary approach to bring in the social and human dimension to disaster resilience. To date, our work (Mostafizi et  al. 2017; Wang et  al. 2016) has focused on the coproduction of knowledge with local stakeholders and state agencies in developing accurate modeling, and we are beginning to incorporate the complex role of human decision-making to inform our modeling efforts. Going forward, we are expanding the scope and complexity of the modeling and cultural dimensions by incorporating household survey data, local ecological knowledge, and multimodal (e.g., pedestrian and automobile) evacuation options. As indicated above, our emerging results


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Fig. 11.7  Tsunami evacuation sign [Photo: Julia Waters]

indicate that involving local participants in tsunami drills enhances our scientific modeling endeavors, increases local ecological knowledge, and enhances the role of agency (or locus of control) described earlier in this chapter, thereby contributing to a culture of preparedness and, ultimately, community resilience.

Conclusion At the heart of many of our natural resource debates are value orientations (and priorities) about human relationships to natural systems. Nowhere is this more evident than at the interface of the human, natural, and built environments, especially as residents come together to assess local landscapes and natural disasters. The views we hold are shaped by our culture and values, which are, in turn, influenced by our biophysical environments. Furthermore, those views shape the saliency of issues and ultimately influence behavioral outcomes. Such cultural views give tsunami preparedness meaning; that is, how people prepare can exacerbate or mitigate a disaster. The vulnerability of a community to the impacts of a disaster depends as much on social and cultural elements of the community as on the natural hazard itself. Thus, preparedness for natural disasters, although influenced by science, ultimately is based on social and cultural questions rather than science questions. In this chapter, we illustrated how research

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related to tsunami evacuation preparedness can contribute to an overall coastal culture of preparedness that could lead to increased life safety in the event of a CSZ earthquake and tsunami. Through the coproduction of knowledge, our research enables community members and leaders to immediately see the connection between their values and behavioral alternatives. It is of extremely important practical relevance for local and state leaders to be in touch with the levels of preparedness in their local communities. To establish resilient communities, there needs to be continued attention to improving the ability of local leaders, agencies, residents, and other groups to plan and act in a coordinated and seamless fashion. Our research focuses on one aspect of disaster preparedness—evacuation planning for a near-shore tsunami. We continue to confront important challenges regarding evacuation lead times, the accuracy and reliability of information, knowledge of local ecology, and our ability to elicit the appropriate response from decision makers and the general public. Ultimately, by receiving more accurate interpretations of evacuation ability given the local ecology, communities and emergency managers will be able to respond appropriately and cost effectively to coastal hazards while minimizing lives lost. Our research enhances local knowledge of what to anticipate environmentally and how this coincides with what decisions are made. Ultimately, this personal knowledge can become local knowledge embedded in the larger coast culture. A culture of preparedness does not mean people should not live and/or visit the Oregon coast; rather, it is connecting to the physical landscape and knowing “where the nearest exit is” and, if that is not available, the next best route to safety. Acknowledgements  The authors would like to acknowledge the funding support from the National Science Foundation through grant CMMI #1563618: ‘‘An Integrated Social Science and Agent-based Modeling Approach to Improve Life Safety from Near-field Tsunami Hazards’’ and Oregon Sea Grant program (#NA140AR4170064) through the project ‘‘Building resilient coastal communities: A social assessment of mobile technology for tsunami evacuation planning.’’ Any opinions, findings, and conclusion or recommendations expressed in this research are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the funding agencies.

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Chapter 12

The Arts as Coastal Cultural Resilience Eric Wayne Dickey, Charles Goodrich, Julie Green, Shelley Jordon, Joseph Ohmann Krause, Dahlia Seroussi, and Luhui Whitebear

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” —Isak Dinesen

Have you felt vertigo standing on a beach? Water pulling itself back, your feet sinking slowly into sand, an expansive sky, dizzying. Overcome by the sensation, some of us may have even fallen into the surf. A strong surf can pull you out, even in only a few inches of water. Others have suffered more misfortunes on beaches. But still, we return to the coast to hear the endless applause of waves cheer us on. We take our wounded there. We take our elders there so they can sit in silence. We take our families there. Our children. All to marvel. To feel the salt air in our lungs, on our skin. We take our dogs there to watch as their spirits write a running script in the sand. And we go to the coast to find work, to support our families, to fish, to eke out a living.

E. W. Dickey (*) · D. Seroussi College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA C. Goodrich Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA J. Green · S. Jordon School of Arts and Communication, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA J. O. Krause School of Language, Culture, and Society, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA L. Whitebear Native American Longhouse Eena Haws, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,



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It is no mystery that coasts and beaches inspire us. Much language seems nautical in etymology. The word metaphor itself derives from ancient Greek and means “to carry” or “to travel.” It can’t merely be accidental that “see” and “sea” are homophones. In German, Meer and mehr, sea and more, are homophones. We go to the sea to see. And what is it that we see there? We see more, outside and inside of ourselves. Like science, art helps us learn about our environment. With it, we can communicate among ourselves and to future generations. Poetry and art are a means to relay our own temporal experiences to others so that readers and audiences themselves can know that they are not alone as they navigate their own circumferences, their own environments, to develop their own understandings. We can also use art to conduct workshops to inspire creativity in people and in communities. From that participation, coastal managers and policy makers can measure impact. Sam Illingworth and Kirsten Jack published a study in Climate Risk Management. They used poetry-writing workshops to understand how underserved audiences talk about environmental change (2018). Other researchers have explored anthropology and ethnography in poetry, and research managers are using poetry in their processes and methodology. In “Imagination of Order,” Kent Maynard (2002) purports that while a focus on science and specific practice has many benefits, it can limit experience. “Missing,” he states, “is the profound human capacity for spinning transcendent cultural visions about the world, coherent, abstract, essentialist to be sure, but cultural accounts that have enormous power and emotional investment” (p. 221). Poets and artists have a lot to bring to the table. What we offer here is not an abstraction of coastal resiliency, but a brief snapshot. If we compiled a breadth of such brief snapshots, we might be able to capture the enormity and the importance of the human–coastal relationship. It is through water and the sea, and at the coast, where we go to seek and find shells and driftwood, livelihoods and answers.

Winter Solstice at Road’s End Charles Goodrich Tide’s out. Setting sun gleams red on the breakers. Those orange lights on the far horizon must be fishing boats.

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Last week a crabber capsized on the bar at Coos Bay, the skipper drowned. The coho run is supposed to be up this year, sockeyes down. The wide beach is nearly empty, just a pair of staggering lovers and an old woman in rubber boots. I watch a rivulet spill from its pipe in the bluff, fan out across the sand in shifting channels like a prostrate tree or the nerves in a body, a mock river flowing down to the shore. Where the murky drainwater merges with the surf, a few seagulls wait, hoping to feed on whatever little life the trickle bears.

Julie Green My New Blue Friend Number Seven: Abstraction of oysters, 2018 16 x 20 inch airbrushed egg tempera on panel in front of Wallpaper drawing (detail)



Julie Green Wallpaper, 2018 Sumi ink on kozo mulberry paper Studio view above of 11 x 91 feet drawing (installed)

Shelley Jordon Drown 5, 2018 Hand-painted stop-motion animation still, gouache on paper, 22”x30”

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Shelley Jordon Drown 6, 2018 Hand-painted stop-motion animation still, gouache on paper, 22”x30”

Joseph Ohmann Krause Untitled, 2017 (Photograph)



Joseph Ohmann Krause Untitled, 2017 (Photograph)

Surviving Loneliness Is Like Floating Dahlia Seroussi One minute your swim teacher’s big safe palm holds you like a plate, the next you’re coasting out on your own. Years in the chlorinated deep end means the teacher knows better than to say you’re doing it! so she mimes how to breathe, face bobbing in and out of a school of theatrical bubbles.

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All summer you haven’t seen the eyes behind her mirrored goggles. Safety a mystery in a bright red suit. Yet it’s hers whose voice you hear as you dive into the breakers now, big arms! reaching through the chill. You search for quiet in the oceanic crush. Then, you’re in a bloom of jellyfish. All around you what you shouldn’t touch.

Dreams of the Pacific Luhui Whitebear I. Traveling My eyes close to crashing waves Eucalyptus dreams Enveloped by sheets of velvet sand Warmth Soft caress of monarch wings In the distance the breeze carries my name Calling to me. I open my eyes with renewed strength. II. Remembering Wings of condor brush against the sky Limuw covered with gold and orange poppy canvas strokes Ancestral home splashed with sea foam and mist Abalone shimmers through wisps of burning sage Whispers of story and song Carried through me. III. Looking back Standing on the edge of Point Arena The lighthouse shines south Back home to those silky Santa Barbara beaches Each breath fills my lungs with salt and shared memories The Roundhouse calls me back Where the Big Heads dance through time Speaking to my ancestors in ways only they understand.



IV. (Un)settled Those rocky cliffs and coarse sand Winter grey on a summer day Somewhere in a dream I sat on the shore and sang A song of remembering and of life The fire cracks through the fibers of another time Cascade Head looms above Moonlit meadows With ancestors Home but not homelands V. Today Visiting the homelands, that velvet sand soaked in oil Sticking to my feet, my hands, my spirit The wisps of sage dwindling with the sage beds Replaced by concrete and asphalt, condos and tile Condor calls, drowned out by sirens and speedboats Those glistening shimmers replaced by oil rigs And my eyes glisten as I reach out to Limuw I still smell the sage Still read the messages in Painted Cave Still hear my name carried by the breeze Murmurs and instructions Strength to continue on. VI. Returning Standing in the edge of the Pacific looking north Connected from my homelands to my home The ocean sighs with each receding wave And I see the same story all the way back to the Siletz Bay Oil, plastic, consumption Floating on the shores Floating with the current Floating Floating And drifting past us all While condor takes me home And the city sprawls over the Bay Alcatraz Island reminds me of voice and resistance I hear the clappers and rattles beneath his wings Bringing a song of renewal A song of cleansing A song of balance And I open my eyes Looking out across the Pacific.

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References Illingworth, S., & Jack, K. (2018). Rhyme and reason: Using poetry to talk to underserved audiences about environmental change. Climate Risk Management, 19, 120–129. Maynard, K. (2002). “Imagination of order”: Suspicion of structure in anthropology and poetry. The Antioch Review, 60(2), 220–243.


A Abalone, 82, 84, 101, 102, 106, 271 Aboriginal, 85, 86, 88 Academic databases, 102 Academics, v, 67, 71, 79, 97, 100–104, 106, 186, 210, 212, 246 Acapulco, 87, 88, 91, 101, 184, 190–193, 199 Achillea millefolium, 30 Acidification, v, 127, 128 Actors, vii, 7, 36, 50, 58, 63, 67, 68, 70, 74, 80, 83, 94–97, 102–108, 189, 192, 207 Africa, 43, 46, 81, 102, 186, 243 African(s) African-Americans, 122 African descent, x, 57, 184, 186–188, 207 African-Mexicans, 187 African roots, 186 African slaves, 45, 46, 57, 58 African workforce, 46 Afro-descendants, 50, 57 Afro-Hispanic, 57 Agricultural, see Agriculture Agriculture, 55, 58, 82, 94, 129, 140, 184, 185, 202, 227 Agua Dulce, Oaxaca, 186 Americas, ix, 39–43, 45, 46, 55, 137, 147, 173 Amorous, 18 Amorousness, 19 Amuzgos, 184 Anadromous, 4, 7, 11–14 Anadromy, see Anadromous Anagallis linifolia, 32 Ancestors, x, 25, 138, 271, 272 Ancestry, 121, 122, 128 Ancient rites, 7 Ancient shell deposits, 86

Angler-priests, 7, 13 Animal(s) life force, 66 protein, 146 Anisotremus interruptus, 196 Annual cycles, 189 Annual dietary intake, 147 Annual food routes, x Annual foraging routes, 175 Annual harvests, 82 Annual production, 194 Annual protein intake, 148 Antelope jackrabbit, 150, 164 Anthropocentric assignments of value, see Anthropocentric modes of thinking Anthropocentric attachments, see Anthropocentric modes of thinking Anthropocentric modes of thinking, 2, 4, 11, 13 Anthropocentric sensibilities, see Anthropocentric modes of thinking Anthropogenic biome, 35 Anthropology, 86, 136, 148, 183, 266 Anthropomorphism, 6 Anti-Asian, 122 Anti-Chinese, 122 Apaches, 142 Aquaculture, 72, 105, 127, 129, 206, 237 Aquarium of the world, 139 Aquatic birds, 150 Archaeological culture, 138 evidence, 25, 136 materials, 138 remains, 186 sites, 130 Archipelago, 43–45, 47–50

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018 L. L. Price, N. E. Narchi (eds.), Coastal Heritage and Cultural Resilience, Ethnobiology,


276 Arcturus, 157, 162, 163 Ardent, viii, 2, 5, 13, 19 Ardent environmental consciousness, 5 Arius platypogon, see Rew Sea catfish Armadas, 90, 91, 93, 94 Armadas perleras, 89, 90 Armador(es), 88–91, 93, 94 Army, 141 Aroma, 124 Arroyos, 13 Art, vi, viii, xi, 15, 80, 265–272 Artcrafts, 94 Artifacts, 98 Artisan, 50, 64, 67, 73, 103, 130, 189 Ash, 6 Asia, 42, 82, 88, 229, 243 Asian(s) Asian-Americans, 238 Asian-Mexican, 88 Asian oyster, 120 Atlantic coast, 114, 120 oysters, 120, 126 species, 126 Atmosphere, 7, 9, 127 Atmospheric, 27 Atole, 170, 172 Atolls, 90 Atondo, Isidoro, 87 Australia, 82, 83, 90 Authority, 68–70, 72–74, 87, 93, 100, 122, 142, 186, 191, 193, 202, 204, 206, 207, 248, 252 Awareness, viii, 3–6, 13, 14, 19, 108, 197, 217, 225, 230, 233, 235, 236, 239, 245, 248, 252, 254 Azoj imal cmizj, 156, 162, 163, 166–167 Azoj imal icozim, 152, 154, 156, 159, 161–162, 166, 167 Azoj imal icozim quih ano caap, 152, 154, 156, 159, 161–162, 166, 167 B Bacochibampo Bay, Sonora, 97 Bacoco, 196 Bacteria, 94, 113 Bahía Kino, Sonora, 139, 142–144, 172 Bainbridge island, 13 Baja California, x, 46, 65, 80, 82, 85–87, 90–93, 96, 99, 102, 114 Baja California Sur, x, 65, 80, 85, 93, 96, 99 Balandra-Merito natural protected area, 105 Banco de oro, 187, 199

Index Banco Nacional de Fomento cooperativo, 190 Barnes, John C., 121, 136 Barrilete, 200 Bartíromo, Melchor, 141 Basin, 17, 55, 89, 115, 184 Baskets, 41, 44, 82, 115, 125, 235 Beach(es), 1, 2, 4, 6, 15, 24, 44, 48, 67, 87, 89, 115, 129, 149, 154, 163, 164, 169, 176, 192, 206, 226, 228, 229, 245, 249, 253, 255–259, 265–267, 271 Bean, 35, 44, 66 Beds, 86, 87, 90, 93, 96, 106, 117–119, 121, 125, 127, 148, 272 Behavior, vii, 11, 74, 87, 105, 107, 136, 138, 148, 173, 202, 205, 247, 248, 252–254, 257, 258 Beliefs, vii, 29, 30, 33, 34, 118, 146, 213, 248, 249 Bermuda buttercup, 35 Berrugata, 201 Bicuda, 200 Biocultural, xii, 127–130, 135 Biological cycle, 168 Biological disruption, 35 Biological invasions, 103 Biology, v, 9, 72, 94, 118 Biophysical, xi, 39, 40, 127, 128, 260 Biosphere reserves, 103 Biotechnology, 84 Birds, 5, 11, 16, 150 Bird species, 57 Bivalve(s), 46, 79, 92, 101, 104, 113, 119 Blackness, 57, 187 Blue wildrye, 33 Boat(s), 44, 46, 47, 49, 65, 68, 69, 89, 118, 119, 125, 173, 188–198, 202, 204, 206, 219, 224, 229, 230, 232, 233, 235–237, 266 Body(ies), v, x, 3–5, 9, 15, 16, 18, 19, 44, 53, 73, 80, 84, 86, 115, 125, 135, 136, 174, 184, 193, 195, 199, 202, 204, 217, 226, 267 Borderlands, 25 Borders, 10, 66, 91, 187 Botanical diversity, 35 Botanical gardens, 30 Botany, 26, 27 Bottled water, 151 British Columbia, Canada, 120 Broome-Exmouth, 82 Buoyancy, 95 Buoys, 3, 195, 228, 249 Bureaucratic, 101, 105, 190

Index Business(es) center, 89 competitors, 124 enterprises, 59 interests, 192 logistics, 234 monopolies, 117 practices, 50, 235 Businessmen, 48, 82, 89, 117, 191 Butterflies, 16 Butterfly, 18, 19 C Caayajaacoj, 169 Cabezuda, 196, 202 Cabrilla, 200 California, ix, x, 4, 9–11, 23–36, 44, 46, 48, 55, 56, 75, 114–117, 122, 125, 128, 139, 142, 143, 150, 161, 167, 171, 172, 214, 216, 244, 245, 251 California, Gulf of, 79–109, 139, 142, 150, 161, 167, 171, 172 Cameron Douglas-Castle, 81 Campbell family, 32 Campbell Ranch, 25, 26, 30, 33 Cancer, 145 Cancún, 107 Capacity-building, 107 Capital, 56, 74, 90–92, 105, 107, 184, 190, 206, 212, 213, 218, 249 Capture, 16, 52, 82, 93, 142, 191, 192, 194–196, 200, 201, 266 Capture-based extensive culture, 82 Carcharhinidae, 200 Carcharhinus spp., 199 Cárdenas del Río, Lázaro, 143 Caretta caretta, See Loggerhead, turtle Cariaco, Gulf of, 101 Caribbean, 40, 55, 57, 64, 86 Carnegiea gigantea, see Columnar cacti Cascadia subduction zone, xi, 243–261 Catch, 8, 50, 67, 86, 120, 125, 145–148, 190–192, 194, 195, 197, 198, 203, 204, 211, 214, 218, 237 Cattle, 25, 55, 88, 140, 141, 149, 184, 185, 187, 189 Cayajaacoj, 156, 168, 169 Cayajzaac, 153, 156, 167, 168 Cazón, see Carcharhinus Central America, 46, 48, 54, 64 Centro de Investigación Biológica del Noroeste (CIBNOR), 97, 100, 101, 105

277 Centro de Investigación Científica y Educación Superior de Ensenada, Baja California (CICESE), 97 Centropomus spp. C. armatus (see Róbalo) C. medius, 196, 197 C. nigrescens, 196, 197, 202 C. robalito (see Piüw yellowfin snook) C.viridis, 196, 197 Cercidium microphyllum, see Ziipxöl Iifa Chelonia mydas, 148, 167, 168 Chesapeake Bay, 130 Chesapeake oysters, 130 Chiapes of Darién, 43 Chiuj yellowfin mojarra, 67 Chopa, 201 Chronic-degenerative ailments, see Chronic-­ degenerative diseases Chronic-degenerative diseases, 136, 146, 173 Chula, 200 Cicada, 5 Cichlasoma trimaculatu, 202 Civic-religious, 186 Civil associations, 102–104 Civil society, 68 Clams, 125, 129, 148, 149, 151, 153, 165 Clandestine, 94, 103 Climatic and oceanographic variations, 85 Climatic fishing planning agenda, 74 Climatic uncertainties, 80 Cmiique Iitom, 154, 156, 157, 159, 162, 163, 167–170 Coastal areas, x, 65, 79, 90, 108, 243, 248 camps, 165, 169 communities, v, xi, xi, 12, 80, 101, 146, 210–212, 214, 217–219, 223–239, 243, 247, 249, 251–253 desert foragers, 136 development, 26, 80, 107 disasters, 214 dunes, 24–27, 34 economies, 217, 239 environment, 12 fisherfolk, 100, 107 hazards, 246, 247, 261 heritage, vi–xii, 39 landscape, 24, 26, 190 livelihoods, v, ix, 148 management, 80, 107 Oregon, 219, 225 Oregonians, 236 people, 104 residents, 236, 248, 252, 253

278 Coastal (cont.) storms, 4, 235 stream, 4, 11 systems, ix, 3, 19 towns, 214, 227, 238 vegetation, 65 wetlands, 25 zone, ix, 86, 103, 108, 153 Coastline(s), 107, 139, 148, 190, 198 Coasts, xi, 3–6, 9, 13, 19, 20, 26, 29, 30, 36, 39–42, 44, 46, 47, 50, 56, 64, 86, 87, 91, 94, 101, 106, 114, 116, 117, 120, 125, 126, 138, 139, 141–143, 147, 153, 154, 166, 184, 186, 187, 198, 214, 216–219, 227, 232–235, 238, 240, 243–246, 248, 251, 254, 255, 257, 259, 261, 265, 266 Coercion, 9, 11 Cohesion, 50, 129, 187, 189 Collapse, x, 46, 47, 51, 93, 136, 192, 211 Colombia, 47, 54 Colonial, 25, 41–47, 58, 81, 88, 130, 185, 186 Colonization, 40–42, 86–88, 90, 106, 185, 186 Columnar cacti, 150 Comcaac, 138–156, 158–161, 163–166, 168–176 Comisión Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca (CONAPESCA), 102, 104, 191 Commerce, 41, 47, 81, 88, 89, 115, 193, 206 Commercial activities, 206 alliances, 72 bivalve mollusks, 92 entities, 30 exploitation, 88 farms, 82, 106 fisheries policies, 71, 211, 237 fishermen, 211, 215, 218, 233, 237 fishing, 143, 211, 215, 216, 218, 219, 227, 228, 233–235 harvesting, 115, 117, 118 operations, 47, 193 oyster extraction, 115 oyster harvesting, 117–119 pearl farms, 83 production, 99 seafood/fishing, 224 Commodity(ies), 7, 81, 85, 89, 129 Common yarrow, 30 Communal, 202, 204, 207 Communities, v, vii, x, xi, 12, 24, 27–29, 32–35, 40, 41, 51, 55, 56, 64, 67–75, 80, 100, 101, 103, 104, 106–108, 127, 129, 130, 143, 144, 146, 151, 152, 159,

Index 167, 168, 173, 175, 176, 183, 187, 192, 193, 195, 197, 199, 202–205, 209–219, 223–239, 243, 245–257, 259–261, 266 Community-based community-based adaptation, 251 community-based microentrepreneurship, 103 community-based pearl-farming, 108 community-based productive projects, 101 community-based socioeconomic prosperity, 103 Competition, 27, 29, 32, 35, 54, 94, 107, 187, 188, 205, 206 Complex anthropological context, 138 environmental observations, 169 governances, 101 lifestyle, 234 policy system, 108 Complexity(ies), v, 64, 95, 138, 218, 236, 256, 257, 259 Concheros, 86 Confederation of Gran Colombia, 47 Connectedness, 174, 175 Connection, vii, ix, xi, 2, 4, 9, 29, 35, 39–59, 64, 93, 192, 216, 223, 224, 231, 233–235, 237, 247, 252, 261 Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), 95, 104 Conservation conservation-oriented, 107 ecology, 28 efforts, 34, 35 practices, 128 schemes, 175 strategies, 130 Conservationism, 100, 103 Conservationist(s), 33, 102, 108 Constabulary, 139 Consumed, see Consumption Consumer(s), 114, 115, 124, 237 Consuming, 126, 129, 142, 151 Consumption, x, 52, 86, 94, 113, 126–129, 146, 151, 172, 179 Contaminants, see Contamination Contamination, 33, 113, 129 Cooperation, 32, 71, 72, 75, 216, 217 Cooperative(s), 64, 67–71, 73, 97, 100, 102–106, 122, 143–145, 189–193, 203, 206, 208, 214–217 Coryphaena hippurus, 192, 198, 200 Cösecöla Iyat, 163 Coues white-tailed deer, 149 Coyote, 10, 11, 161, 173, 200 Crab(s), 3, 106, 125, 211, 235

Index Crabber, 267 Crassostrea spp. C. gigas, 126 C. virginica, 114, 120, 126, 127, 130 Creative, see creativity Creativity, 266 Cristo Jesús, 144 Cristo Rey, 188 Crossland, Cyril, 82, 84 Crown, 32, 51, 140, 141 Crustaceans, 86 Culinary, 113, 116, 127, 128 Cultivar, 51 Cultivate, 82, 91 Cultivated, 34, 35, 65, 66, 92, 125, 126 Cultural, v–xii, 2, 7, 23, 25, 26, 33, 34, 36, 39–41, 52, 64, 73, 74, 80, 81, 105–107, 113, 124, 128, 135–176, 183–187, 190, 204, 210, 211, 213, 238, 245, 247, 249, 252–260, 265–272 Cultural-historical, 128 Culturally accepted, 135 Culturally bound, 152–156 Culturally constructed, 247 Culturally mediated, 136 Culture(s), vi, vii, ix, xi, 6, 40–42, 66, 67, 82–84, 92, 95–99, 101–103, 105, 107, 108, 130, 136, 138, 144, 147, 148, 160, 172, 174, 176, 217, 219, 243–261 Cultured mabé, 99 Cultured pearls, 80, 82–84, 95, 99, 101–103, 106 development, 81 industry, 42–51 production, 80 Cultured seafood, 233–235 Cupped oysters, see Crassostrea spp., C. gigas Customary, 89 Cyprian Combier, 89 Cyril crossland, 82, 84 D Damage, v, 243, 245, 246 Damaging, see Damage Damming, see Dams Dams, 11, 56, 94 Dance, 14–16, 188, 271 Dancing, see Dance Dangerous, 42, 118, 127, 215, 228, 232, 235 Dangerous fishery, see Dangerous Dangerous obstacles, see Dangerous Dangerous parasite, see Dangerous Dangerous place, see Dangerous Dangers, 49, 94

279 Darién, 41, 43, 48 Dark top snails, 148 Database, 81, 102, 217, 218 Data-driven transdisciplinary research, 136 de Anglería, Pedro Mártir, 43 de Cardona, Tomás, 87 Decentralization, 63, 71 Declaration of independence (Panama), 54 Decolonization, 42, 47, 51 Decree, 46, 88, 90, 94, 102, 105, 145 Deep-sea fishing, 203, 206 Deer, 11, 67, 149, 164 Deer antlers, see Deer Deer hunting, see Deer de Gálvez, José, x, 88 Degradation, vii, x, 24, 28, 94, 127, 202, 203 Degraded, 13, 15, 34 de Iturbide, Agustin, 88 Deleterious effects of dietary change, 138 de Magalhanes, Fernando, 42 Demand for fish, 143, 191 Demand for food, 55 Demand for totoaba, 143 Demand for vitamin A, 144 Demand for waterfront, 225 Demographic(s), x, 46, 52, 57, 58, 140, 184, 199, 202, 205, 210, 213, 218, 225, 227, 230, 237–239, 254, 258 analyses, 254 change, 202, 237–239 impact, 140 research, 227 Den, Nicolas, 25 Dependence, 19, 48, 175, 210, 211, 227 Dependencies, see Dependence Dependency, see Dependence Dependent, see Dependence Depletion, 87, 128 Depopulation, 42 Dermochelys coriacea, see Leatherback turtle Desemboque, 139, 144, 145, 161, 165, 166, 172 Desert, x, 28, 29, 136, 138–140, 146, 150–154, 159, 160, 165, 171, 173, 174 Desert dwellers, 146, 151 Desertification, 66 Desire, viii, 1–20, 35, 55, 226 Deterritorialization, 183 Deterritorialized, see Deterritorialization Development, vi, 24–26, 28, 29, 55, 58, 63, 66, 72–74, 79–81, 83, 85, 88–92, 95, 100–108, 121, 128, 130, 136, 175, 176, 183, 189, 192, 199, 212–214, 217, 220, 226, 251, 253

280 Diabetes, 136–138, 145, 146, 173, 174, 177 Diabetes mellitus, 137 Diapterus brevirostris, see Sacamiche Diarrhea, 145 Diel-cycling, 127 Diet, x, 89, 114, 116, 136–139, 146–154, 174 Dietary, 135–176 Dinesen, Isak, 265 Discovery of the eastern tropical Pacific, 39 and exploitation in the Gulf, 86 of gold in California, 55 of the Mar del Sur, 39–59 Discrimination, 122 Disease(s), 46, 57, 127, 129, 136, 137, 145, 146, 173, 185 Displacement, 65 Dispossessed, 137 Distribution of natural resources, 40 Dive, 44, 46, 48, 50, 51, 86, 89, 90, 148, 173, 196, 198, 230, 271 Divers, 48–50, 88–94, 106 Diversity, vi–vii, xii, 27, 35, 56, 74, 148, 150–152, 176, 213 Diving, see Dive Diving gear, 89, 90 Documentary evidence, 25 Documents, ix, 25, 33, 40, 44, 46, 82, 88, 102, 117, 193, 212, 214, 215, 244, 249 DOGAMI, 245, 252, 265 Dongonab Bay, Sudan, 82 Donkeys, 149 Doty, Mark, 2, 3 Douglas-Castle, see Cameron Douglas-Castle Drainage, 57, 82, 139, 184 Drained, 14, 121, 125 Drainwater, 267 Dredging, 125, 193, 194, 197, 198, 211, 225, 232, 233 Drugs, 144 Dry-docked, 229 Dry-farming, 25 Dwarfism, 30, 31 Dynamite, 92 Dysentery, 145 E Earthquake(s), 211, 243–245, 247, 248, 251–254, 256, 257, 259, 261 Eastern Africa, 81 Eastern atlantic oysters, 126 Eastern atlantic species, 126 Eastern Gulf of California, 139

Index Eastern North America, 232 Eastern Oregon, 117 Eastern oyster, 117 Eastern Panama, 40 Eastern peninsular coast, 91 Eastern tropical Pacific, 39 Echeverría Álvarez, Luis, 189 Ecocriticism, 2 Ecological awareness, vii–xxi, 3, 14, 130, 175, 211, 230, 233, 235, 239, 248, 251, 253, 254 balance, 74 conditions, 249 consciousness, 1–20 damage, 243 degradation, 24 deterioration, x, 202 knowledge, vii–xxi, 130, 175, 211, 228, 232, 234, 238, 248, 251, 253 systems, 34, 247 Ecologically, 4, 8, 11, 35, 55 Ecology, ix, 1–20, 27–29, 32, 36, 71, 94, 98, 105, 115, 223, 246, 258, 261 Economic(s), v, vi, ix, x, xii, 39–42, 45, 48, 50, 54, 55, 58, 59, 64, 68, 73, 81, 88–90, 92, 94, 96, 101, 103, 104, 115, 122, 136, 138, 142, 148, 149, 151, 175, 183, 189, 193, 197, 198, 202–204, 210–214, 217, 219, 225, 227, 231, 234, 237–239, 246, 247, 249 Economy(ies), ix, 12, 40, 42, 44, 47, 66, 88–91, 93, 105, 108, 136, 144, 174, 183, 188, 203, 205–207, 210, 211, 213, 217, 228, 239 Ecosystem-based, 211 Ecosystems, vii, 3, 5, 8, 11, 14, 19, 24, 26, 27, 33, 35, 36, 66, 86, 103, 107, 113, 127–130, 136, 195, 211, 212 Ecotourism, 103, 175 Edible(s), x, 80, 86, 95, 101, 104–106, 108, 135, 149, 150, 152 Education, 45, 103, 175, 189, 213, 217, 225, 235–237, 247, 251 Eelgrass, 150, 156, 168–170 Eggshell pottery, 138, 139 Eighteenth century, 25, 46, 87–88 Elders, 9, 51, 152, 154, 265 Elite(s), 25, 46, 87–88 El Jícaro, 187, 194, 199 el Santísimo, 188 Employee(s), 58, 89, 91, 92, 121, 122, 216, 255, 257 Employers, 89, 238, 239 Emporium, 92

Index Empowerment, 67 Encinas, Pascual, 143 English, 6, 47, 56, 57, 81, 85, 249 English-speaking, 57 Entrepreneur(s), 40, 51, 53–55, 80, 83, 84, 86, 88, 91, 94, 95, 97, 100–104, 142, 192 Entrepreneurial, 83, 106, 116, 207 Entrepreneurship, 103, 122, 130 Environment, v, vii–xii, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12–16, 18, 19, 23, 27, 28, 30, 32, 35, 36, 42, 55–58, 66, 69, 86, 94, 95, 108, 124, 126–130, 136, 138–139, 159, 160, 174, 215, 223, 224, 231, 235, 247, 260, 266 Environmental, v–xi, 1–20, 27, 28, 51–58, 64, 68, 72–74, 79–81, 85, 100, 102, 103, 105–108, 124, 126–128, 130, 136, 138, 152–154, 156, 163, 164, 166, 168, 169, 174, 175, 183, 210, 211, 213, 217, 231, 235, 237, 239, 249, 251, 260, 261, 266 Environmentally, 2, 106, 261 Epidemic, 53, 137, 138 Epilobium, 28 Eras, xxv, 2, 23, 25, 26, 32, 48, 51, 53, 55, 57, 87, 88, 106, 117 Erotic, viii, 2, 18, 19 Eroticism, 1, 19 Eroticization, 5 Esteva, J.M., 89, 90 Estuaries/estuary, 4, 5, 13, 15, 18, 19, 113–115, 127, 229, 232 Estuarine, 14, 16, 18, 19, 226, 229 Estuary, 5, 13–15, 19, 114, 115, 229, 232 Ethnobiological interactions, ix Ethnobiological knowledge, vi, vii, x, 66–67 Ethnobiological perspective, 40 Ethnobiological surveys, 175 Ethnobiological tradition, 40 Ethnobiology, v–viii, 40, 223 Ethnography, 184, 266 Ethnography-based, 183 Ethnotaxonomies, 148 Ethnotaxonomy, 147 Ethnozoological, 148 Ethological, 148 Etymology, 170, 266 European abalone, 84 European immigrants, 88 European seeds, 30 European settlers, 115 Evacuate, 248, 253, 254, 259 Evacuation behavior, 248, 252, 253 decision, 253 drills, 255, 258, 259

281 planning, 252, 253, 261 preparedness, 254, 261 routes, 254, 258, 259 scenarios, 254 sign, 260 simulations, 254, 255 times, 259 trajectories, 254 Evacuees, 253, 258 Evangelical parishioner, 144 Evidence-based research, 259 Evolution, 27–28, 32, 85, 106, 107, 128, 139–145 of conservation knowledge, 128 of conservation practice, 128 of nacre and pearl fisheries, 106 of the pearling, 85 Evolutionary, 28, 32, 56, 93, 137 Evolution of Baja California, 85 Exclusion, 73 Exclusive fishing rights, 50, 70 Exogenous, 144, 176 Exploitation, x, ix, 39, 40, 47, 51, 81, 86, 88, 90, 92–94, 130, 148, 175, 189, 192, 202, 206 Exploration, 40, 42, 51, 87, 91 Extinction, 12, 50, 58, 85, 94, 115, 146, 204 Extraction/extractive, 42, 44–49, 51, 81, 87, 94, 95, 115, 127, 140 F Factories, 226 Farmers, x, 58, 83, 99, 102, 104, 105, 128, 129 Fathoms, 49, 89 Faulkner, W., 8 Fecundity, 4, 9–11 Federal agencies, 73, 104 Federal fisheries management, 72 Federal government, 63, 91, 93, 94, 145, 190, 191, 204 Federal property, 202, 204 Fiberglass boats, 69, 198 Findley, L., 176 Fish-based diet, 151 Fisheries, v, vi, ix, x, 11, 12, 48, 63–75, 81, 82, 87–94, 102, 103, 105–107, 145, 175, 183–207, 211–219, 225, 231, 233, 237, 239 Fisheries-related, 216 Fishermen/fisherman, 7, 46, 48, 67, 93, 120, 143, 144, 190, 194–196, 198, 199, 211, 215–219, 229, 230, 232–235, 237, 238

282 Fish/fishes, viii, 4, 6–9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19, 48, 50, 57, 68–70, 72, 86, 88, 89, 105, 106, 116, 121, 125, 129, 143, 145, 148, 150, 151, 153, 163–167, 171, 189–200, 202–204, 206, 211, 232, 265 Fishhooks, 145, 148 Fishing fishing livelihood, 102 gear, 67–69, 190, 195, 196, 203–205 instruments, 163 methods, 191 model, 73 nets, 194, 206 operations, 191, 232, 237 resources, x, 64, 186, 192, 193, 195, 197, 199, 202–206 rights, 50, 68, 70, 90 techniques, 194, 202 Fishnets, 191 Flamengo, See Lutjanus Flatfish, 214 Flavor, 125, 126, 147, 150, 151, 170 Flesh, 5, 13, 31, 147 Flood(s), 2, 4, 5, 13, 53, 245 Flooded, 244 Flooding, 1, 5, 56 Floodtide, 2, 14 Flora, 27, 29, 32, 33, 56, 107, 139, 176, 213 Flora and fauna, 27 Flowers, 2, 3, 14, 15, 31, 32, 168 Fluid, 2, 6, 8, 13 Fog, 232 Folk stories, 94 Food-producing cultures, 136 Food-producing societies, see Food-producing cultures Food-safety, 114 Foodscape, 176 Foodstuffs, 86 Foragers, 136 Foreigners, 90 Forest(s), 33–35, 52, 55, 56, 227 Fragmented landscape, 52 French, 53–55, 57, 58, 83, 85, 89, 100, 108, 124 French canal, 53, 54, 57, 58 Freshwater, 16, 55 Fruits, 126, 150, 151, 153, 156, 157, 159, 160, 164, 171–174 Fungi/fungus, 7–12, 94 G Gallina, 190, 200 Gallo, see Gallina

Index Gamio, Manuel, 144 Garbage, 14, 170 Garibaldi, 227 Gastrointestinal, 145, 146 Gastronomic, 130 Gender/gendered, 67, 101, 106, 108, 225, 231, 233, 247, 254 Gender-oriented, 101, 108 Genera, 30, 31, 79, 113, 150 Genetic(s), 33–35, 50, 64, 84, 138 Genotype(s), 33, 34, 137, 138 Geographical, ix, 15, 66, 85, 105, 107, 124, 164, 183, 257 Geography, 3, 13, 16, 40, 183, 210 Geological data, 244 Geological features, 27 Geomorphology, 97 Geophysical, 253 Geospatial, 248, 255, 256 German, 7, 10, 11, 48, 266 German descent, 48 German shepherd, 10, 11 Gerres cinereus, see Chiuj yellowfin mojarra Giant snail, 106 Giant turban, 102 Giant wildrye, 33 Global market, 81, 129, 211 Global power, 52 Global processes, 58 Global trade, 39 Goggles, 196, 271 Goleta Island, 25 Golfo de California, 91, 108 Governance, ix, 63–75, 88, 101 Government, 41, 47–50, 52, 54, 55, 57, 58, 63, 64, 67, 68, 70, 71, 73, 82–84, 88–90, 92–96, 100, 102–104, 114, 117, 129, 140–145, 189–193, 195, 202, 204–206, 215, 251, 252 Governmental, vi, 73, 75, 103, 107, 108, 142, 207 Government delegate, 90 Grammatical object, 16 Gran Darién, 41 Grantees, 87, 91 Graveyard of the Pacific, 228 Green sea turtle, 147 Groundfish, 214–215 Grupo Ostras Perleras, 95, 97–100 Guachinango, 190, 191, 198, 200 Guaycuras, 85 Guerrero, 87, 88, 91, 184, 186, 187, 191 Gulf of Cariaco, Venezuela, 101

Index H Haas Xepe Cahjiit, 160 Habitat(s), 25, 28, 33–36, 52, 56, 113, 127, 129, 135, 214 Hacosaa, 157, 171 Haemulopsis leuciscus, see Pedorro Hahshani Bak Mashad, 160 Haliotis iris, see Abalone Haliotis rufescens, see Abalone Haliotis tuberculata, see Abalone Hall, Harvey, 28–30 Hallmark fisheries, 237 Hama Hama Company, 128 Hama Hama estuary, 114 Hammersly Inlet, 126 Hammond, 166 Hant Caai, 148 Hant Yaail Ihaat Iizax, 156, 160–161 Hapa Caait, 164 Harpoon(s), 148, 169, 194, 196, 197 Hart, G., 9, 10 Harvest(s), 47, 82, 83, 94, 97, 102, 103, 115, 126, 128, 130, 135, 139, 151, 159, 191, 211, 213, 215, 218, 223, 224, 230 Harvesting, x, xxi, 8, 46, 47, 84, 115–119, 122, 127–130, 135, 157, 171, 233–235, 239 Harvesting cactus fruit, 157 Harvesting oysters, x, 117–119, 122, 127, 128, 130 Hast Quipac, 165 Hatcheries, 11, 12, 127, 128 Hatchery, 11, 95, 97, 102 Hatchery programs, 11 Hatfield Marine Science Center, 255, 257 Hawksbill turtle, 167 Haxöl Iihom, see Desemboque Hazard(s), xi, 106, 210, 245–249, 251–254, 260 Health, x, vi, 53, 57, 72, 87, 99, 113, 129, 130, 135–138, 144–146, 150, 173, 174, 210 Healthy, vi, 53, 87, 99, 130, 145, 150, 174 Heavy currents, 49 Heavy rains, 13 Helianthus annuus, see Sunflower Helianthus pauciflorus, see Sunflower Helianthus rigidus, see Sunflower Helicopter, 234, 235 Heliotrope, 31, 33 Henderson Inlet, Washington, 122 Herbaceous plants, 30 Herbs, 151 Heritage, vi–xii, 23–36, 39, 79, 108, 128–130, 135–176, 212, 219, 225 Herons, 150 Heuristic, 199

283 Heva, 18, 19 High blood pressure, 136, 145, 146 High caloric food, 138, 151, 174 High mortality, 96 High protein content, 159 High-quality protein, 151 Hispanic, 58 Historical, vi, viii, ix, 2, 12, 14, 24, 25, 33–35, 40, 43, 44, 52, 55, 64, 66, 67, 73, 79–83, 85, 88, 105, 119, 123, 128, 130, 139, 150, 174, 186, 202, 228, 231, 233, 238, 249 Hoffmann, B., 29, 184–187 Homeland security, 235 Honolulu, Hawaii, 99 Hood Canal, 17, 114, 120, 125, 128 Hook(s), 8, 12, 35, 46, 145, 148, 195 Hoona, 169 Horses, 11, 149 Horticulturalists, 174 Houses, 3, 4, 121, 125, 188, 230, 251 Huave(s), 63–75 agricultural systems, 66 communities, 74 ethnobiological knowledge, 66–67 society, 75 speakers, 65 Huave Lagunar System (HLS), 64–70, 73, 74 Huazantecos, 64 Human-free landscapes, 23 Humans, v–vii, ix–xii, 2, 4–12, 18, 23–25, 27, 33–36, 43, 55, 58, 65, 80, 86, 89, 106, 107, 113, 127, 130, 135–138, 148, 162, 173, 202, 209, 210, 213, 245, 254, 259, 260, 266 adaptation to coastal livelihoods, 148 consumption, 113 dietary transition, 136 landscape, ix, 36 perception, 8 relations, 6, 12, 260 settlements, 65, 86, 89 sexuality, 210 sexual relations, 10 systems, 210 use, 80 Hummingbird trumpet, 33 Hunger, 4, 11 Hunter, 146, 164 Hunter-gatherer(s), x, 85, 135–176 diet, 136–138 groups, 138 societies, 136, 138, 174 Hunting-gathering, 139–145 Hurricanes, 245, 253, 254


284 Husbandry, 82, 103 Hyago Framework for Action, 249 Hybrid ecosystems, 35 Hyogo Framework for Action, 249 Hypanus longus, see Mantarraya Hypercaloric dietary pattern, 151 Hypertension, 13 Hypertrophy, 32 Hypotropy, 32 Hypoxia, 127 Hyriposis schlegeli, see Naiad I Ibarra, Lidia, 161, 168, 172 Icoozlajc Iizax, 154, 156, 159–161, 171, 172 Identity, xi, ix, 25, 33, 57, 73, 94, 124, 187, 204, 225, 226, 228, 236, 238 Ideologie(s), v, x, 40, 41, 55 Iglesia Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo, 144 Ihaapl, 152, 153 Iizax, 154, 156, 159–164, 166–172 Illegal fishing activities, 68 Illegal gear, 203 Illegal practices, 72 Illicit, 204 Illness, 57, 137, 173 Imagery, 2, 6, 205 Imaginaries, v, ix, 58, 67, 73, 186 Imám Imám Iizax, 156, 161, 171, 172 Immigrant(s), x, 88, 120–124, 185 Immigration, 237, 238 Impact(s), ix, 11, 34, 46, 56, 66, 80, 85, 90, 103, 108, 120, 127, 128, 136, 140, 195, 210, 217, 218, 235, 236, 238, 248, 249, 251, 252, 254, 258, 260, 266 Imperialism, 40, 54, 184 Import-export, 102 Incubators, 48 Incursions, 18 Independent, 48, 51, 54–55, 84, 88, 95, 100, 142, 150, 187, 215 country, 51 experiments, 95 government, 142 Panama, 54–55 republic, 54 Indians, 41, 44–46, 57, 58, 88, 120, 122, 124, 243, 248, 249, 252 Indias, 41, 46, 86 Indigenous chiefdoms, 41 communities, vii, 41, 144 descent, 58 knowledge, 130, 245, 248, 258

people, 87, 105, 114, 136, 184 populations, 116, 135, 137, 185 roots, 187 societies, 85–86, 137 Indo-Pacific, 80, 81, 84, 103 Industrial fishery, 62, 90–92 mariculture, 107 Industrialization, 137 Industrialized societies, 137 Industries, x, xi, 46, 52, 58, 59, 80, 81, 212, 223–239 Industry leaders, 216 practices, 238 representatives, 218 Infection, 12 Infestations, 94 Infiernillo Channel, 145, 167–169 Inflation rate, 116 Infrastructure, 39, 52, 56, 58, 73, 88, 91, 93, 140, 145, 225, 229–232, 239, 246–248, 251–254 Inlets, 4, 16, 119, 122, 126, 232 Inoohcö Cmiixaz, 170 Instruments, 67, 69, 74, 82, 163, 171, 187 Interethnic, 187 Internet databases, see Database Interoceanic, 48, 50–52, 54, 55, 58 Intertidal, 2, 25, 26, 148, 149 Intertidal zones, 26, 148, 149 Invasive, 35 Invertebrates, 105 Iodine, 3 Iqueetmoj Iizax, 156, 170–171 Ironwood, 150 Islands, 5, 13–20, 24, 36, 41–51, 58, 67, 79, 80, 82, 89, 91, 94, 96, 101, 108, 118, 125, 138, 139, 141–143, 145, 150, 153, 154, 160, 161, 163–166, 170, 176, 244, 245 Isthmus of oaxaca, 73 of panama, 42 of tehuantepec, 64 Istiophorus platypterus, see Pez vela Italian, 52 Italy, 81 Ixquisis, 142 J Jackrabbit, 150, 164 Jacksonville, Florida, 227 Japan, 81, 83, 96, 102, 120–122, 125, 243–245, 248–251

Index Japanese, x, 51, 82–84, 94, 95, 99, 118, 120–125, 244 Jellyfish, 271 Jesuit(s), 87, 88 Jewelers, 99 Jewelry, 99 Jewels, 45, 99 Journey(s), 16, 94, 138 Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, 65 Judicial, 54 Judiciary, 92 Junegrass, 92 Jungle, 53 Jurel, 192, 196, 198, 201 Jurisdiction, 54, 102 Juvenile(s), 91, 95, 102 K Kamaishi, Japan, 249, 250 Katsuwonus pelamis, see Barrilete Kettle Gale, Katie, 117 Khorma trees, 247, 249 Kidnapping, 12 Kidney disease, 145 Kino, Eusebio Francisco, 87 Kinship, 188, 189 Kiribati, 81 Knapp, George Owen, 29 Knowledge, v–xi, 16, 19, 34, 36, 67, 69, 84, 86, 87, 95, 100, 102, 107, 128–130, 145, 154, 174, 175, 190, 194, 204, 212, 216, 226, 230, 234, 235, 245, 246, 248, 249, 252–254, 256–259, 261 Knowledge-holders, 100 Koreans, 124 Kroeber, Alfred E., 141, 143, 146–148, 156, 157, 160, 164, 165, 167, 169, 171 Kyphosus analogus, see Chopa Kyphosus ocyurus, see Chopa L Labor, 44–46, 48, 53, 69, 88, 105, 118, 122, 189, 233, 237 Laborers, 58, 117, 118 Ladder, 142, 229–230, 233 Ladysmith Harbor, British Columbia, 120 Lagoon, 64, 65, 67–72, 187, 190–199, 202–207 Lamarckian, 27 Lancheros, 68–69 Land, xi, 3, 14, 15, 26, 29, 33, 34, 40–42, 44, 47, 51–59, 64–66, 86, 87, 121, 122, 125, 136, 141, 148, 150, 159,

285 176, 186, 189, 202, 203, 224, 226, 227, 229, 245, 248 Landforms, 14 Land-grabbing processes, 139–140 Landscape, ix, 7, 14, 19, 23–36, 40, 52, 55, 56, 58, 59, 107, 190, 248, 253, 258–261 Landslides, 227 Language, 5, 16, 64, 66, 185, 266 La Niña, 94, 102 La Noria, 187, 203 Large-scale agriculture, 55 exploitation, 148 phenomenon, 64 Larvae, 102, 113, 118, 125, 127 Larval, 95, 97, 105 Laura, 233 Laws, 10, 11, 46, 63, 68, 71, 72, 90, 91, 117, 121, 122, 203, 204, 211, 225, 226 Leap mullet, 67 Leatherback turtle, 147–148, 167 Legacy, 24, 35, 36, 42 Legal categories, 68 license, 93 limit, 9 mandates, 210 protection, 126, 226 recourse, 126 reforms, 63 route, 175 scaffolding, 72 status, 103, 238 Legislation, 11, 71, 72, 90 Lemmings, 5, 14, 15 Lepidochelys olivacea, 167 Lepus alleni tiburonensis, see Antelope jackrabbit Leuresthes sardina, see Sardine Levison, Herman, 91 Licensee, 87 Lifespan, 81, 85 Lifestyle, 144, 166, 174, 230, 234 Life-threatening physical harm, 251 Lifeways, 130, 199–200 Lighthouse, 271 Lincoln, Nebraska, 27 Linguistic, 66, 136, 238 Linnaeus, Carl, 84, 192, 196, 198, 200, 202 Liquefied natural gas, 229 Lisa, 196 Listoncillo, 190 Literacy, 67 Literary geography, 3 Litopenaeus stylirostris, 67

286 Litopenaeus vannnamei, 195 Littoral, 184 Livelihood(s), v–vii, ix, xi, 64, 85–86, 99, 102, 106, 124, 127, 136, 139, 148, 173, 187, 192, 203, 204, 210, 212, 213, 233, 266 Lluch-Belda, Daniel, 95 Lobster, 50, 106 Loggerhead oil, 170 turtle, 167 London, Jack, 117 Longline, 197–199 Longshoremen, 230 Looters, 92 Looting, 85, 92 Lora, 200 Lora scarus, see Perrico Loreto Bay, 96 Love, 2, 3, 5, 9 Lovemaking, 2, 19 Lover, 1–4, 19, 267 Low-calorie food, 114 Low-fat cereals, 151 Low-tide, 114, 117, 123, 125, 148, 168 Lunar cycle, 157, 162 period, 154, 156, 158–162, 168, 169, 172 system, 152–154, 157, 160, 161 year, 152 Lunation, 152, 154–174 system, 159 Lunella smaragua, see Turban snails Lupine, 31, 35 Lupinus chamissonis, see Lupine Lust, 4, 14, 19 Lutjanidae, see Pargos Lutjanus spp., 192 L. argentiventris (see Coyote) L. colorado (see Listoncillo) L. guttatus, 200 L. jordani (see Pargo spp., P. rojo) L. novemfasciatus (see Pargo spp., P. prieto) L. peru (see Guachinango) Luxury goods, 105 resorts, 107 wood, 81 Lyropecten subnudosus, see Scallop, lion paw scallop M Mabé, 82–84, 96, 97, 99 Machaerocereus, 150

Index Machinery, 13, 49, 53 Maggots, 18–19 Mahi-mahi, 198 Mainland, 46, 150 Maintenance of ecosystem functioning, 130 of local genetic stocks, 33 Malacological, 86 Malaria, 57, 58 Mammal, 57, 86 Managers, 25, 58, 90, 122, 211, 212, 215, 224–225, 252, 261, 266 Mangrove, 56, 191, 202 Manila, Nao of, 87 Mankind, 42 Mannar, Gulf of, 90 Mantarraya, 198, 200 Mapping, 32, 217, 255 Maps, 17, 26, 43, 87, 140, 155, 157, 165, 173, 185, 188, 201, 244, 252, 253, 256, 257 Mareños, 64 Margrave, Walter, 12, 13 Mariano Matamoros, 187, 199 Mariculture, 79, 80, 85, 92, 95, 101, 103, 106–108 Marine animals, 165, 167 environment, 5, 14, 139 fauna, 86, 151 fisheries commission, 238 fisheries service, 216 grounds, 91 headlands, 4 Operations Pacific research fleet, 229 research, 223, 224, 227, 229 resources, 80, 88, 91, 148, 191, 215, 224–225 Maritime, 56, 218, 233 Market, x, xi, 7, 46, 52, 58, 67, 70, 80, 81, 84, 89, 101, 103, 109, 117, 119, 129, 144–146, 151, 175, 183, 191–193, 198, 199, 206, 212 Market-mediated consumption, 136 Marquelia, Oaxaca, 191 Marriage, 9 Mathematical, 210 Mayordomía, 187–189 Meadows, 272 Meat, 46, 52, 89, 125, 146, 151, 161, 173, 196, 197 Medical school, 12 Medicine, 163 medicine systems, 173 Melagraphia aethiops, see Dark top snails

Index Menticirrhus spp., see Berrugata Mercantilism, 42 Merchant(s), 89, 117, 124, 151 Mero ‘ikooc, 64–67 Meroir, 124–126, 130 Merroir, 125 Mesoamerican, 66 Mesquite, 153, 154, 156, 159–160, 169–171 Mestizo(s), 144, 184, 186, 187 Metabolic implications, 137 Metabolic rates, 174 Metallic, 126 Metals heavy metals, 136 precious metals, 7, 44 Metaphor, 2, 4, 5, 266 Metaphysical, 13–15 Methods, xi, 27, 49, 67–68, 82, 83, 92, 95, 101, 102, 105, 126, 163–164, 175–176, 191, 194, 195, 197 Mexican, 25, 63, 68, 71, 72, 74, 84, 87, 88, 90–92, 99, 100, 102, 106, 107, 143–145, 186, 187, 189 Mexico, Gulf of, 114 Mica, 81 Michigan, 13 Microenterprise, 80 Microentrepreneurship, 97, 99, 101, 103–108 Micronesia, 81 Microregion, 189, 192, 199, 204, 206 Migrants, 57, 233 Migration, 14–15, 27, 32–34, 51, 69, 74, 143, 206 Military, 52, 54, 58, 141–143, 160, 186, 191 Mimic, 130 Mimulus, 31 Mimulus cardinalis, see Scarlet monkeyflower Mine(s), 12, 41, 87, 94 Minerals extraction, 127 industries, 245, 252, 255 precious minerals, 81 Minindaca, 187, 199 Minitán, 187, 194, 199, 202, 203, 206 Minnows, 16 Minority, 233, 239 Miscegenation, 185 Mise-Nishikawa surgical procedure, 82 Mission Carrizal, 142 San Ignacio, 87 Santa Barbara, 25, 28, 30 Missionary(ies), 87, 139, 141, 144, 150 Mission Canyon, 28–32 Mississippi, 81

287 Mitigation, 249 mitigation for environmental impact, 11 Mixtec, 187 Miyagi, Joe, 121, 122 Mnetha, 18, 19 Mobility, 15, 137, 247, 254 Mobilization, 174, 251 Moctezuma Río, 139 Models coastal development, 26, 80, 107 community-based, 106 development, 107, 108 evacuation, 253, 257 Modernity, 173, 174 Modernization, 130, 173 Módraniht, 7 Mojarras, 67, 194, 197 Mojepe, 172 Mollusks, x, 79, 82, 86, 90, 92, 102, 108, 113, 149, 153, 165 Money, 12, 54, 69, 89, 91, 121, 143, 188, 191, 193, 204, 219 Monopoly, 117, 191 Monounsaturated fats, 151 Monroe Doctrine, 47 Monterey, 3, 4, 29 Monterrey, 99 Moon, 152, 154, 156, 159–167, 169–173, 193, 194, 198, 199 Moosni, 148, 164, 167, 168 Mosquito(es), 57, 58, 154, 167 Mother-of-pearl, 44, 79, 81, 82, 94 Motorboats, 145, 188 Mountain(s), 7, 11, 29, 42, 44, 139, 170, 171, 188, 190, 199 Mudflats, 230 Mugil spp. M. cephalus (see Leap mullet) M. curema (see Lisa) M. hospes, 196 Mule deer, see Deer Mulegé Bay, 89 Mullet, 67 Municipal, 41, 66, 74, 104, 191 Municipality(ies), 63, 65, 66, 72, 74, 187 Murdock, George Peter, 136, 137 Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 83, 84 Mushroom, 9, 10 Mussels, 151 Mutineer(s), 86, 106 Myth(s), 14, 148 Mythology, 66

288 N Naapxa Yaao, 153, 156–158, 165, 166 Nacre, 79–109 Nacred top-shell, 102 Nahua, 187 Nahual(es), 66 Naiad, 81–84 Narrative, 4, 12, 15, 24, 40, 47, 52, 58, 66, 79, 106, 152 National development, 108, 189 development plans, 108 industry, 49 National Academy of Science, 130 National Estuarine Research Reserve, 229 National Indigenous Institute, 191 national oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA), 113, 127, 216–218, 237 National Science Foundation, 254 National Water Commission, 184 parks, 32 policy, 74, 217 Native bivalves, 101 coastal vegetation, 65 divers, 49, 89 olympia oyster, 115, 120, 127 oyster habitat, 129 pearl oysters, 99 people, 85 population, 43 societies, 85 women, 117 Native American ancestors, 25 harvest, 130 labor, 122 oyster, 130 women, 115, 117 Natives, 10, 25, 27, 31, 33–35, 42, 43, 49, 58, 65, 85, 89, 95, 99, 101, 102, 106, 114, 115, 117, 118, 120–122, 126–130, 138, 145, 147 Natividad Island, 101 Natural, vi, vii, ix, xi, 5–15, 23–36, 40, 44, 45, 48, 51, 56, 58, 59, 74, 80–83, 85–90, 92–94, 96, 102, 105–109, 120, 135, 141, 146, 157, 174, 183–207, 209, 210, 212, 213, 217, 224, 229, 233, 245, 247, 249, 251, 260 Naturalness, 11, 23

Index Nature, 2, 7, 9–11, 13, 14, 24, 28, 33, 39, 40, 58, 80, 94, 101, 106, 130, 176, 186, 193, 205, 212–214, 247 Nautical, 266 Navigate, 113, 190, 230, 266 Navigation, 56, 87, 228 Navigational, 3, 232, 233 Nayarit, 87 Near-shore, 127, 248, 261 Needlegrass(es), 31 Negative actions, 73 effects, 144 impact, 128, 136, 195, 217, 237 leadership, 73 Negritud, 187 Nemophila, 31 Neoclassical, 55 neoliberal, 100, 101, 189–193 Neolithic, 146 Neotoma spp., see Packrat Nests, 150, 169 Net(s), 57, 68, 69, 191, 192, 194–199, 203, 206, 230 Network(s), 2, 8, 10, 16, 29, 72, 91, 99, 146, 183, 187, 189, 214, 218, 221, 226, 246, 249 Newport’s Bayfront, 229 NGO(s), 68, 72, 104 Nicaragua, 54 Niche, 130, 150, 184, 186 Nightshade, 35 Nineteenth Century, 25, 50–58, 89, 90, 185 Nishikawa, Tokichi, 82, 83 Non-American pearl oysters, 84 Non-Hispanic white population, 237 Non-Japanese institutional libraries, 84 Nootka, 114 Northwest coast, 4, 5, 114, 245 Northwest regions of the newly independent Mexico, 142 Pacific Northwest fisheries, 212 Northwestern australia, 82 mexico, 24 Novel(s) ecosystem, 26, 35 environment, 36 landscape, 36 systems, 35–36 Noxious, 136

Index Nudibranchs, 3 orange nudibranch, 3 Nuestra Señora de Covadonga, 87 Nurseries, 30, 31, 82, 92, 98 Nylon gillnets, 69 threads, 195 O Oaxaca, ix–xi, 63–75, 183–207 Obesity, 136–138, 146, 173, 174 obesity-related chronic degenerative diseases, 136, 173 Obesity-related disorders, see Obesity, obesity-related chronic degenerative diseases Occupation historical occupation, 130 human occupation, 33 Ocean(s), v, vi, xii, 47, 148 Atlantic Ocean, 232 Pacific Ocean, 5, 16, 39, 40, 42, 50, 66, 85, 115, 167, 184, 203, 229, 232 Oceanic, vii, 3, 4, 50, 216, 229 Oceanographic oscillations, 94 parameters, 97 processes, 39 variations, 85 Octopus, 50, 148 Odocoileus virginianus, see Coues white-­ tailed deer; Deer Offshore fishing, 239 wind, 217 Ojo de perra, 201 Olneya tesota, see Ironwood Onshore, 233, 235 business logistics, 233 O’odham Akimel O’odham, 137 Tohono O’odham, 137, 143, 160, 165, 172 Ool, 161, 163, 164, 172 Opening lines, 6 poem, 5 Open-sea, 190, 192 Open-weave baskets, 115 Operational regulations, 63 support, 72 Orange, 3, 266, 271 Ordinance, 74, 88, 93

289 Oregon, vi, xi, 56, 115, 117, 124, 125, 127, 128, 210–219, 225–239, 243–246, 248, 249, 251–252, 254–257, 259, 261 Oregonians, 236, 246, 251 Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory, 251 Organ cactus, 172 Organization(s), x, xi, 28, 64, 68–70, 72, 74, 75, 82, 90, 108, 114, 183–207, 213, 218, 234, 235, 252 Organizational characteristics, 105 frameworks, 74 practices, 67 scheme, 69 strategies, 207 systems, 183 Orgiastic, 3 Ornamental, xxiv, 43, 82, 86, 101, 104, 105, 108 Ornaments, 85–86 Osprey, 19 Ostrea gigas, see Asian(s), Asian oyster Ostrea lurida, see Oyster, olympia oyster Oto-Mangue, 64 Outboard engines, see Outboard motor(s) Outboard motor(s), 69, 173, 198 Outlet, 16, 54, 91 Overabundance, 93 Overexploitation, v, x, 51, 85, 94, 106 Overexploited, 68, 80, 90, 106 Overfishing, 50 Overharvesting, 120 Owls, 150 Oxygen, 94, 127 Oyster olympia oyster, x, 114–117, 120, 121, 126, 129 Pacific oyster, 120, 122, 126, 127 Pacific oyster larvae, 127 Oysterman, 117, 118, 122, 124 Oysters, see Oyster P Pachycereus pringlei, see Columnar cacti Pacific coast, viii, xxiv, 3, 4, 44, 47, 55, 56, 87, 101, 106, 114, 147, 184, 187, 243, 244 Northwest, x, 13, 113–130, 212, 234, 243, 245, 253 seascape, 81 shellfish, 86, 115, 127 sierra, 198 waters, 51, 120

290 Packrat, 150 Paloma, 198, 201 Panama Canal, ix, 24, 39, 40, 51–58 City, 47, 49, 52 Panamanian families, 54 Panama, Gulf of, 42, 85 Panamanian elites, 51 flora, 56 government, 47, 52, 57, 58 identity, 57 independence, 54, 55 nationalism, 54 Panama railroad, 57 population, 57 soil, 59 territory, 46, 55 Panamanian Isthmus, see Isthmus, of panama Panga(s), 69, 188, 196 Panicum spp., see Switchgrass Paradisiacal, 18 Paraestatal, 190 Pargos, 192, 202 Pargo spp. P. de roca (see Pargos) P. listoncillo, 200 P. prieto, 196 P. rojo, 196, 200 Paris, xx, xxii, 83, 84 Parking areas, 256 conflict, 237 garage, 253 lots, 226 Parks, 32, 103, 225, 226, 228, 257 Partnership(s), xi, xii, 117, 121, 145, 216, 218 Patent(s), 81, 102 Pathogens, 113 Patrimonial, 102 Payment plans, 47 Payments, 100, 214 Pearling pearl-farming, 102, 103, 108 pearl-fishing, 46, 48, 49 pearl-producing, 100, 102 Pearls, ix, 41–52, 58, 79–109 Péchita, 159, 160, 170 Pedorro, 200 Pelicans, 150 Penis-shaped, 9 People(s), v–xi, xx, xxi, xxv, 2, 3, 6, 12, 24, 39–42, 48, 50, 52, 55, 57–59, 64, 66, 68–71, 85–88, 93, 94, 104, 105, 114,

Index 122, 128–130, 137–139, 141, 144, 146, 151, 153, 154, 159–161, 164, 166–170, 172–176, 184, 186–198, 203, 204, 206, 207, 210–213, 215–219, 223–225, 227, 229, 231–233, 235–237, 239, 243, 245, 247, 248, 253, 257, 260, 261, 266 Peregrina, 45 Perennials, 27, 30, 31 Pérez de Ribas, Andrés, 139, 146 Pericúes, 85, 86 Perla, 41, 44, 51, 87, 97, 99 Permisionarios, 192 Perrico, 200 Perturbation, 128, 210, 231 Peru, 42, 44, 47, 101, 190, 198, 200 Pesticides, 94, 136 Petroleum, 14, 136 Pez vela, 200 Phacelia, 31 Pharmacopoeia, 66, 175 Phenotype, 138, 185, 187 Philosophical, 8, 19 Physical, x, xi, xxiii, 2, 5, 8, 12–14, 16, 32, 52, 53, 122, 199, 210, 231, 247–249, 251, 253, 261 Physical-chemical, 184 Physiography, 245, 252 Physiological constraint, 174 response, 95 Phytoplankton, 113 Piedmont, 184–186 Pigeon, 198 Pike’s Peak, Colorado, 28–31 Pinctada mazatlanica, see Mother-of-pearl Pinctada spp. P. erythreaensis, 82, 84 P. margaritifera mazatlanica, ix, 39, 44 Pinel Bros., 50 Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, xxv, 187, 204 Pitaya, see pitayas Pitayas, 153, 154, 159, 163, 164, 168, 171, 172 Piüw yellowfin snook, 67 Piza & Piza Co., 50 Pizarro, Francisco, 42 Placeres, see Placeres perleros Placeres perleros, 87, 88, 93 Plantings, 32 Playa, xxiii, 44, 199 Pleistocene-to-Anthropocene, 130 Poaching, 10 Pods, 156, 159–160, 170, 171 Poem(s), xxii, 1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 19 Poet, xx, xxi, xxv, xxvi, 2, 4, 7, 14–16, 18, 19

Index Poetry, viii, xi, xxi, 2, 4, 5, 7–9, 12, 13, 18, 266 Poison, 94 Policies, v, ix, xii, xv, xx, xxvi, 8, 47, 71, 74, 91, 105, 108, 138, 140, 142, 143, 209, 211, 212, 217, 230, 231, 233, 237–239, 247, 251, 266 Politics, vi, xxiii, 57, 80 Pollutants, 113 Pollution, v, 127, 202 Polo ponies, 30 Polyculture, 108, 109 Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, 136 Polydactylus approximans, see Ratón Polynesia, 83, 100, 108 Polyspecific extensive culture, 97 Pompano, 198 Ponce de León, Francisco, 142 Ponds, 82, 139 Population decline, 46 distributions, 254 growth, 56, 68, 206, 212, 238 pressures, 14 Port Orford, Oregon, 218 Port Pichilingue, Baja California Sur, 100 Ports, 87, 218, 226, 227, 229, 231–233 Portugal, 81 Postcolonial, 47–51, 58 Postrevolutionary, 84, 144, 189 Pottery, 41, 138, 139 Poverty, 183 Power, 4, 9, 11–13, 15, 42, 52, 54, 93, 137, 186, 199, 217, 231, 251, 266 Pozo Coyote, 161, 173 Peña, 172 Santa Rosa, 161, 172 Prairie, 27, 31 Prediabetes, 151 Predisaster, 251, 253 Pregnancy, 145 Pre-Hispanic, 57 Prehistoric, 23, 128, 130 Prehuman, 23 Preservationists, 24, 26 President McKinley, 121 Prickly pears, 150 Pristine condition, 145 environment, 23 nature, 24 wilderness, 24 Privatization, xxiv, 101, 107, 117 of oyster beds, 117

291 of public knowledge, 100 of a valuable common, 107 Privileged location, 144 sectors, 107 Production, 32, 44, 47, 48, 55, 68, 72, 73, 80, 82, 87, 95–97, 99–103, 105, 118, 124, 125, 129, 130, 136, 164, 172, 174, 189–194, 203, 207, 211, 226 Productive activities, 63, 66, 74 alternatives, 101 endeavor, 175 perspective, 108 projects, 101, 107 sectors, 63, 64, 189 units, 189 Productivity, 81, 93 Products, 34, 39, 48, 72, 99, 109, 146, 148, 165, 184, 189–191, 193, 206, 209, 219 Professional, 29, 80, 102, 106, 251 Profitability, 102, 106 Profitable, 68, 82, 87, 90, 103, 106, 206 Profit-sharing schemes, 69 Prohibited, 49, 195, 203–205 Prohibition, 143, 144 Project(s), v, vi, viii, xix–xxvi, 7, 11, 19, 25, 33, 48, 52, 74, 83, 95–97, 99, 103–105, 117, 129, 141, 176, 189, 191, 206, 207, 212–218, 229, 254 Promotion of a culture of disaster, 249 of mercantilism, 42 of sustainable technology, 107 Propemex, 190, 191 Property, 8, 10, 11, 25, 27, 32, 122, 129, 130, 145, 189, 202, 204, 225 Property-rights, xxv Proprietary, 89, 102 Protected, 18, 48, 69, 102, 105, 108, 204, 251 Protection, 18, 19, 24, 74, 94, 102, 103, 105, 122, 126, 130, 190, 211, 226, 231, 253 Protein, 137, 146, 148, 150, 151, 159, 211 Psychological, 80, 104–107 Psychology, 210 Pteriidae, 44, 79 Pterioida, 44 Public database, 217 forests, 221 health, 210 knowledge, 100 opinion, 54 participation, 70–72

292 Public (cont.) protests, 93 safety, 252 schools, 121 Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca, 72 Puget Sound, Washington, x, 4, 16, 114–122, 125, 126, 128–130 Puma, 11 Punitive, 142 Q Quail, 150 Quasi-insularity, 85 Queen conch, 82, 102 isabel, 51 Quinto, 44, 48, 87, 88 Quota, 82, 90, 211, 218, 219, 235 R Race race/ethnicity, 231 Racial, 122, 124, 185 Racialized, 57 Racist laws, 122 Radially symmetric, 31 Raiders, 150 Raids, 141, 142 Railroad, 56, 57, 229, 239 Rainfall, 139, 166 Ranch, 142, 143, 186 Ranching, 82, 140, 184, 185, 189 Rancho costa rica, see Rancho San Francisco de Costa Rica Rancho San Francisco de Costa Rica, 142 Ransom, 12 Ratón, 200 Rattlesnakes, 150 Readiness plans, 252 Real-estate, 99, 107 Reappropriating, 176 Reappropriation, 176 Recreational activities, 143, 206 fishing, 227, 232 fishing operations, 232 port, 229 salmon fishery, 228 Recreational uses, see Recreational Recruitment, 64, 105, 218 Red crab, 106

Index Redds, 7 Redistribution, 189, 203 Red snapper, 197–199 Red thorny oyster, 102 Reefs, 113, 118, 127, 130, 170, 190 Reel, 203, 204 Reforms, 63, 88, 90, 100 Refrigeration, 151 Refuge, 24, 66, 142, 145 Refugees, 142 Regime, 71, 91–93, 100, 142 Regional benefits, 217 Regional communication, 91 Regional configurations, 184–189 Regional economy, 89–91, 93 Regional equilibrium, 202 Regional fisheries, 72, 74, 214 Regional importance, 91 Regional organizations, 187, 252 Regional power, 186 Regional restructuring, 189 Regional seafood, 72 Regional societies, 85 Regional wealth, 88 Regions, xxv, 51, 63, 70, 72, 81, 82, 85, 87, 90, 95, 105, 107, 139, 142, 145, 184, 212, 216 Regulation(s), 46, 63, 71, 72, 74, 90, 93, 102, 195, 204, 206, 211, 218, 235, 239 Relations, vii, xx, 2, 6, 9, 10, 12, 174, 187, 189–191, 199, 202, 204, 231, 238 Relationship, vi, xii, xix, 2, 3, 5, 40, 50, 66, 79, 142, 143, 154, 174, 198, 210, 219, 266 Religious association, 144 fiestas, 187 organizations, 186 purposes, 86 Remediation projects, 33 Remedies, 145 Renewable energy, 229 Representatives, 31, 50, 70, 74, 191, 215, 218 Reproduction, viii, 5, 8, 12, 18, 86, 129, 197, 203 Reproductive drives, 14 Reproductive fitness, 92 Reproductive migrations, 15 Reproductive yearning, 13 Republic, 48, 51, 52, 54 Rescue, 234, 235 Residents, 51, 121, 190, 202, 211, 219, 231, 236, 243, 245, 247, 248, 252, 253, 259–261

Index Resilience, vii–xii, xx, xxi, xvi, 4, 6, 13, 39, 50, 70, 74, 87, 93, 106, 108, 109, 127–130, 135–176, 210, 212, 213, 215, 217–219, 225, 229–231, 233, 237, 239, 246–252, 259–260, 265–272 Resiliency, see Resilience Resistance, viii, 34, 127, 207 Resources, v, vii, ix–xii, xx, xxv, xxvi, 24, 39, 40, 42, 47, 51, 52, 59, 64, 66, 67, 72, 74, 80, 85, 88, 90, 91, 93, 105, 107, 109, 126, 128–130, 135, 137, 138, 142, 148–154, 174–176, 183–207, 209, 210, 212, 213, 215, 217, 226, 227, 238, 243, 246, 252, 254 Respiratory diseases, 145, 146 Response, v, xi, xxvi, 9, 10, 15, 30, 35, 56, 93, 95, 100, 104, 215, 217, 237, 245, 248, 249, 251–253, 258, 259, 261 Restoration, xi, xix, xxii, 23, 33–36, 129, 130 Resurgence, 93, 106 Retaliation, 142 Revitalization, 93, 225 Revivification, 2 Revolutionary, 93, 186, 192 Rew Sea catfish, 67 Rhythms, 2, 3, 15, 184, 194, 198, 199 Riches, 42, 58 Ridley, 147, 167 Rights, 11, 50, 63, 68, 70, 91, 102, 117, 176, 189, 190, 202, 203 Río, 41, 87, 88 Ripening, 160, 169, 172 Risk(s), xx, 26, 195, 199, 210, 231, 232, 245, 247, 249, 251–253, 258 Rites, 6, 7 River(s), v, 4–9, 11–16, 41, 55, 56, 58, 64, 81, 91, 94, 114, 115, 129, 161, 172, 184, 228, 232, 234, 267 Roads, 13, 16, 25, 27, 30, 71, 74, 184, 217, 226 Róbalo, 196, 197, 202 Robles Barnett, Enrique, 154, 156, 170 Robles Barnett, Josué, 157 Rockfish, 214 Rockies, 25 Rocks, 3–9, 12, 13, 25, 41, 44, 46, 203 Rod, 203, 204 Rodríguez, Leví, 143 Roman, 7, 81 Roman Saturnalia, 7 Romanticized, 2, 219 Ronco, see Pedorro Roosevelt, Theodore, 54 Roots, 19, 23, 66, 74, 80, 160, 166, 186, 187, 210

293 Rose, 13, 143 Roundfish, 214 Rugged, x, 53, 55, 139 Runoff, 125 Rural, xi, 58, 101, 102, 104, 130, 135–137, 173, 213, 237, 239 S Sablefish, 211 Sacamiche, 194, 196, 202 Safety issues, 245, 247 measure, 114 regulations, 211 SAGARPA, 102, 104 Sage, 271, 272 Sagebrush, 27 Saguaro, 160, 172 Sails, 67, 69, 194, 196, 219 Salaries, 89 Salema, 201 Saliency, 145, 260 Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, 72 Salinero(s), 142 Salines, 32 Salish sea, 14, 16–18, 115, 126, 129, 130 Salish seafoods, 128 Salish women, 117 Salmon canneries, 228 fishery, 215, 228 gathering, 4 reproduction, 8 Salmonid ecology, 6 Salmonid, 6 Salt flats, 187 heliotrope, 31, 33 marshes, 29 salmon, 8 saltwater, 14, 16, 18, 113 Samish Bay, Washington, 121, 126 Samoan, 243 Sand dropseed, 31 dunes, 24–29, 31, 32, 34, 65, 66 Sand-flat, 30, 31 verbena, 33 Sandbank, 166, 169 Sandpiper, 15 San Francisco, California, xxv, 48, 91, 116, 117, 120, 142, 143 San Francisco del Mar, Oaxaca, 63–75

294 Sanitation, 53, 57, 58 San Martín de Porres, 188 San Miguel, Gulf of, 42 Santa Barbara, California, 25 Santa cruz bay, 86 Santa cruz county, 12 Santa Gertrudis Cochimí mission, 142 Santa María del Mar, Oaxaca, 65, 66 Santísima Trinidad, 87 Sardine(s), 171 Sardinops sagax, see Sardine Saville-Kent, William, 82, 83 Scallop, 106 lion paw scallop, 102, 105 Scarce, 83, 85, 96, 101, 107, 169, 194, 254 Scarlet monkeyflower, 32 Scarlet pimpernel, 35 Scarus ghobban, see Lora Schemes, vi, xxiv, 63, 64, 69–71, 80, 85, 173, 175, 211 Schirabe, Adolfo, 91 School(s), 12, 25, 26, 67, 121, 144, 197–199, 270 Schooling, 144, 201 Schooners, 116 Sciences, v, vi, xi, 24, 57, 80, 97, 99–103, 106–108, 129, 130, 210, 213, 215, 216, 243, 247, 254, 259, 260, 266 Scientific community, x, 29, 34, 253 initiatives, 99 laboratory, 27 landscapes, 24–26 modeling, 260 name, 67, 196, 200, 201 object, 24, 25, 27, 36 researchers, 251 understanding, 36 Scientist(s), v, x, 26, 34, 35, 56, 82, 84, 92, 99, 129, 215–217, 248, 251, 254 Scomberomorus sierra, see Sierra Scott Creek, California, 12 Scow, 118, 121 Sea, vi, viii, xii, 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 12, 18, 19, 41, 48, 49, 56, 67, 69, 84–86, 88, 95, 104, 106, 121, 125, 126, 129, 146–148, 151, 153, 154, 160, 161, 163–165, 167–171, 188, 190, 191, 194, 197–199, 202, 203, 212, 215, 217, 223, 228, 237, 254, 266, 271 Seafood, 72, 121, 122, 126, 128, 139, 143, 146, 151, 211, 217, 223–230, 232–238 Seagrasses, 169 Seagulls, 267 Seascapes, 81, 176, 211, 248

Index Seawater, 113, 121, 127, 187 Seaweed, 86, 169 Sector(s), 63, 64, 67, 68, 71, 72, 74, 102, 107, 108, 176, 186, 189, 192, 193, 234, 251 Sedentism, 146, 175 Sedimentation, 202 Seismic hazard, 249, 253 resilience, 251 safety, 245, 247 Self-government, 70, 73 Self-sufficient, 251 Self-sustaining, 87, 108, 124 Seminoff, Jeff, 167, 176 Sensual, 5, 14, 15 Sensuality, 15, 19 Seri(s), xxv, 66, 135–176 Seriland, x, 139–145, 147–149, 176 Sex, 2, 10, 12, 19, 122 Sexual atmosphere, 9 desire, 3, 9, 10, 14, 19 Sexuality, 2, 4, 10, 18 Sharks, 49, 144, 164, 171, 190, 191, 214 Shellfish, 86, 115, 127–129, 148 Shells, 15, 25, 47–50, 81, 82, 86, 87, 89–90, 92–94, 113, 118, 120, 124, 126, 127, 148, 224, 266 Ship(s), 56, 86, 89, 91, 121, 122, 125, 186, 228–230 Shipbuilding, 227 Shipment, 116, 120 Shoalwater Bay, Australia, 115 Shore(s), 2, 4, 8, 19, 27, 67, 69, 129, 191, 195, 196, 199, 232, 244, 267, 272 Shoreline, xxi, 129 Shrimp, 66–69, 82, 95, 195, 211, 234 Sierra, 87, 89, 139, 150, 184–187, 192, 198, 200 Silver bars, 8 bullion, 8, 13 burr, 33 burr ragweed, 33 coins, 45 coloration, 14 heel, 1 mines, 87 pesos, 91 Sinaloa, Mexico, 65 Single-stem, 31 Size-driven selection, 86 Skates, 214 Skipjack, 82 Slavery, 46, 48, 50, 93

Index Slaves, 45, 46, 57, 58, 88 Smilograss, 35 Snapdragon, 32 Socaaix, 139, 166, 169, 172 Social, v, vi, ix–xi, 2, 29, 40–43, 53, 55, 63, 68, 72–74, 80, 81, 86, 91, 92, 94, 99, 100, 102–108, 129, 137, 144, 146, 175, 183–187, 189, 193, 197, 198, 202, 204–207, 210–215, 218, 219, 231, 238, 239, 247, 249, 259, 260 Social Darwinism, vi, 137 Socialist, 189 Social justice, 92 Sociobiological, 74 Sociocultural, 7, 12, 14, 85, 106, 127, 135, 238 Socioeconomic, x, 45, 64, 80, 89–90, 99, 103, 107, 108, 210, 245, 247 Socioenvironmental, ix, xxv, 51–58, 64, 66 Sociology, 183, 210 Solórzano, Jesús, 144 Solution, vi, xx, 29, 88, 204, 215, 217, 225, 233, 251 Sonora, 66, 88, 99, 138, 141–143, 166, 171, 173 Sonoran coast, 138 desert, 138, 140, 150, 151, 159, 160, 171, 173, 174 plains, 139 Southern California, ix, 23–36, 44 Southern coast, 86 Southwestern, 24, 66 coast, 94 Gulf of California, 89 Washington, 214 Sovereignty, 184 Space(s), vii, xii, 8, 15, 16, 24, 25, 28, 36, 40, 108, 183, 184, 186, 189, 199, 202–206, 215, 238 Spanish colonization, 185 conquest, 40–42, 186 crown, 40, 41, 44–46, 48, 51, 57 explorers, 25, 40, 42, 54 king, 42, 45 slavery, 50 Spatial articulation, 189 distribution, 174–176 elements, 203 organization, 69 planning, 217 reorganization, 185 responses, 183 structure, 187

295 Spawn, 113, 125, 171, 203 Spawning, 4–9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19 Specimens, 92, 150 Speedboats, 272 Sperm, 3 Sphoeroides annulatus, see Tzih Sphyraena ensis, see Bicuda Spondylus princeps, see Red thorny oyster Sporobolus cryptandrus, see Sand, dropseed Stakeholders, xi, 63, 68, 71, 73, 75, 107, 218, 226, 254, 259 Star(s), 152, 154, 156–167, 174 States, v, vi, ix, x, 11–14, 24, 32, 33, 36, 39–59, 63, 65, 70, 72–74, 80, 87, 88, 96, 100, 102–104, 107, 108, 115, 117–124, 126, 129, 138, 171, 176, 184, 186, 187, 190, 191, 206, 210, 211, 213–215, 217, 218, 225, 226, 228–231, 233, 245, 251, 252, 254, 255, 257–259, 261, 266 Steamboat, 126 Stenocereus thurberi, see Organ cactus Stenorhynchus debilis, see Yellow-arrow spider crab Stevedores, 230 Stone, 172, 217, 249 precious stones, 87 Stonehenge, 6, 8 Strombus gigas, see Queen, conch Sudan, 82 Sudanese government, 82 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (Surf), 4, 229, 257, 265, 267 Sumptuary, 81, 85, 101, 109 Sunflower, 31, 32 Suquamish seafood enterprise, 128 Swimming, 125, 188 Switchgrass, 32 Symbolic, 6, 10, 25, 39, 147, 148, 219 T Taki-Too, 232 Tamar, 4, 5, 13 Tax, 44, 50, 87, 88, 91 Taxonomist, 27 Technical, 53, 63, 64, 73, 84, 101, 232, 234, 238 Techniques, 13, 25, 27, 41, 46, 50, 66, 82–84, 90, 95, 100, 102, 105, 114, 135, 142, 149, 175, 193–196, 202, 205 Technological, xii, 80, 83, 84, 94, 95, 105–108, 152, 210, 211 Technology(ies), xxiv, 48, 80, 85, 92, 97, 99–103, 106–108, 138, 192, 217, 229, 254


296 Tecomate, 161 Tectonic, 139, 244 Tehuantepec, Gulf of, 64 Tehuantepec river, 64 Temperature(s), 44, 94, 120, 121, 161, 168, 171, 235 Tepoca(s), 142, 150 Terarequi, 44 Terminology, 124, 125, 210 Terrestrial, 35, 86, 88 Territorial, xxiv, 64, 74, 91, 117, 183–189, 203, 205, 206 Territoriality, 205, 206 Territories, ix, 14, 86, 137, 199 Testimonies, 73, 190, 191, 194, 197–199, 202–204 Thompson Encinas, Roberto, 143 Tiburón, 138, 139, 142, 143, 145, 150 Tiburón basin, 89 Tiburón island, 138, 141, 143, 145, 150, 153, 154, 160, 163–166, 170, 176 Tidal, viii, 2–5, 13, 14, 16, 19, 44, 113, 198, 217 Tide, 1–6, 12, 13, 15, 19, 87, 94, 113–130, 148, 163, 164, 168, 194, 199, 224, 230, 232, 239, 266 Tideland(s), 115, 117, 118, 122, 124, 129 Timber, 213, 227, 229 Tlapanecos, 184 Tlingit, 114 Tohoku, 243, 245, 248, 251 Tohono o’odham, 137, 143, 160, 165, 172 Tokyo, Japan, 83 Tonalá, Chiapas, 72 Topkapi, 81 Topography, 125, 139, 248, 259 Torres, Jezabel, 164 Torres, José Ramón, 166 Torrijos-Carter treaty, 55 Tortoise, 168 Tortuguero comcaac group, 168 Totoaba, 143 Totoaba macdonaldi, see Totoaba Totten Inlet, Washington, 126 Towboats, 223 Townsfolk, 191, 203 Trachinotus paitensis, see Paloma Traditional African vegetables, 151 Traditional commercial, 219 Traditional diet, 151 Traditional dietary pattern, 151 Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), vii, xxi, 130, 248 Traditional fisheries, 63–75 Traditional food systems, 130, 135–176

Traditional governance, 63–75 Traditional knowledge, 69 Traditions, viii, 6, 7, 40, 113, 116, 127, 128, 130, 151, 164, 175, 186, 194, 195, 204, 249 Trailheads, 255, 257 Trajectories, 130, 254 Trammel, 194–199 Transportation, xxvi, 55, 56, 121, 185, 225–227, 229, 251, 253, 254 Trasmallo(s), 202, 206 Trasmallo(s) trasmallo aboyado, 191 Trawl, 195, 206 Trawlers, 92, 191 Tribal, 117, 128, 252 Tribes, 25, 114, 117, 122, 129 Trochus niloticus, see Nacred top-shell Tropical, xxv, xxiv, 55–57, 139 Tsukimato, Emy, 121, 122, 124 Tsunami, xx, xi, 211, 243–261 Tuamotu, 81, 90 Tuberculosis, 145 Tugboat, 226, 227, 230 Turban snails, 148 Turtle(s), 86, 146–148, 156, 164, 166–172 caps, 67 fishery, 145 hunters, 166 hunting, 145–147, 169, 170 species, 147 Twana, Puget Sound, 114 Twentieth century(ies), 33, 40, 46, 47, 49–51, 89, 120, 137, 168, 174, 176 Tzih, 171 U Undocumented names, 156 Unequal geographies, 183, 184 University of Nebraska, 27, 30 Upanguaymas, 142 Urals, 9, 10 Urban, v, xxv, 14, 15, 186, 204, 227, 254 Ursa major, 157 V Vacation, 121, 207 Valdovinos, Maximiliano, 91 Valenzuela, Viviana, 159, 161, 162, 171 Valuation, 24 Vancouver Island, British Columbia, 5, 13, 16, 118, 125, 244 Vegetables, 150, 151

Index Vegetation, 25, 33, 65, 66, 156, 159–161, 163, 170, 184 Veracruz, 65, 71 Verbena lasiostachys, see Western vervain Victorian, 2, 15 Villa de Seris, 141 Violence, xxvi, 46, 122, 136, 183, 185 Visitador, 88 Vitamin, 114, 144, 151 Vives, Gastón, 82, 83, 91, 92, 94 Vizcaino, Sebastián, 86, 87 Vulnerability, xx, viii, 11, 68, 174, 210, 214–217, 231, 238, 249, 251, 260 Vulnerable, 24, 64, 80, 90, 99, 107, 127, 252, 254 Vultures, 150 W Wellbeing, xi, vii, 80, 91, 108, 130, 135, 218, 233, 243, 246 West coast, 3, 29, 39, 91, 114, 116, 117, 120, 126, 214, 216, 218, 232, 246 Western vervain, 32, 33 White shrimp, 95 Wild harvested seafood, 223, 237 Willapa Bay, Washington, 124 Willapa Harbor, Washington, 121 Williams, Raymond, 183 Winchester Bay, Oregon, 228, 229 Winter, xxii, 6, 8, 9, 25, 88, 120, 146, 227, 235, 266–270, 272 Women, xi, 1, 8, 41, 74, 81, 106, 115, 117, 123, 124, 143, 145, 150, 159, 170, 171, 192, 193, 214, 218, 233, 235, 267 Wood, 41, 47, 81, 207, 229, 245 Wooden boat, 68, 188, 194 canoes, 69 cayucos, 69 scows, 118, 123 sticks, 171

297 Workers, 46, 53, 57, 68, 91, 93, 119, 122, 143, 189, 191, 210, 213, 215, 225, 228–230, 237, 239 Workforce, 44, 46, 56, 57, 218, 223, 224, 228, 237–239 Workshops, 102, 104, 129, 251, 266 Worms, 15, 16, 18, 19 Wycliffe Bible Translators, 144 X Xaasj, 161, 172 Xactoj, 165 Xalapa, 71 Xana, 166, 167 Xenichthys xanti, see Chula Xepe imac Moosni, 164 Xeric, 64 Ximénez, Fortún, 86 Xpanaams, 169 Y Yaijispoj, 166 Yamagimachi, 121 Yamashita, Jerry, 122 Yaqui, 88, 139, 142, 143 Yellowfin mojarra, 67 Yellowfin snook, 67 Youth, 19, 173, 176, 218 Yule log, 6 Z Zapotec, 64–66 Zenith, 154, 157 Zep iti Yáhitim, 165 Ziipxöl, 168 Ziipxöl Iifa, 168 Zostera marina, see Eelgrass Zozni Cacösxaj, 153, 163, 164

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