There is increasing concern over the consequences of environmental change for people and communities that depend on already fragile marine resources, given the mounting evidence of sustained over-exploitation and climate change impacts on marine systems. In order to explore the potential social resilience of marine-dependent livelihoods to environmental change, interviews with fishers and marine-based tourism operators in the Caribbean island of Anguilla were undertaken, to identify the impacts of hurricane events on marine livelihoods, the perceptions of resource-users and their potential adaptability to future change. For both sectors of resource-users, there is evidence that they have diversified livelihoods to achieve financial security, which may provide resilience to future climate related impacts or resource variability. In addition, specific behavioural changes that have been developed following previous hurricane events, e.g. removal of fish pots during hurricane months, or bringing boats to shore, indicate fishers' flexibility to changing conditions. However, strong personal and cultural attachment to occupations, particularly among fishers, may hinder resilience. Additionally, the reliance of all of these marine resource-users on the climate-dependent tourism industry may undermine their capacity to cope with future environmental change. Many of these problems are common throughout the Caribbean, as thousands of marine-dependent livelihoods are vulnerable to marine degradation and climate change impacts. Urgent attention is therefore required to support the development of adaptive, sustainable management of marine resources that may enhance resilience to environmental change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-212
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Caribbean
  • Environmental change
  • Marine livelihoods
  • Marine resource-use
  • Resilience
  • Vulnerability

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