Livelihood Strategies and Lifestyle Choices of Fishers along the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Harrison, Sarah A.
AdvisorJackson, Donald C.
CommitteeDibble, Eric D.
Miranda, Leandro E.
This study was initiated to assess the biological, ecological and sociological aspects of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, fishery associated with the Pascagoula River Estuary in southern Mississippi. Household surveys were conducted in the cities of Moss Point and Pascagoula, Mississippi, September 2010 to September 2011, to identify, describe and classify subsistence fishing activities associated with the estuary. A stock assessment of blue crab was conducted to determine how biological and environmental variability affect the people engaged in this subsistence fishery. The study revealed two types of subsistence fishing occurring in the Moss Point/Pascagoula area. The first type involves fishing as a livelihood strategy based on economic dependence, and the second type involves fishing as a lifestyle choice based on economic independence. Both are based on customary and traditional patterns of local resource use and consumption and maintained by reciprocal kinship-based social networks. The blue crab fishery in the Pascagoula River Estuary was highly variable and exhibited strong seasonal and spatial patterns in distribution and abundance. Subsistence fishers in the region have developed strategies to cope with this biological and environmental variability. These region-specific strategies include but are not limited to: fishing using multiple gears simultaneously (rod and reel and crab nets), freezing fish, relying on other natural resources including agriculture and wildlife, and generalized reciprocity.