PhD Research - Eréndira Aceves Bueno

MS Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, UC San Diego; BS Marine Biology, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Mexico

Eréndira is broadly interested in developing management tools that can help solve and prevent over-exploitation problems in marine ecosystems. Focusing primarily on artisanal fisheries, her research seeks to understand the social and ecological consequences of different spatial management tools to inform policy-making. Under the mentorship of Dr. Steve D. Gaines (chair), Dr. Christopher Costello and Dr. Benjamin Halpern, Eréndira is developing spatial bio-economic models to analyze the role of fish spillover and fishermen cooperation in the design of Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURF’s). Before coming to Bren, she worked for two years at the “Natural History Society Niparajá”, where she collaborated with members of the local community, scientists and local authorities to develop the public use program of Cabo Pulmo National Park and participated in numerous marine conservation efforts within the Baja California peninsula.

Dissertation Abstract:
Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURFs), which assign fishers exclusive access to portions of the coastline, have been shown to be an effective tool for small-scale fisheries management. However assigning spatially explicit property rights in the ocean is challenging for one key reason: fish move. Up until now it was thought that TURF size should match the movement capacity of the species they target in order to be successful. Under this principle, if the size of the TURF is small relative to the scale of fish dispersal, most benefits of actions can be lost to neighboring fishing areas, and the motivation for reforms by TURF owners is reduced or eliminated. My PhD dissertation research challenges this idea, showing that small TURFs can, in fact, perform strongly. I then use bio-economic modeling to explain the apparent discrepancy between existing theory on TURF size and the contradictory empirical evidence. I find that 1) small TURFs with high levels of adult spillover can perform successfully under a wide range of cooperative arrangements between TURFs and 2) the success of small TURFs with high levels of larval spillover can be explained by incorporating age structure and market drivers into theoretical representations of TURFs.

Year Admitted:
Research Areas: Fisheries management, social-ecological systems, marine ecology, marine spatial planning

Faculty Advisor: Steve Gaines

Fellowship awards:

UCMexus Fellowship to obtain the PhD. 2011-Present

Latin American Fisheries Fellowship. 2014-present

Mellon Sawyer research grant. 2014

MSI Dean’s Fellowship award. 2011- 2014

Dr. Daniel Vapnek Scholarship for Sustainable Fisheries Research. 2011