Human Ecology

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 547-558

First online:

At the Sea’s Edge: Elders and Children in the Littorals of Barbados and the Bahamas

  • Brent W. StoffleAffiliated withSoutheast Fisheries Science Center, Miami Facility, NOAA, NMFS
  • , Richard W. StoffleAffiliated withThe University of Arizona Email author 

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Littorals in the in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas and the Bath Plantation, Barbados are comparative in many ways. These edges of the sea have provided critical services to local people during the time of slavery and since. More than food and medicine, the littoral is the nightly sea bath, where children are instructed, and the last ecosystem effectively used by the elderly. Independence and self-respect derive from use and protection of these littoral by individuals and communities. Local patterns of conservation and use are argued to be essential in the ecological structure and functions of the littoral. Development projects and marine protected areas alike are seen as potentially breaking local ties with the littoral causing trophic skew and damaging local society. If development occurs, mitigation solutions potentially derive from legally recognizing local people as partners in the co-management of their traditional littoral.

Key words

Marine protected areas social impact assessment traditional coastal communities co-adaptation environmental conservation