This study aims to unify phenomena in academic and grey literature into a theory of marine spatial disappropriation based on geopolitical relationships. It is argued that conflict over marine space arises as a result of top-down sovereign control of marine resources, and that the recognition of marine tenure and greater inclusivity in marine development* decision-making would lessen conflict between users, such as artisanal fishermen and ecotourism businesses.Design/methodology/approachA preliminary literature review was conducted, followed by a research study at Cabo Pulmo National Park (CPNP) in Baja California Sur, Mexico.FindingsThe results demonstrate that though CPNP's tenure structure is unique and inclusivity is an element of its management, the degree to which it is practiced is not sufficient to eliminate the chance of eventual disappropriation and ensuing conflict.Practical implicationsThe results of this assessment can be used to strengthen the argument in favour of developing stronger requirements for deliberative democratic decision-making in marine delineation, as well as bolder social performance standards in marine development industries.Originality/valueResearch on socio-environmental revolutions are not new, but the authors contest that they are not alone a sufficient condition for achieving reduced conflict long-term. Instead, the originality of this research lies in its exploration of the importance of customary and formal tenure over marine resources, and its suggestion that this on the whole reduces conflict between exclusive and competing interests. One popular alternative, as demonstrated in numerous cases around the globe, can often be the marginalization of small-scale ocean users through the forceful appropriation of ocean resources.
International Journal of Development Issues – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 25, 2021
Keywords: Collaboration; Community resilience; Spatial planning; Blue grabbing; Law of the sea; Ocean development