Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Matthew J. Taylor, Ph.D.


Artisanal Fisheries, Latin America, Marine Protected Areas, Nicaragua, Playa Gigante, Tourism Development


In post-revolutionary Nicaragua tourism development has been embraced as a way to inject foreign exchange into an ailing economy. Despite rapid growth of the sector, particularly along Nicaragua's southwestern Pacific coast, little attention has been given to the impacts of this development on local producers. This research focuses on the tourism development taking place in the fishing community of Playa Gigante and its impacts on artisanal fisheries. Additionally, I focus on the struggles over access to marine resources, especially with creation of La Anciana Marine Protected Area (MPA), a marine conservation corridor being pushed forth by the largest resort development in the area. In my findings I show how tourism is beginning shape Playa Gigante's landscape by competing for space and labor with the community's traditional fishing economy. I reveal how La Anciana MPA overlaps with some of the most important fishing grounds that support local subsistence and small-scale commercial activities. The implementation of this MPA, without adequate ecological, economic, and social studies and without the effort to include local producers during the planning stages, could result in the failure of the MPA and a marginalization of the local population and the eradication of Playa Gigante's fishing tradition. I suggest that the Nicaraguan Sandinista government provide protection to local producers and tangible avenues for them to be able to participate in the tourism industry. In addition, I suggest that the tourism industry looks beyond economic benefits and integrate social and cultural dimensions to ensure sustainable development that prioritizes community well-being. Lastly, local fishermen would benefit from forming a cooperative that would give them the political power to negotiate outcomes that are beneficial to them.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Nikolai Alexander Alvarado

File size

83 p.

File format





Geography, Latin American studies, Cultural anthropology