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Long-distance friends promote between-community collective action in fisheries management

Smith, K.M., Pisor, A.C., et al. (2024)

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Long-distance social relationships – connections like friend, business, and family relationships that span community boundaries – can both help and hurt management of natural resources like fisheries: they can foster nepotism that leads to overharvesting, but they coulc help by creating interdependence and even shared systems of governance. Do we see any evidence that they can indeed increase cooperation, promoting fisheries management? In 28 villages on the Tanzanian coast, we find that people were 15% more likely to participate in fisheries management if they had even one long-distance friend. We suggest that initiatives to promote resource management can leverage long-distance relationships to enhance between-community cooperation.