Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Richard Pollnac


The present research aims at examining commercial fishermen’s subjective resilience to management changes in two Southern New England fishing ports. This study also aims at analyzing the relationship between job satisfaction and level of occupational attachment with fishermen’s perceived ability to adapt and cope to change. The two age groups examined were categorized into a younger and older generation by splitting the mean age value of 46.6 to 45 for the older generation. Three hypotheses were developed: 1) Management practices have negatively influenced older fishermen’s perceptions on their ability to adapt to changes, where younger fishers perceive to be more resilient to management changes; 2) Level of resilience varies between fishing gear types. For example, those fishers participating in net fisheries perceive to be less resilient and able to adapt to changes than those fishing dredge gear; and 3) Between port differences may influence the relationships between variables in the first two hypotheses. In order to test these hypotheses, a total of 92 interviews were conducted with fishermen from the ports of Point Judith, Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts. Results of analyses show that there is no difference between age groups on fishermen’s perceived level of resilience. However, results show a positive relationship between age and fishermen’s Perceptions of Risk. Those involved in dredge gear fisheries (scallop, ocean clam/quahog) were shown to be more confident in their ability to adapt and cope to management changes. Results suggest that income and monetary gains play an important role in fishermen’s perception of their ability to adapt and cope with changes. Correlations between levels of job satisfaction components suggest that a decrease in satisfaction with income and financial needs could result in lower levels of perceived ability to adapt and cope with management changes. Results from this study have the potential to contribute to the expansion of knowledge and inspire future research about the adaptability of fishermen for future policy strategies.