Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


This study examines the sociocultural aspects of fishery development in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It is based upon field research conducted through interviews with indigenous fisherfolk, business people, and expatriates. The Marshall Islands were selected because they have a limited economic base, yet have abundant fishery resources which have considerable potential to generate foreign exchange. Many studies focus on the technical aspects of fishery resource development. However, none address the sociocultural factors that influence its success. This thesis demonstrates that several aspects of Marshallese fishing society, some of which correspond to characteristics of the peasantry identified by Rogers (1969), can impede small-scale fisheries development at both individual and institutional levels. Understanding these aspects may help the RMI to more effectively develop its fisheries.