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2011-12-01 | Research Brief

What makes them follow the rules: the case of Ostional turtle egg harvesters

Madrigal, Róger. 2012. “What makes them follow the rules: the case of Ostional turtle egg harvesters” EfD Research Brief
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Understanding the reasons why some people are more prone to break the rules than others reveal some of the challenges that local people and policy makers must overcome in order to let local institutions endure.

Community based approaches could become a feasible alternative to regulate turtle egg harvesting and to involve local people in the protection of turtles. However, its success depends on the compliance of rules devised for this purpose. The factors that trigger the motivation to comply over time with these rules might be linked to economic incentives, the perception of rule legitimacy, moral issues and social norms, among other important elements. We analyzed these issues in Ostional National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), located in the pacific coast of Costa Rica, one of the largest olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) nesting beaches in the world. After considerable conflicts between local dwellers and the Costa Rican government, turtle egg harvesting is legally allowed to a community organization. This community organization needs to comply with certain harvesting thresholds monitored by the central government.