Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Sarah Meltzoff

Second Committee Member

Maria Estevanez

Third Committee Member

Juan Agar

Fourth Committee Member

Brent Stoffle


This study is an ethnographic analysis on the effects of the closure of HOVENSA oil refinery on the commercial fishing community on St. Croix, U.S.V.I. It adds to the literature on resilience of fishing communities on how a major corporation can impact a fishery. The study used an ethnographic analysis that included a Rapid Impact and Vulnerability Assessment (RIVA), which evaluated the socio-economic outcomes and consequences of the closure on the fishing community and the fishermen’s livelihood strategies. To assess whether the commercial fishing community will be resilient in the future if the economic decline remains or worsens, social, financial and human capital assets were weighed and evaluated to determine if they promoted or weakened the community’s resilience. The results of the study showed that there are three major outcomes of the closure: a large out-migration, high energy bills, and high unemployment. These outcomes greatly impacted the commercial fishermen and resulted in various livelihood strategies. The commercial fishing community is not resilient as recovery, meaning it will not maintain the existing functioning as it did prior to the closure if the weakened economy persists. It may demonstrate transformational resilience, meaning it will adapt to its new environment. In this way the fishing community may evolve into a consolidated community of innovative fishermen.


fisheries; artisanal; resilience; ethnographic; St. Croix, USVI; HOVENSA