Vietnamese American Fishers on the Gulf Coast
I am extending my environmental sociological research to a new area by examining the engagement of Vietnamese American fishers with state and federal resource management agencies on the US Gulf Coast. This research is in collaboration with colleagues from Mississippi State University.
Vietnamese Americans are responsible for over 50% of the US Gulf Coast shrimping industry and have endured the recent traumas of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Macondo oil spill. These crises highlighted the vulnerabilities of these minority stakeholders and breaks in engagement of local, state, and federal resource management agencies tasked with engaging and regulating fishing stakeholders. Results of preliminary research suggest that several barriers exist to successful stakeholder involvement including language and cultural differences and a lack of trust between Vietnamese Americans and agency personnel. Working with a team of interdisciplinary social scientists, we are extending this project throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama with a large-scale mixed methods study involving focus groups with fishers, interviews with agencies and community organizations, and a face-to-face survey with fishers. Preliminary research has led to the development of two papers in development for submission. Further research will support extensive potential peer-reviewed publications.