Special Collection: Sustainable Fisheries

Coastal Fisheries Success Factors

Policy & Planning

Embrace Complexity

Address Conflicting Aims

Recognise Context

Operate at Multiple Scales

Ensure Institutional Coherence

Ensure Sustainability

Adapt to Changes

Technical Implementation

Establish Rights & Responsibilities

Change Incrementally

Understand Institutional Fit

Incorporate Politics

Address Costs and Benefits

Get Market Measures Right

community engagement

Understand Dependency

Balance Livelihoods

Build Capacity

Engage Fishers

Address Compliance

Ensure Participation

Link Knowledge Systems


Address Compliance

The enforcement of regulations represents a large part of the cost of any management process. This can be very high where fishers must be forced to comply with regulations rather than where they have a commitment to those regulations. Moving from compliance to commitment can be an important step in increasing management’s effectiveness and reducing its cost.

Unless there is commitment to the operation of management measures, there are likely to be difficulties in getting compliance. Rules not only need the legal framework to enforce them and the political will to implement enforcement but also legitimacy in the eyes of the fishers.

Fisheries management works best if there is good cooperation among the fishers, managers and scientists (Hilborn, 2007a), which enables the beginning of a shift from mere compliance with regulation to a sense of commitment to making the fishery work. As Bennett (2005b) noted, when fishers believe a stock needs supporting, they will agree to limit effort. A key part of the move towards effective management must be a move from fishers’ coerced compliance to management regulation towards one where fishers are committed to the success of the management measures. Otherwise, there will be need to spend large amounts of funds and effort to ensure compliance, which is unlikely to be achieved in developing countries that have financial constraints. Understanding what incentivizes fishers is central to that process (Hilborn, 2007a).

Critical Questions

How effective is compliance with existing fisheries management regulations?

What are the causes of non-compliance?

To what extent are policy objectives, legislative frameworks, and management measures seen as fair and legitimate by fishers and by wider society?

To what extent is compliance achieved through enforcement by external agencies, mediation by community-level institutions, or by commitment from fishers?

How can greater levels of commitment to the management process be achieved?