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


Engage Fishers

A key part of working in partnership with fishers in the management process is understanding their motives and preferences. Without this, management assumptions can be well off mark.

In addition to understanding dependency of different groups, it is important to understand what drives fishers to do what they do and how they will react to change. Hilborn (1985, cited in Salas and Gaertner, 2004) suggested that the collapse of many fisheries is due to misunderstanding fishers’ behavior rather than a lack of knowledge of fisheries resources. Understanding what motivates fishers is an important part of deciding how to manage a fishery according to Hilborn (2007a), who also noted (2007a, 286) that “… fishermen respond to regulation in ways that often surprised managers, and managers must understand the motivation and incentives for fishermen to understand how they respond.”

The context in which fishers convert policy measures into actions is subject to a number of influencing factors that can change the course of those actions. These include what their priorities are, their cultural norms and expectations, their perceptions of risk, their relationship with managers and politicians, conflict and cohesion with communities, and beliefs around the sustainability of the resource. In addition, these may differ from those of managers. It is also worth noting that the motivations and preferences of fishers are dynamic and constantly changing in response to their surrounding social and economic environment.

Understanding these different motives is important for ensuring that fisheries management systems accommodate them and work with them.

Critical Questions

What are the motives, incentives and drivers that influence the behavior of fishers, traders and processors?

How do these differ between different stakeholder groups e.g. men, women, the old, young, rich and poor?

How have these been accommodated in fisheries management measures?

How have traditional values and norms, and differing time preferences been catered for?

How are motives and incentives changing with exposure to external forces and how are these catered for?