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


Ensure Participation and Inclusion

A part of generating compliance and commitment is building support for the management process, which requires involving fishers and their communities in the decision-making process. This means bringing in a much wider group than just the fishers because, in most communities, the whole local economy is closely linked to fishing and decisions are likely to have far reaching effects. The quality of that participation is also very important. Extractive participation -- meaning the community is mined for its knowledge and consent -- is likely to be less effective than where participation is more collegial (Campbell and Salagrama, 2001).
Participation of fishers in management decisions and processes that affect their lives and livelihoods is important for several reasons. It generates buy-in and support for the process, it empowers communities, it incorporates local knowledge and experience, and it can reduce costs. Recognizing that communities are not made up of people who all have the same needs and wants is key to effective participation (Bennett, undated).

Andrade and Rhodes (2012) found that compliance is driven primarily by local involvement in the protected areas’ decision-making processes. This is because those decisions are likely to impact upon the livelihoods of people in adjacent communities. Many protected areas around the world have been developed using exclusionary top-down methods and, as such, failed to consider other important issues such as social, cultural and political concerns.

The role of women in decision-making around fisheries management should also not be forgotten (Bennett, 2005a). While women may play a smaller role than men in fish harvesting in most countries, their role in fish processing and trade is vital.

An important element of inclusion often omitted from fisheries management discussions is that of poverty. Where do the poor fit into fisheries management systems? Because of their often marginalized positions, the poor are often excluded from fisheries management systems while fisheries themselves are often poorly addressed in national poverty reduction strategies.

Critical Questions

How can fishers, processors, traders and others be more actively involved in decision-making and policy formulation?

How can the needs of different stakeholder groups (the poor, women, the marginalized, fish processors, traders, money lenders, boat builders, gear repairers etc.) be balanced in fisheries management and policy processes?

How can that participation be made more collaborative and collegial?

How can the effectiveness and fairness of inclusion be monitored?