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


Establish Rights and Responsibilities

Across the range of fisheries management approaches rights are playing a more and more central role in what is done. There is a growing move towards greater and more sophisticated approaches to rights that combine fisheries and human rights. This is a first step towards connecting fisheries to the wider well-being of coastal communities (Charles, 2011). While fisheries rights can take many forms, there seems to be growing support for community-based rights in small-scale fisheries. Recognition of this linkage between community-based systems and welfare of communities is gaining momentum (e.g. Copes and Charles, 2004) but lacks supporting data, particularly on the multiplier effects across communities.

The need for controls in fisheries and the recognition of the finite and exhaustible nature of fish has encouraged a stronger focus on rights around fishing. This has been closely linked to two key problems associated with common property resources, namely that: i) exclusion or control of access is difficult and ii) each fisher’s activity subtracts from the potential gains of other users (Berke, 2006). There is now widespread acceptance among fisheries academics and managers that some form of rights in fisheries is essential to the success of fisheries management. Increasingly fishing rights are also being placed in the wider framework of human rights (FAO, 2010).

Critical Questions

What role do individual and group users’ rights and responsibilities play in the fishery?

How were they established and how legitimate are they regarded by different stakeholders, do they mesh with traditional systems, who has benefitted and why were they selected?

How have the poorer and more marginalized groups of participants (especially women) been included in this process?

How are rights and responsibilities enforced and monitored?
How are these linked to other forms of human rights?