Rescaling fisheries assessment and management: a generic approach, access rights, change agents, and toolboxes
Small-scale spatially complex fisheries resources present a particular challenge to centralized governmental top-down models of assessment and management. Such processes have an implicit scale and cost that cannot be simply resized to address the complexity, small scale, low unit value, and overwhelming number of these resources. International experience with alternative management systems has produced convergence on a solution to this issue, which involves redesigning the centralized top-down models of data collection, assessment, and management. Central to the solution are governance systems that confer secure exclusive access rights on fishers, so that they have strong incentives to engage in processes of data collection, assessment, and management. I suggest that the next layer of the solution is to recognize the generic nature of the issue and to develop a simpler generic approach that can be locally adapted to each small-scale resource. The generic approach proposed involves (1) the use of barefoot ecologists or change agents trained to work with both the social and biological dimensions of each resource with the aim of creating social capital and empowering local fishers to collect their own data and (2) the design and implementation of simple harvest policies intended to conserve local levels of spawning biomass.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 2010
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