Publication Detail

Co-Management at the Eleventh Hour? Participation in the Governance of the New England Groundfish Fishery

Madeleine Hall-Arber
20 pp.
MITSG 08-08J
$5.50 DOM / $7.50 INT

The process that led to the adoption of the latest amendment to the New England Fishery Management Council’s (NEFMC) Multispecies (groundfish) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) provides an excellent case study of the movement from primarily top-down management to a variation on adaptive co-management. The contributions of a policy entrepreneur and institutional leader to their processed are noted as critical. Factors constraining the participation of fishing industry members in the development of groundfish regulations, a brief history of groundfish regulations, and the various combinations of rules offered as options by the Council are reviewed. In response to the harsh criticism and controversy over the degree to which those options would restrict fishing and be likely to devastate communities, the Council offered fishing industry members a last chance to recommend a different combination of management tools – as long as they adhered to the tools that had been discussed at public hearings. Three fishing organizations offered plans that were considered. The Council ultimately selected a plan from the Northeast Seafood Coalition, a broad-based industry group, which emphasizes flexible or adaptive mechanisms and optimism for the future. This case suggests that the negotiation of power and authority is important in the context of management in a complex setting with a diverse constituency, and, equally important, communication and outreach are essential elements for change.

type: Technical reports

Parent Project

Project No.: 2007-A/A-3
Title: Center for Marine Social Services (CMSS)

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