Image Database Export Citations


Flipping the Pyramid: Lessons from Converting Top-Down Management of Bleak Row Fisheries

Show full item record

Type: Conference Paper
Author: Rova, Carl
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/208
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
adaptive systems
Abstract: "The fishing of vendace (Coregonus albula), in the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, is a good illustration of the presumption that institutional arrangements that are too inflexible to cope with changing ecological conditions are unlikely to prosper. Since the beginning of the 1960s, the trawl fishery for vendace has been top-down regulated by the state and, in the beginning of the 1990s, the catches started to decrease dramatically; there was a considerable fear among state authorities that the vendace resource was about to be depleted. This happened despite extensive state regulation and despite the fact that the resource is nonmigratory and concentrated in a rather limited area. The regulations were designed in such a way that it encouraged catch-maximizing behaviour among the fishermen during the bleakroe season; thus, all the prerequisites of a CPR dilemma were present. The vendace case illustrates that also a rather limited resource concentrated in a limited area might be difficult to manage in a sustainable way by top-down regulation performed by the State. If a resource, like the vendace, that is subject to human activity loses its resilience this would automatically indicate the socio-economic system, as manifested in management practices, has already lost its ability to adapt. "As a response to the poor performance of the fishery officials at the National Board of Fisheries considered different strategies to achieve a sustainable fishery in year 2000. Before the fishery started in 2000; a co-management system, with sharing of power and responsibility between the National Board of Fisheries and the trawl fishermen, was implemented. An extensive survey among almost all trawl- fishers shows that after three years of comanagement a change in the individual behaviour has occurred; fishermen have redirected their individual catch-maximizing strategies towards long-term collective rationality. With regulations implemented through bottom-up instead of top- down processes, the legitimacy for regulations has also increased considerably. At the same time, the management system has become more adaptive with responsible users who react to changes in the ecosystem, and the catches have increased extensively since co-management was implemented. The resource has recovered and the catch statistic for 2003 is almost as high as the record years in the 1980s. This paper explains how this flip in management system have affected the incentives for individual fishermen and how this change affects collective action and, thus, the long-term ecological survival of the vendace resource."

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
Rova_Flipping_040511_Paper189.pdf 334.9Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following document type(s)

Show full item record