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Fish and Other Animals

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Anderson, E. N.
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/10535/659
Sector: Fisheries
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
environmental policy
Abstract: "Common themes emerge from the stories told by the other papers in this panel. First, local people, whether indigenous or fairly recent arrivals, know their terrain and its ecology exceedingly well, and their knowledge is not only useful but almost certainly necessary in any management scheme. Second, they are under great economic pressure to produce; this often leads to unsustainable production (overfishing, overhunting, overgrazing). Third, intervention by the nation-state can be beneficial if sensitively done in a comanagement context (Pinkerton) but is often counterproductive, being difficult to understand and administer (Alcalá, Cruz Torres; Hedricks related poster) or downright disastrous. This is typically because the state rarely is able to resist the temptation to invoke top-down, command-and-control strategies. This tends to preclude using the knowledge of the people on the ground. A competition between local expertise and 'official' or 'scientific' expertise often develops, limiting the use of either one. Topdown control also risks alienating them even when it stops short of actually dispossessing them. (All our cases involve people secure of their land tenure, but not always secure of their rights to manage their animal resources.) On the other hand, we report some successful plans, basically cases in which the state could develop a satisfactory dialogue with the people on the ground. In such cases, local knowledge can be effectively joined to mainstream biological knowledge. The extreme difficulty of managing animals in today's world guarantees that all stakeholders must cooperate, but also renders cooperation difficult. "These studies fit in a world context, comparing them with experiences in fisheries in Hong Kong and Malaysia, and game and forest management in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Discussion will relate the papers to theory in common property management and political ecology."

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