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What can be changed in small-scale fisheries governance to foster key sustainability attributes?

As part of her PhD, Alba Aguión has led a study that aims to confront the lack of sustainability in the artisanal sector through adequate governance

24/08/2021 -

The study of Gutiérrez et al. (2011) published in Nature, was fundamental in clarying what is needed to achieve social, economic and ecological sustainability in artisanal and industrial fisheries, by highlighting the cumulative effect of 19 key attributes (such as social cohesion, protected areas, self-enforcement, etc.) as the main drivers. The recent release of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines) by FAO is a step forward to confront the lack of sustainability through adequate governability in the artisanal sector. However, there is an important question to address this issue: What can be changed in the governance system to foster key sustainability attributes?

FOL members Alba Aguión and Elena Ojea, in collaboration with other 8 researchers from the PERCEBES project, have just answered this question in their new study published this month in Ambio. By studying 9 stalked barnacle fisheries across Southwest Europe, a relationship between governance elements and sustainability is provided. Results show that nested spatial scales of management, the access structure, co-management and fisher´s participation in monitoring and surveillance promote sustainability. But it is not the mere presence of these elements but their level of implementation that drives sustainability. Efforts should be placed in the accomplishment of local scales of management, access rights through individual quotas, instructive-consultative co-management and functional participation. Surprassing this threshold in future governance arrangements will start to adequately promote social, economic and ecological sustainability in small-scale fisheries.

Here is the link to our new study!

From here, we thank fishers and managers from France, Spain and Portugal for sharing their expertise with us and making this study possible.

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CATEGORIES: Alba Aguión, Elena Ojea, Future Oceans Lab, Percebes, PhD, Research, Results