Guilds first emerged at the heart of the feudal mode of production, but when this disappeared and they were banned, they had to adapt to new mode of production and now remain an essential part of the small-scale fishing system on the Cantabrian Sea and elsewhere within the Spanish State. Fishing businesses used cooperation mechanisms originating from the old guilds, reconverting them into strategic alliances for market economies. That has been one of the basic reasons for their hyperlongevity, despite the fact that frequently a bleak future had been forecast for them. Many specific demands related to the fishing needs of each port have arisen over such a long period of time and over such a large area. The cofradías, the current version of ancient guilds, have been the tool used to deal with these demands by taking advantage of the potential provided by their flexibility and their possibilities for addressing problems cooperatively in each specific circumstance. Once such a tool had been designed, the small-scale fishing subsector then had a mechanism at its disposal with great potential for addressing countless problems related to the production of goods and services that needed cost and risk distribution among its members. In the case of the most recent alliance variants involving cooperation, cofradías have been associated with other fishing bodies – both public and private – who share similar interests over fish stocks and markets. That is why they retain currently the trust and financial backing of the small-scale fishing sector.
Marine Policy – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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