Leaning on user-groups: The role of civil society in fisheries governance

Leaning on user-groups: The role of civil society in fisheries governance Fisheries have long been managed through public–private partnerships based on collaboration between government and user-groups. The alleged benefits of involving the latter—as representatives of civil society—are a management system that is more flexible and legitimate than one based exclusively on top–down command and control. A question that is rarely addressed is whether civil society is up to the task. Are voluntary associations fit—‘technically’ and ‘democratically’—to take on management responsibilities? Assessing the pros and cons of involving civil society in fisheries governance requires a closer look at the role of user-groups in public policy-making. This paper attempts to do that by examining certain aspects of the Norwegian system of fisheries management, focusing—in particular—on the role of its most prominent civil society player: the Norwegian Fishers’ Association. The association has long been a privileged partner, virtually monopolizing the attention and goodwill of government. How has this been justified, and does it still serve its original purpose? As the fishery has changed, so—we contend—has the association: from something akin to a public interest group into what is essentially a ‘trade union’ pursuing the economic interests of its most powerful members. How and why did this change—in goals and priorities—come about, and is it tenable that this particular partnership continues? What lessons, if any, can be drawn from the Norwegian case about the pros and cons of user involvement, interactive governance and the role of civil society in fisheries management? http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Marine Policy Elsevier

Leaning on user-groups: The role of civil society in fisheries governance

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0308-597X
eISSN
1872-9460
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.marpol.2006.07.001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Fisheries have long been managed through public–private partnerships based on collaboration between government and user-groups. The alleged benefits of involving the latter—as representatives of civil society—are a management system that is more flexible and legitimate than one based exclusively on top–down command and control. A question that is rarely addressed is whether civil society is up to the task. Are voluntary associations fit—‘technically’ and ‘democratically’—to take on management responsibilities? Assessing the pros and cons of involving civil society in fisheries governance requires a closer look at the role of user-groups in public policy-making. This paper attempts to do that by examining certain aspects of the Norwegian system of fisheries management, focusing—in particular—on the role of its most prominent civil society player: the Norwegian Fishers’ Association. The association has long been a privileged partner, virtually monopolizing the attention and goodwill of government. How has this been justified, and does it still serve its original purpose? As the fishery has changed, so—we contend—has the association: from something akin to a public interest group into what is essentially a ‘trade union’ pursuing the economic interests of its most powerful members. How and why did this change—in goals and priorities—come about, and is it tenable that this particular partnership continues? What lessons, if any, can be drawn from the Norwegian case about the pros and cons of user involvement, interactive governance and the role of civil society in fisheries management?

Journal

Marine PolicyElsevier

Published: Mar 1, 2007

References

  • Limits to participation? On the history, structure and reform of Norwegian fisheries management
    Mikalsen, K.H.; Jentoft, S.
  • Making civil society work, promoting democratic development: what can states and donors do?
    Hadenius, A.; Uggla, F.

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