Biodiversity conservation & management Environment & Human Development

Co-managing fish leads to better ecological and social outcomes

In a new open-access article led by ICTA-UAB’s PhD candidate Laia d’Armengol and published in Global Environmental Change, we demonstrate that the world’s co-managed small-scale fisheries have done great but could do better. Through a systematic review of academic literature, we examined the context and attributes of co-management initiatives in small-scale fisheries, and their expected outcomes. We found that a supporting legal and institutional framework facilitates the emergence of co-management, because it contributes to clarify and legitimize property rights over fish resources. The data analysis also suggested that co-management delivers both ecological and social benefits: it increases the abundance and habitat of species, fish catches, actors’ participation, and the fishery’s adaptive capacity, as well as it induces processes of social learning. Furthermore, we found that co-management is more effective if artisanal fishers and diverse stakeholders become involved through an adaptive institutional framework. However, not everything was great: co-management initiatives cannot always deal with pre-existing conflicts, challenge power asymmetries and distribute benefits more equitably.

Post photo copyright: Laia d’Armengol.