New study shows that “Co-management holds promise of sustainable fisheries worldwide”

A new study published in the journal “Nature” concludes that many of the world’s fisheries, including small-scale, non-industrialized fisheries, could be sustained using community-based co-management.

“The majority of the world’s fisheries are not–and never will be–managed by strong centralized governments with top-down rules and the means to enforce them,” says Nicolas Gutiérrez, a University of Washington fisheries scientist and lead author of the Nature paper. “Our findings show that many community-based co-managed fisheries around the world are well managed under limited central government structure, provided communities of fishers are proactively engaged.”

The study assembled data on 130 co-managed fisheries in 44 developed and developing countries, with different ecosystems, fishing gears and target species. According to the analysis, effective co-management systems are based on shared responsibility between the government and users, clear community leadership, incentives that give fishers security over the amount they can catch or the area in which they can fish, and the establishment of protected areas.

However, the author adds a note of caution: the success of co-management systems could be threatened by factors outside local control such as foreign or illegal fishing and climate change.

Summary of article on Nature website

News article in Science Daily

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