Institutional structures and fisheries

Information for Whitebaiters SignIntegrating fisheries into broader freshwater, marine and coastal resource management has been problematic in most countries.  The development of appropriate structures for co-management and cross-sector, cross-boundary integrative management has been espoused as the key to sustainable management.

This longterm project explores the design and operation of such multi-stakeholder platforms, evaluates their effectiveness and seeks transferable principles that enable effective development of collaborative multi-stakeholder platforms for integrated governance of marine and freshwater commons.  Of particular significance in the New Zealand context are: the multi-cultural, multi-rights context; the interactions between fisheries, aquaculture, and other users of space and water; the diverse nature of New Zealand’s fisheries, which include traditional production fisheries and significant recreational, tourism and indigenous fisheries; and, the significant international regimes that influence New Zealand’s fisheries interests.

Current specific project foci

Governance in the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO)

Key researchers - Mauricio Galvez (MSc candidate), Dr Ton Buhrs , Dr Hamish Rennie

The purpose of this research is to assess the potential of the SPRFMO against theories and models of common property (especially fisheries) governance and to indicate the types of mechanisms that might be of particular value to SPRFMO to develop. In doing so, the contention is that too much attention has been paid to the end stages of the policy process (outcomes) in the field of fisheries and too little to refining the principles that underlie sound decision-making in the face of often difficult choices for wicked problems. Three distinct but interconnected levels of governance in the SPRFMO are being investigated: the first dealing with day-to-day issues of management; the second concerned with institutional arrangements; the third focusing on the construction of images, values, principles and criteria to guide fisheries policy-making along a consistent path, which in turn should feed the entire governance system.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Rights-Based Approaches to Fisheries Management

Key researchers – Dr  Hamish Rennie (Lincoln University), Leith Duncan (Waikato University), Jill Thomson (Eclectic Energy), Dr  (Lincoln Univeristy), and Dr Bob Ditton (Texas A&M University).

The research involves examining the consequences of the implementation of the quota management system on communities and people.  Among findings to date are the varied response of different communities to the QMS, the differentiated movement of former commercial fishers into the tourist charter boat sector, and the return of women to the home to aid in management of the paperwork associated with the QMS. Current research explores the impact of the QMS fishing communities in the Hauraki Gulf and on the development of aquaculture.

Assessing the effectiveness of multi-stakeholder platforms for integrated and sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture with those for other resource users.

Key researchers – Dr Hamish Rennie , Dr Ken Hughey , Dr Geoff Kerr , (all Lincoln University), Jill Thomson (Eclectic Energy)

The research is currently focused on assessing tools developed to improve co-management institutional design. These are being tested by assessing institutional arrangements that have been established to integrate fisheries knowledge and management with other resource management fields.  Findings of the Public Perceptions of the New Zealand Environment project suggest that fisheries management in New Zealand is not perceived by the public to have been successful despite the theoretical effectiveness of the QMS. Few fisheries stakeholders structures are appropriately set up to meet criteria for sustainable co-management regimes or the devolution of fisheries management responsibilities. The latter is also stymied by legislative constraints.


Page last updated on: 08/11/2013