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Stakeholder participation and sustainable fisheries: an integrative framework for assessing adaptive comanagement processes

Christian Stöhr, Department for Applied IT, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Cecilia Lundholm, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; Centre for Teaching & Learning in the Social Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Education, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Beatrice Crona, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Ilan Chabay, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany; Helmholtz Alliance on Sustainability and Social Compatibility of Future Energy Infrastructure, University of Stuttgart, Germany


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Adaptive comanagement (ACM) has been suggested as the way to successfully achieve sustainable environmental governance. Despite excellent research, the field still suffers from underdeveloped frameworks of causality. To address this issue, we suggest a framework that integrates the structural frame of Plummer and Fitzgibbons’ “adaptive comanagement” with the specific process characteristics of Senecah’s “Trinity of Voice.” The resulting conceptual hybrid is used to guide the comparison of two cases of stakeholder participation in fisheries management—the Swedish Co-management Initiative and the Polish Fisheries Roundtable. We examine how different components of preconditions and the process led to the observed outcomes. The analysis shows that despite the different cultural and ecological contexts, the cases developed similar results. Triggered by a crisis, the participating stakeholders were successful in developing trust and better communication and enhanced learning. This can be traced back to a combination of respected leadership, skilled mediation, and a strong focus on deliberative approaches and the creation of respectful dialogue. We also discuss the difficulties of integrating outcomes of the work of such initiatives into the actual decision-making process. Finally, we specify the lessons learned for the cases and the benefits of applying our integrated framework.

Key words

adaptive comanagement; fisheries; fisheries governance; learning; participation; stakeholder dialogue; Trinity of Voice

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087