User participation in fisheries management: lessons drawn from international experiences
This paper summarizes the findings of two partly overlapping comparative international projects on government-industry interaction in fisheries management in the seven Nordic countries, the USA, Canada, Spain, France and New Zealand. Fisheries management agencies often rely on inputs from user groups in planning, implementation and enforcement of regulatory systems. User involvement in fisheries management is a controversial subject in most of the countries represented here. Too much or too little involvement seem equally problematic. The issue is not so much if and why user groups should be involved, as how, which is basically a political question. User participation is a means through which users are empowered, and there is always a possibility that some will win while others will lose or be left out entirely. However, the question of how user groups should be incorporated in the management process is also a question of institutional design. In this respect, great diversity is demonstrated in our case studies. This suggests that the question of how users should be involved has many possible answers - none of them easy.
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