Re-defining co-management to facilitate small-scale fisheries reform: An illustration from northwest Mexico
Small-scale fisheries face a suite of multi-level challenges, making the reliance on centralized governance approaches and self-governance alone unlikely to lead to long enduring solutions. Although co-management has been long proposed as a promising institutional arrangement, co-management can take many forms; thus, not any type of co-management will be effective for the suite of challenges facing small-scale fisheries today. This paper argues for moving beyond traditional conceptualizations of co-management, to ׳multi‐level co‐management,׳ in order to explicitly emphasize the principles of power devolution based on subsidiarity, cooperative partnerships, democratic participatory involvement, polycentricity, and governance networks. The experience of Northwest Mexico is used to illustrate the potential, opportunities, and barriers in achieving multi-level co-management in an effort to contribute to the constructive dialogue developing around the world, and in the region, on small-scale fisheries governance reform.
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