When stakeholders take the driver's seat: Making EU fisheries management plans "bottom up"
Paper short abstract:
Paper long abstract:
The European Common Fisheries Policy promotes multiannual plans as management instruments to achieve sustainable fisheries. Such plans are typically initiated by EU bureaucrats and are produced with limited involvement by stakeholders. This has generated a sense within the fishing industry that management plans represent "top-down" regulations and they are often met with scepticism by the fishers. This paper reports on a different approach to making management plans. The North Sea Advisory Council and the Pelagic Advisory Council are two EU stakeholder bodies that are currently engaged in producing management plans "bottom up". We use insights from organisation management and science and technology studies to investigate how knowledge is mobilised and shared in interaction between stakeholders, scientists and bureaucrats in these stakeholder-led collaborations aimed at producing fisheries management plans. The informal collaborations established have allowed stakeholders to interact regularly with fisheries scientists on their own terms over several years. Mutual understanding between and within actor groups has evolved. However, the actors have been confronted with the challenge of producing long term management instruments that are adaptive to policy developments and to shifting management priorities. Issues that require negotiations and trade-offs between the stakeholders have been particularly challenging. The findings raises questions around how far it is practically possible to take a non-facilitated "bottom-up" collaborative process aimed at developing management instruments within a setting where there are conflicts of interests between the stakeholders involved.
Stakeholder involvement: An inclusive or exclusive practice?