African Journal of Marine Science

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Current directions in fisheries management policy: A perspective on co-management and its application to South African fisheries

T Hutton, TJ Pitcher


There is much current interest in fisheries management policy which centres around the introduction of rights-based management systems, the devolution of control from central regulatory authorities, and the concept
of co-management. In order to address the complexity of the last of these, key principles of co-management arrangements need to be identified. In the process of establishing these arrangements, rules and rights are redefined and new institutions are created for the management of common pool resources, where exclusion is costly and every resource harvester subtracts value from the harvest of the others. A preliminary analysis of co-management arrangements is presented that postulates the factors most important for their establishment, reference being made to the applicability of co-management in South African fisheries. As with other studies on management of common property resources, it is concluded that the definition of boundaries, both resource and human, are critical to the process. In addition, the rules governing participation and the allocation of costs and benefits need to be mutually agreed upon by all participants, and most importantly well defined, if successful arrangements are to be established.

AJOL African Journals Online