Marine Protected Areas, Small-Scale Commercial Versus Recreational Fishers: Governability Challenges in the Canary Islands, Spain

  • José J. Pascual-Fernández
  • Inés Chinea-Mederos
  • Raquel De la Cruz-Modino
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 13)


Marine protected areas (MPAs) are promoted as an effective model for the management of marine areas worldwide. They are not only a technical management measure but also a social institution that interacts with existing use rights. In the Canary Islands, several marine reserves have already been created, while others have been proposed. Some of the already created protected areas were promoted and supported by small-scale fisher organizations. Newly proposed areas are to be backed by different institutions and small-scale fishers. For small-scale fishers marine reserves have some advantages in terms of co-governance and increased involvement in rule making and surveillance. However, increasingly, other stakeholders like recreational fishers are demanding inclusion in the governing process. It is recreational fishers who are usually the most unsupportive of MPAs and thus pose governability challenges. Involving them, therefore, in discussion about MPAs may help improve governability although it will require institution building on their side. We conclude that MPAs’ inception processes are both a challenge and an opportunity for governability, as they promote new patterns of interactions between stakeholder groups.


MPAs Cofradías Governability Step zero Marine reserves National Parks Recreational fishing Small-scale fisheries El Hierro Tenerife 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • José J. Pascual-Fernández
    • 1
  • Inés Chinea-Mederos
    • 1
  • Raquel De la Cruz-Modino
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Social and Political SciencesUniversidad de La LagunaTenerifeSpain

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