Learning and Adaptation: The Role of Fisheries Comanagement in Building Resilient Social–Ecological Systems

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter focuses on factors affecting the capacity of co-management to contribute to building resilient social–ecological fishery systems. Drawing on co-management examples from Africa and South America, we show that, while creating co-management and enabling legal frameworks may be relatively easy, the challenge lies in sustaining the institutional initiatives over the long-term. The chapter concludes that key aspects for successful and sustainable co-management include the presence of mechanisms for building learning and adaptive capacity at government and community levels. By reorganizing themselves through co-management, fishing communities have an adaptive mechanism in the face of disturbance to respond to and cope with fisheries crisis. However not all the co-management case-studies we review have shown the capacity to adapt and recover from disturbance, once locally defined customary systems have been eroded. Imposed self-organization through externally-conceived co-management did not allow for learning and adaptation. Institutional rigidity, lack of appropriate management time-frame and insufficient flexibility of management instruments associated with a lack of fisher's participation into co-management systems all characterize the challenges to adaptive capacity in these cases.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Humanities and Information ScienceFederal University of Rio Grande (FURG)Rio GrandeBrazil
  2. 2.Policy, Economics and Social SciencesThe World-Fish CenterPenangMalaysia

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