The Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, in collaboration with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), released a new report entitled Fisheries Co-Management in the United States: Incentives, Not Legal Changes, Key, which finds that legal or regulatory barriers to the co-management of fisheries are largely non-existent or easily navigated where stakeholder support exists. Co-management is a process in which both regulators and stakeholders share responsibility for managing a fishery. It can result in more sustainable fisheries by providing participants in the fishery with a stake in its long-term health and by reducing antagonisms between regulators and participants. It can also lead to better informed and more flexible management. The paper reviews the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as well as other federal laws and regulations to identify whether they could pose problems for co-management of fisheries, concluding that these laws present no serious barriers. Building on a comparative analysis of fisheries in New Zealand and Canada, the paper shows that co-management develops when stakeholders are encouraged to participate through a bottom-up process.
Clinic student Lucia Bizikova contributed to the research, analysis, and preparation of this paper under the supervision of Senior Clinical Instructor Shaun Goho.