Social-ecological dynamics in a highly regulated fisheries system - Sources of resilience and limits to command-and-control management

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : Stockholm University

Sammanfattning: Sustainable governance of natural resources is challenged by the poor understanding of complex human-nature couplings. Major advancements in resilience theory, acknowledging the importance of social-ecological linkages and the self-organizing capacity of social-ecological systems, provides a new perspective on research in sustainability science. Yet, limitations in methods and data for integrated studies of social-ecological systems limit progress in science and management. This PhD project aims to generate and test specific hypotheses building on social-ecological systems theory using a variety of methods and a long-term, multidimensional empirical dataset of the Baltic Sea social-ecological fisheries system.In paper 1, we ask which factors have impacted change in fisheries patterns in the Baltic Sea over a 15 year period, 1995-2009. We conclude that the responses of fishers are largely driven by top-down management regulations, which has favoured increasing scale of operations and specialization, and that the capacity of fishers to engage in ecosystem stewardship is low. Resilience could be enhanced through an increased focus on governance actions that can stimulate the self-organising capacity of the systemPaper 2 focuses on one particular fishery, whose long-term dynamics have been strongly driven by an ecological regime-shift in the Baltic Sea. High potential profits and weak control has raised suspicions of widespread misreporting in this fishery. By developing a new method for reconstructing catches, we suggest that under-reporting has been significant, and likely driven by high economic incentives created by ill-designed policy. This misreporting risks contributing to a negative feed-back that substantially alters   the management cycle, and thereby constitutes a part of a social-ecological trap in this fishery.The research within this project so far indicates that there are good prospects for using the Baltic Sea as case for integrated social-ecological studies, aiming at informing resilience theory. Some ideas on future direction of the research are outlined. 

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