The Future of Partnerships for a Common Purpose: Cooperative Fisheries Research and Management
Troy W. Hartley and Alesia N. Read
The Partnerships for a Common Purpose: Cooperative Fisheries Research and Management symposium was one step in a longer process of reviewing, analyzing, and discussing the rapidly evolving and expanding phenomenon of cooperative fisheries research and management. Fisheries are at a crossroads in America and worldwide. Calls for change have come from major national reviews (e.g., Pew Commission and U.S. Ocean Commission), and there exists a broader recognition among industry, scientists, managers, and other fisheries stakeholders that, in spite of progress on some fronts, we can do better.
The models and tools of comanagement have expanded and today include multinational commissions, maturing regional councils, new sector and area management initiatives, and communitybased management programs. Most of these cooperative initiatives have emerged from tremendous conflict and contention. Change is not easy, and there will be more tension in the future of fisheries research and management. Further, the explosion of cooperative fisheries research throughout the United States and Canada, but particularly profuse in the northeast Atlantic, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska, might be attributable, in part, to the discord and dysfunction of federal fisheries management in the 1980s and into the 1990s. However, today, there is a growing expectation that for us to do better, for us to more fully understand the ocean and marine environment and successfully study and manage marine ecosystems, we must work together. No single stakeholder can do it alone. Fishermen, scientists, managers, and other stakeholders must find ways to integrate what they know, design and conduct research together, and manage the resources together for the betterment of all stakeholders, the general public, and our children.