Coastal zone governance and inshore fishing

Coastal zones are subject to an array of different policy and management regimes that often operate in a complex setting of stakeholders. Inshore fisheries both are affected by these policies and play an important role in putting these management regimes into practice. There is a widely acknowledged need to introduce the ecosystem approach in fisheries planning and management in order to comply with EU policies and international conventions. Yet, achieving successful practices is not straightforward and requires an understanding of the different legal, social, economic and political arrangements that exist across different countries and regions and the way in which this affects inshore fishing. The governance of inshore fisheries is more extensively discussed in the GIFS toolkit.

This activity helped to record and understand the different management frameworks and approaches that exist across the Channel and southern North Seaand the way that inshore fishing is incorporated into these. It included an exploration of both top down and bottom up community approaches to management, a dual approach:

Top-down: exploring and describing the features of formal fisheries governance mechanisms and structures that are in place in the different regions. In report phase 1, the Coastal zone governance and inshore fishing activities are discussed: regional and sub-national surveys developed to explore how inshore fisheries in the GIFS partner regions interact with policy-making and key decision-makers at multiple scales of governance (locally, nationally and Europe wide) in terms of integrated marine and coastal governance.

Bottom-up: understanding social and political processes of governance (power, social capital, participation, identity) and the specific fisher- and community engagements that are in place in the different localities. In report phase 2 eight case studies are employed in several European fishing communities, which are integrated in the interactive map, to analyse the role of local fisheries management and key ways in which the existing infrastructures and governance processes engage positively with economic, environmental and socio-cultural sustainability issues.

The research findings of this activity were discussed during the GIFS Stakeholder meeting ‘Understanding the socio-cultural and economic importance of Inshore fisheries in the Channel and the Southern North Sea’.  The workshop on ‘Governance and Inshore Fishing’ addressed 4 key themes, the outcomes are collected in a summary.

Inshore fisheries are too important to ignore, steps towards ensuring the future of Inshore Fisheries are required. The “Inshore fisheries, too important to ignore?” Position Paper covers all research findings of the Coastal zone governance and inshore fishing activity.