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Environmental stewardship as a new form of fisheries governance

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tim Gray, Jenny Hatchard



Environmental stewardship is a form of governance that reflects the rising tide of influence on fisheries management exerted by environmental principles such as marine protected areas, the ecosystem-based approach, and the precautionary approach. First, we assess the extent to which environmental stewardship has moved beyond the level of rhetoric, whereby regulators pay lip service to such principles, and has reached such a level of power that environmental priorities hold sway over the decision-making process. In other words, we consider how far environmental stewardship has infiltrated the political system by constructing a powerful network of governance, including what is known in the international environmental politics literature as an "epistemic community". Second, we establish the foundational conception on which this environmental stewardship rests: is it nature conservation or is it sustainable development? Elements of both conceptions are found in most of the sources of the environmental stewardship mode of fisheries governance (though in differing proportions), but there is a threat to the fishing industry if the nature conservation conception becomes dominant. The best strategy for industry is to embrace the sustainable development conception of environmental stewardship and to demonstrate that the objectives of the nature conservation conception can and must be accommodated within the over-arching conception of sustainable development. Otherwise, industry could find itself increasingly marginalized in fisheries decision-making by a top-down imposition of nature conservationist environmental stewardship imperatives.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gray TS, Hatchard JL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ICES Journal of Marine Science

Year: 2007

Volume: 64

Issue: 4

Pages: 786-792

ISSN (print): 1054-3139

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9289


DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsl041


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