Harbour resource management in Cowes, Isle of Wight: An analytical framework for multiple-use decision-making

N.A. Steins*, V.M. Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The management of common-pool resources (CPRs) has gained increased attention in the debate about sustainable environmental management. Research on CPR management has mainly concentrated on single-use resources. Since CPRs develop over time to include new extractive and non-extractive users, a multiple-use perspective on their governance is needed. In 'multiple-use CPRs' co-ordination and monitoring of the various activities is an integral part of resource management; decision-making processes play a key role in this collective management. This paper develops a heuristic framework for the analysis of decision-making processes in multiple-use CPRs. The framework is based on a case study of three selected harbour uses in the port of Cowes (UK): (1) the oyster fishery; (2) the yachting industry; and (3) cargo shipping, and draws heavily on an analytical framework for single-use CPRs developed by Oakerson. The Oakerson Framework has been re-developed by adapting it to 'vertical' and 'horizontal' multi-level analysis, including 'multiple-levels of decision-making arrangements' and 'multiple users', as integral variables. The paper also examines the extent to which user groups can influence the management of a multiple-use CPR as a whole. In cases where such governance remains with an 'umbrella authority', the users' ability to influence decisions by the umbrella organization is strongly related to the historical, socio-economic and organizational characteristics of the specific resource use and on the users' strength at the organizational level. While the presence of an umbrella authority may facilitate CPR management, under-representation of specific user groups in decision-making may serve as a catalyst for institutional change for that particular use, in an attempt to find other means of control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-81
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Common-pool resources
  • Decision-making
  • Harbour management
  • Institutional analysis
  • Oakerson Framework

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Harbour resource management in Cowes, Isle of Wight: An analytical framework for multiple-use decision-making'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this