The commons tragedy in the North Sea brown shrimp fishery: how horizontal institutional interactions inhibit a self-governance structure

Josien Steenbergen*, Brita K. Trapman, Nathalie A. Steins, Jan Jaap Poos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Self-regulation is now widely regarded as an effective mechanism for collective action aimed at sustainable management of common pool resources. The brown shrimp (Crangon crangon) fishing industry in the Netherlands has been working on the implementation of a self-management strategy since 2007, as part of its ambition to get certified to the Marine Stewardship Council standard. Part of the self-management strategy is the development of a harvest control rule for reducing fishing effort when catches are low. Until recently, these attempts failed. The failure of the initiatives for self-management is examined within Ostrom’s nested framework for understanding institutions for managing resource use. This framework emphasises the importance of strong vertical embeddedness of institutional arrangements for resource (co)management. Our analysis shows that, despite a strong vertical embeddedness, mismatches between different institutional frameworks at the same level (horizontal interaction) affect the performance of self-management at the organizational level. This inhibits the resource users’ collective actions to self-manage their brown shrimp fishery, leading to a potential commons tragedy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2004-2011
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume74
Issue number7
Early online date2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • brown shrimp fisheries
  • fisheries management
  • growth overfishing
  • institutional analysis
  • tragedy of the commons

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