Following in the Kiwi’s Footsteps

Europe’s move to implement an ecosystem approach to fisheries management could benefit from adopting practices used in New Zealand for strengthening industry involvement.

This is the key conclusion from a scientific paper by Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association Chief Scientist, Dr Steven Mackinson, and David Middleton, Chief Executive Officer of Trident Systems – an industry limited partnership providing research services to New Zealand’s fisheries.

Published in Marine Policy, the paper describes how processes and be­hav­iours from New Zealand could al­le­vi­ate European bot­tle­necks related to in­ad­e­quate gov­er­nance and barriers to involving stakeholders in the ac­qui­si­tion and ap­pli­ca­tion of rel­e­vant knowl­edge.

“The short path­ways, fewer peo­ple and sim­plic­ity of a uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion-mak­ing process make New Zealand a good place to learn about the in­clu­sive gov­er­nance of fish­eries,” says Dr Mackinson.

“For example, there is still considerable scope in Europe for making much greater use of research knowledge from industry and science-industry partnerships.”

Other specific ways where Europe could learn from New Zealand are having better defined ‘rules of engagement’ and a shared vision between fishermen and governments of fishery management goals and how to achieve them.

The authors state: “These elements share several vital hallmarks, which provide clues to their success: they are open and transparent; they provide conditions for industry innovation and initiative; they create and promote participation in ways that empower stakeholders, and foster responsibility and buy-in.“

Figure. How inclusivity issues and their consequences impact the gathering and use of evidence in management, causing bottlenecks in the implementation of EAFM.

Mackinson, S and Middleton, D. 2018. Evolving the ecosystem approach in European fisheries: Transferable lessons from New Zealand’s experience in strengthening stakeholder involvement. Marine Policy Volume 90, April 2018, Pages 194-202.