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Do national resources have to be centrally managed? Vested interests and institutional reform in Norwegian fisheries governance

Jentoft, Svein, Mikalsen, Knut H
Maritime studies 2014 v.13 no.1 pp. 5
advocacy, collaborative management, ecosystems, fish, fisheries, fisheries management, governance, humans, stakeholders, Norway
Corporatism -with its privileged access, restricted participation and centralized structures - has a long history in Norwegian fisheries governance. Co-management – understood as a decentralized, bottom-up and more inclusive form of fisheries governance - has not been considered a relevant alternative.. Why does corporatism still prevail in a context where stakeholder status in fisheries governance globally – both in principle and practice - has been awarded environmental organizations, municipal authorities and even consumer advocacy groups? Why then have alternatives to the corporatist system of centralized consultation and state governance never been seriously considered in Norway, in spite of the growing emphasis on fish as a public resource and fisheries management as human intervention in geographically confined and complex ecosystems? We suggest that this may have to do with the fundamental assumptions behind Norwegian fisheries governance that since fish is a national resource, it must be centrally managed. We argue that this is an assumption that may be contested.