The importance of rebuilding trust in fisheries governance in post-Brexit England

Maximilian Dixon, Gaetano Grilli, Bryce D. Stewart, Rosalind H. Bark, Silvia Ferrini

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Abstract

The sustainable management of common pool resources, like fisheries, relies heavily on trust and reciprocity between managers and stakeholders (fishers). The UK Fisheries Act of 2020 and the Joint Fisheries Statement of 2022 seek to reinvent post-Brexit fisheries governance and the economic and environmental sustainability of the sector. Management of the fisheries sector through Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) is still under development but changes in governance arrangements are likely to significantly impact fishers’ livelihoods. This highlights a need for improved collaboration between fishers and the governing institutions. Using a novel survey design, representatives of the English fisheries sector were surveyed to capture their level of different forms of trust (rational, affinitive, system-based) towards national and regional governing institutions. Overall, low levels of trust were found, although regional institutions (i.e., Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities) were more trusted than national institutions (i.e., Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and Marine Management Organisation). Exploring different forms of trust revealed nuance between the institutions and distinctive regional differences. To build on this, interviews were conducted revealing feelings of apathy and conflict towards the governing institutions rather than inclination towards collaborating. Trust has a role in fostering more resilient fisheries management and fishers discussed the need for sustained institutional efforts to rebuild trust post-Brexit through greater transparency, face-to-face interaction, and meaningful consultation. Our research also reveals that FMPs will need to factor in geographical differences and that current institutions will need to work more collaboratively in order to foster local adaptive management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106034
JournalMarine Policy
Volume161
Early online date29 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

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