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.