Community Collaboration

Community Based Fisheries Management:

Local Fishermen’s Solutions for Current and Future Generations

The problem: Coastal communities are in trouble. Traditional fishery mismanagement is causing the exhaustion of fish populations, decreased biological diversity, corporate consolidation of fisheries, and loss of communities’ histories, cultures, and ways of life. Despite two decades of strengthened federal laws and focused management actions, commercial fisheries populations have not recovered from the collapse of the 1980s. A regime change in the approach to fisheries management is needed.

The solution: Community Based Management is problem-solving that engages all relevant stakeholders in decision-making from start to finish. The goal is to provide healthy fisheries for many generations to come. Community Based Management is characterized by its ecological sustainability and social equity, and meets certain pre-requisites for success.

In 2005, over 200 participants from Maine to North Carolina came together to develop a Fleet Vision for the future of fisheries in the northwest Atlantic. From fishermen to scientists, the participants collaboratively forged the following vision: A diverse, economically viable and environmentally sustainable fleet that is managed through a participatory governance structure.

To continue that work, NAMA is working to reunite the Fleet Vision Participants, as well as build a broad base of support through our Eat Local Seafood campaign through the Fish Locally Collaborative where policy changes, such as local area management, can be achieved that will set the Northwest Atlantic’s’ fishing fleet on the course toward healthy fish populations and vibrant coastal communities.