Science in Participatory Governance of the Baltic Fisheries
Conference poster, 2009
In the context of the difficult issue of managing fishing in a sustainable fashion, this study develops strategies to support more efficient and effective management of the Baltic Sea Regional Advisory Councils (BS RAC). Established by the EC as a new governance process in order to include new voices into the decision making process, the BS RAC consists of representatives of the fishing industry, national representatives, and environmental groups. It is charged with providing advice to the Commission in a consensus report based upon data on the status and prognosis for the fisheries, provided by scientists. Both the process of consensus building and the use of scientific advice have been problematic. This study analyses the communication process within the BS RAC through observations and in-depth interviews. Based on identified obstacles and areas of conflict, strategies and methods will be developed which seek to improve conflict solutions among stakeholders, increase understanding, and support an efficient consensus achievement. The strategies include individual conversations to address the perspectives and ideas of RAC participants and develop a common core of understanding, as well as joint fact-finding and the design and implementation of neutral, independent, expertly-mediated dialogues as a pilot program. The successfully tested strategies can be replicated and used to improve the long-term outlook for the Baltic Sea fisheries, as well as serving as a model to ameliorate other conflicted issues of governance of common resources.