Navigating Towards Effective Fishery Management: Exploring the Impact of Imbalanced Burdens on Regime Legitimacy
Despite two decades of the Common Fishery Policy (CFP), the fishery politics of the European Union (EU) is considered a failure when it comes to securing fish-stocks. This paper explores reasons to this state of affairs by analysing the views and opinions among those subjected to regulations, namely professional fishermen (in Sweden). Since the capacity of any natural management regime to protect the resources depends on appropriators’ compliance, the prospects of sustainable natural management depends on improved understanding of when and why appropriators consent, and ultimately comply, with a regulative policy. So, when do fishermen comply with a fishery management regime? Instrumental views give a straightforward explanation; when the risk of being caught is considered high (and the potential economic profit of rule-breaking is low). More normative views point at various “qualities of government” such as procedural fairness, distributive justice, trust and legitimacy, but is much less specified in terms of actual explanations to appropriators’ actions. This paper adds a piece to the compliance puzzle by, relying on the model presented by Levi(1997), exploring the importance of 1) imbalanced burdens and 2) trust in authorities. Results confirm the importance of trust in authorities but contradict the idea that experiences of imbalance in burdens have a negative effect on legitimacy. Strikingly enough, fishermen who believe that other governments take greater concern in their fishing-fleets than the Swedish government, value the principles of Swedish fishery politics more.
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