Achieving multiple socio-ecological institutional fits: The case of spiny lobster co-management in Wagu, Japan

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This paper analyzes a unique fisheries co-management institution in Japan that has implemented two distinct sets of co-management rules within a single fishing season. The uniqueness stems from the fact that the fishing effort coordination implemented during the first half of the season and the ‘derby’ fishing during the latter half sit at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of cooperative behavior. The paper reveals that this rather complex co-management institution is designed to ‘fit’ the multiple ecological and socio-economic objectives that the fishermen desire to achieve. We broaden the concept of institutional fit a la Young by bringing in the notion of ‘shared understanding’ that the fishermen construct through their daily social interactions negotiating various ecological and socio-economic objectives that they wish to achieve.

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Ecological Economics