Conservation incentives and collective choices in cooperative fisheries

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Cooperatives are increasingly proposed as solutions for sustainable fisheries management. While individual case studies and economic theory suggest that cooperatives may manage fisheries effectively under some conditions, there is little empirical evidence comparing the actions of cooperative fisheries across a diverse set of environments. This study applies a standardized survey method to collect data from a set of cooperatively managed fisheries from around the globe, documenting their social, economic, and ecological settings as well as the cooperative behaviors in which they engage and the role they play in conservation. The resulting database covers 67 cooperatives from the major oceanic regions of the world, providing a unique overview of the global diversity of fishery cooperatives. It enables empirical analysis of the links between the characteristics and contexts of fisheries, such as the development status of the host nation, fisheries management practices, and species characteristics, and the collective actions taken by fishery cooperatives. The evidence shows that cooperatives form in a variety of development and governance contexts, and in diverse kinds of fisheries. Fishery cooperatives often take actions directed toward coordinating harvest activities, adopting and enforcing restrictions on fishing methods and effort, and taking direct conservation actions such as establishment of private marine protected areas. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Marine Policy