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Intersectorality in the governance of inland fisheries

Andrew M Song, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia; WorldFish, Solomon Islands
Shannon D Bower, Carleton University, Canada
Paul Onyango, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Steven J Cooke, Carleton University, Canada
Shehu L Akintola, Lagos State University, Nigeria
Jan Baer, Fisheries Research Station of Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tek B Gurung, Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Kathmandu, Nepal
Missaka Hettiarachchi, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia
Mohammad Mahmudul Islam, Department of Coastal and Marine Fisheries, Sylhet Agricultural University, Bangladesh
Wilson Mhlanga, Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe
Fiona Nunan, International Development Department, University of Birmingham, UK
Pekka Salmi, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Finland
Vipul Singh, University of Delhi, India
Xavier Tezzo, WorldFish, Myanmar; Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Simon J Funge-Smith, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
Prateep K. Nayak, School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, Environmental Change and Governance Group, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Canada
Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada


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One of the defining characteristics of inland fisheries is that they are closely impacted by other essential human activities that rely on the same fresh or brackish water ecosystems, such as hydroelectricity generation and irrigated agriculture. Starting with the premise that an understanding of fisheries' interactions with these external sectors is in itself critical for achieving sustainability of the fisheries, this paper explores the topic of intersectoral governance and outlines an approach to analyzing the intricate and often challenging sector relationships. By drawing on examples of inland fisheries from around the world, the paper proposes four broad discursive mechanisms that can structure the study of the intersectoral dynamics, i.e., system characterization, valuation, power relations, and vertical policy interaction. A synthesis model then demonstrates their interwoven nature, revealing the way each mechanism influences one another as together they shape overall outcomes. It is apparent that analyses often need to be combined to advance more rigorous (and transdisciplinary) science and also inform appropriate courses for the governance of inland fisheries. Given the typically marginal position of fisheries in inland water-use discussions, we call for a more systematic understanding of intersectoral interactions to enhance the sector's resilience within the wider society and subsequently contribute to integrated governance of waterbodies.

Key words

cross-sectoral relationships; inland fisheries; integrative environmental governance; valuation; water-energy-food nexus

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087