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Leadership, social capital and incentives promote successful fisheries

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This paper details a study of 130 community-based co-management fisheries from 44 countries and outlines the most important characteristics contributing to sustainable management of fisheries. These characteristics are strong leadership, individual or community quotas, social cohesion and protected areas. Secondary conditions are self-reinforcing enforcement mechanisms, long-term management policies and life history of the resources.

The study used 19 variables relating co-management attributes under five categories suggested by Ostrom (2009, General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems. Science). The findings of this study support the hope that a practical form of fishery co-management has the capacity to promote sustainable fisheries. Also supported by the findings is the idea that successful management of fisheries will involve an understanding of social problems relating to the people using the fisheries, in addition to the problems that relate to the ecology of the fisheries.  Further research is encouraged for a more comprehensive understanding of the ecological, economic and social dimensions of fisheries in order to further improve fishery management.