Redesign (sustainable fishery)

Full co-management

Full demand-supply coordination

At this stage, as with land-based food systems, the transition to a food sovereignty approach is well underway, or as Levkoe et al (2017) have coined, Fish sovereignty, a concept adapted from the seven principles of Food sovereignty.  The initiatives below are consistent with that approach and build off strategies outlined at the efficiency and substitution stages.

Full co-management

In her work Elinor Ostrom set out 8 key principles for managing a commons, including fisheries:

  1. Define clear group boundaries.
  2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.
  3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.
  4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.
  5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.
  6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.
  7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.
  8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.

These principles have since been used to assess different common pool resource systems, with attendant modifications, although a metanalysis of such studies reveals that factors beyond the 8 design  principles can also contribute to success of the system, including non-coercive  participation of government  (Gari et al., 2017).

As with many redesign stage initiatives, the challenge is to scale up and out lower tier initiatives so that they have a wider collective impact. This last principle is key for the redesign stage because pure self-organization is rarely achievable in this interconnected world. There are many lower level examples of commons management, many of which Ostrom studied, but creating the nested tiers across connected systems if the long term challenge given the absence of structures, processes and policies to bring it to fruition.  In this regard, the role of the state, as shown in some case studies (Gari et al., 2017), can be positive or negative.  When positive, the state can help community self-organization and common pool processes achieve these principles including some of the linkages between nested tiers.  This can occur with investments in community-based processes, financial support and rule changes.  This means, though, that the state is thinking differently about itself and how it acts to advance "re-commonification" (De Schutter et al., 2019).

Giest and Howlett (2013) highlight how a network leader / manager can play a critical role in the middle of this nested system.   Although they understood this idea as running counter to some of Ostrom's principles, it appears to fit will with principle 8.  Along with such a leader, they write of the need for a political capital that fits with the social capital of these common pool systems and helps to ensure that proposals across actors will be adopted. As a network grows and becomes more diverse, it increases its visibility which can then help with political capital and proposal adoption.

A related need in government is policy integration, both vertical and horizontal.  The communication and structural elements have been employed in some jurisdictions but are not currently widely adopted in food system governance (see Goal 7, Structures for regulatory pluralism).

There do not appear to be any current Canadian food system models of these nested approaches in operation.  But the food system as a commons is an emerging theme in some international literature (cf. Vivero Pol et al., 2019). It has also been acknowledged in the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), adopted in 2012 by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). “There are publicly-owned land, fisheries and forests that are collectively used and managed (in some national contexts referred to as commons)”, and  “States should, where applicable, recognize and protect such publicly-owned land, fisheries and forests and their related systems of collective use and management, including in processes of allocation by the State” (guideline 8.3) (De Schutter et al., 2019:382)

Full demand-supply coordination (DSC)

Fish are fully integrated with the DSC mechanisms and processes set out under Goal 2, Demand Supply Coordination, Redesign.  For land-based foods, creating the institutional mechanisms for DSC is possible by adapting some current institutional forms.  For fish, serious consideration must be given to whether fish can be integrated into those mechanisms or whether parallel ones, specific to the fishery, must be created.