Do Hyun Kim
This case presents a successful partnership between environmentalists and local fishing industry in the California coast. The partnership has proved to be mutually beneficial for both parties and enable to accomplish each of their objectives – preserve fish stocks and livelihoods of fishing industry.
When Government imposed the strict regulations to protect “essential fish habitat” in 1996 and 2006, the fishing industry has struggled to balance between compliance requirements and financial impacts to the industry (Kaufman, 2011). The capability of voluntary compliance was limited due to financial hardships, limited tools and resources available. As a result, government has dictated over the fishing business practices to ensure the compliances to the imposed regulations with the close monitoring. Although its involvement has improved the compliance rate and fish stocks through the quota system, it has failed to establish sustainable business practice for the fishing industry.
As there are growing concerns of scarcity of natural resources and ecological environment in the global community, it is quite understandable that governments actively impose regulations to protect environments including fish stocks. However, the government’s direct intervention has proven to be ineffective and created adverse effects as it has threatened local economy and failed to gain voluntary collaborations from the local fishermen in this case. The role of government should be building an infrastructure with reasonable regulatory environment, but without killing the local economies through direct intervention of business activities.
The mission of the Nature Conservancy is to transform commercial fishing in the region by offering a model of how to keep the industry vital without damaging fish stocks or sensitive areas of ocean floor (Kaufman, 2011). The conservatory has identified the challenges of local fishing industry to be self-sustainable due to limited access to technological tools, strategic management techniques, and capital resources to further develop into sustainable business practices. Its direct involvement through purchasing fishing boats and licenses has created an opportunity to collaborate with the fishing industry and establish a bridge to meet stricter federal regulations. The conservancy has designed and implemented a model that empowers regional fishermen to be more responsible and accountable for their actions in fishing operations while encouraging them to be compliant with the imposed regulations. This empowerment approach has gained active collaboration from the regional fishing industry and it has enabled to establish better conservation practices through them.
The local fishermen are the front line of the fishing industry and they undoubtedly have the most local knowledge of the fish habitats. The conservancy has recognized that these local knowledge bases are valuable resources for the conservation efforts. The collaboration of fishermen has opened the access to the local knowledge bases and enabled to establish informational network through the delivery of information technology and effective data collection. These information networks are found to be valuable database that are shared among the fishermen and the conservancy, which have become a determining factor to transform the fishing industry into sustainable business practices with the conservation in mind.
The case is an excellent example of a local economic development with sustainable business practices. The local economies are critical components of global economy where they are inter-connected and the local economies are optimized when people have the sense of ownership and access to necessary resources to further develop into sustainable business practices. The partnership with the Nature Conservancy along with its empowerment approach has enabled to local economy to prosper and accomplish environmental objective.
Kaufman, L. (2011). Partnership Preserves Livelihoods and Fish Stocks.