Policy dialogue mechanisms for successful implementation of co-management strategies in Scotland’s inshore fishing sector
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Despite the importance of inshore fisheries to Scotland’s economy there has been lack of coherence between past management policies. Co-management strategies have become increasingly popular due to the theoretical benefits such as devolvement of decision making power to local communities, greater compliance and heightened transparency and accountability. There will be a special consideration of West Coast Inshore Fisheries Groups and Shetland Shellfish Regulation Order. Such programmes instigate the formation of new relationships in contexts Scottish Inshore fishermen have unlikely encountered previously. This research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that promote sustainable co-management strategies, with a particular emphasis on strengthening relationships and challenging existing power struggles. Information is gathered from interviews with individuals at the IFG, SSMO, Scottish Natural Heritage and the North Atlantic Fisheries College and is combined with recent historical data from newspapers and organisational websites. It is found from the research that several barriers exist for the successful implementation of new policies such as lack of government will, funding and data availability restrictions. It can be confidently stated that co-management is the optimum structure for fisheries management in Scotland when the environment, society and economy are working in synchrony. To ensure improvements in the process, governing authorities will be required to research into future funding capabilities or possibly shifting to use a regulating order as in Shetland.