Comanagement en kreeft. Strijden tegen tragedies langs de kust van Maine
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A case study based on literature was conducted on the lobster fishery in Maine in order to analyze the effectiveness of the co-management institution in avoiding both a tragedy of the commons and a tragedy of the public domain. The typology of co-management arrangements as constructed by Sen and Raakjaer Nielsen was used for interpreting the institution. Ostrom’s design principles were used to interpret its strengths and weaknesses. Around 1870 there occurred a tragedy of the commons as introduced by Garett Hardin; the resource was overexploited since there was no regulation to constrain the fishing efforts and the fishermen did not communicate. During the following period of public stewardship from 1870 until 1995 two tragedies of the public domain as identified by Oran Young occurred. During the first tragedy there was corruption due to heavy lobbying and gridlock regarding the minimum size limits of the lobsters resulting in unhelpful compromises. In addition, the limits were constantly heavily violated and the lobster stock decreased dramatically. During the period from 1930 until 1977 a double gauge law was installed which was very successful in protecting the lobster stock, and the fisherman took on a conservation ethic. As a consequence, the lobster stock started rising again. Then in 1977 the federal government started to interfere which led to institutional arthritis and gridlock on the subject of the double gauge law that needed to be abolished because it was unique to Maine. Furthermore, the discussion about the minimum size limit was reinitiated and there could not be reached consensus about a trap limit. On both subjects gridlock occurred. In 1995 a co-management institution was established, which has indeed been able to end the gridlock regarding the trap limit by installing a referendum process. That process has ended the corruption as well, and a consultative type of co-management broke through the institutional arthritis. Nevertheless, gridlock and arthritis seem to be occurring again because of certain fishermen defending the status quo. In addition, corruption might be occurring because of heavy lobbying at the federal level. The commons-tragedy has been avoided, but even though it is too early to declare a co-management tragedy, it can be stated with certainty that co-management is not entirely able to avoid the public tragedy.