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Patterns of fisheries institutional failure and success: Experience from the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery, in Nova Scotia, Canada

By Laura Loucks


This paper examines why market and government institutions failed to prevent over fishing in the Southern Gulf snow crab fishery, whereas non-market institutions succeeded. A general conclusion is that the institutional environment in which economic behaviour must be coordinated for successful fisheries management is complex. More specifically, collective action dilemmas arise from the interdependency of human and fish species interactions. However, successful institutions are capable of resolving these dilemmas when they achieve credible commitment. Coordination mechanisms such as co-management contracts, horizontal patterns of communication and win-win negotiations all contribute to building an institutional arrangement in which participants are motivated to comply with conservation objectives.Fisheries management institutions Economic incentives Co-management Institutional failure Credible commitment

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