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Inshore fisheries management across the UK is varied. For example, England’s ‘Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities’ (IFCAs) retain significant statutory and legislative power in the control of their resources, while Scotland’s ‘Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups’ (RIFGs) retain only marginal advisory positions under Marine Scotland.
This research addresses such imbalances by aligning with fisheries management aspirations to ground decision making at local levels. The project explores a new approach to managing fisheries which looks beyond grouping UK ports by regional affiliations; instead grouping ports according to catch composition and management actions.
UK shellfisheries comprise smaller local inshore vessels (operating typically within six nautical miles) and offshore trawl or dredge activities, undertaken by larger (sometimes nomadic) fleets. Most shellfish species are not currently subject to a quota-system, but changes are anticipated as local engagement with research into spatial stock-structure will likely inform future quota management and the scales at which it may be applied. Using network-analysis tools, defining ‘actors’ as ports and ‘events’ as landing episodes, this research investigates the contribution a network approach can make to UK fisheries management.
This project aims to consider how fisheries management (and future governance) might benefit if networks of landing-portfolios were to drive future fisheries dialogue in terms of governance. Most specifically, the research addresses the question: What characterises the network of UK shellfish landing events and how might this inform fisheries governance?
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