Nereus Fellow Matilda Petersson (Stockholm Resilience Centre – SRC) is a co-author with Principal Investigator Henrik Österblom (SRC) on a new publication in Marine Policy, entitled ‘Patterns and trends in non-state actor participation in regional fisheries management organizations’. By using a population ecology approach, the authors investigate trends and participation patterns of non-state actors (NSAs), such as industry actors (e.g., private and for-profit interests) and civil society organizations (CSOs) (e.g., public interest actors and non-profits) in the global governance of renewable natural resources.

While member nation states in the five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) hold the decision-making power that can set fishing quotas for highly migratory and straddling fish stocks, it appears that participating NSAs are becoming increasingly influential in shaping global governance of these tuna fish stock. However, NSAs’ influence on the decision-making process is not equal across all participants, something the authors find by empirically investigating over 500 actors that have attended commission meetings for the five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) between 2004 – 2011.

The authors highlight their following findings:

  • There are many NSAs that participate in tuna RFMOs, but there has not been an increasing trend in NSA participation
  • The diversity of NSAs that participate in tuna RFMO commission meetings is quite limited
  • Industry representatives far outnumber civil society organizations (CSOs), with industry repeatedly attending committee meetings and CSOs occasionally attending
  • NSAs from wealthier countries dominate in their participation in RFMO commission meetings
  • Industry representatives participate as a part of member state organizations, with CSOs primarily taking an observational role.

These findings lead to the realization that private industry actors tend to be the most influential NSAs in tuna RFMOs and global governance, with CSOs primarily looking in from the outside. This has implications on access, influence, representation and effectiveness in global environmental governance, and the authors discuss how their findings contribute to these concerns.

The above summary was adapted from the reference below:

Petersson, M.T., Dellmuth, L.M., Merrie, A. and Österblom, H., 2019. Patterns and trends in non-state actor participation in regional fisheries management organizations. Marine Policy, 104, pp.146-156

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