Stakeholder Communication and the Transition to Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management for the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils

Monday, September 9, 2013: 1:00 PM
Fulton (Statehouse Convention Center)
Ingrid S. Biedron , Natural Resources, Cornell University, South Royalton, VT
Barbara A. Knuth , Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Ecosystem-based fisheries management considers the interactions between the physical, biological, and human components of ecosystems.  We focused on how communication between fisheries stakeholders in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions influences the potential for regional fishery management council adoption of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM).  Participants included regional fishery management council members, staff, and Scientific and Statistical Committee members (collectively referred to as council decision makers) and commercial and recreational fishermen and environmental nongovernmental organization leaders (collectively referred to as stakeholders).  We used the concept of “coorientation” to guide collection of quantitative data to characterize communication processes of council decision makers and stakeholders related to EBFM, through a mail survey distributed to 5,600 council decision makers and stakeholders in the two regions.  The Coorientation Model measures the dynamics of the communication exchange and the levels of agreement in values between council decision makers and stakeholders (Chaffee & McLeod, 1968; Connelly & Knuth, 2002; Leong, et al., 2008).  Beliefs about EBFM and measurements of effective communication differed among council decision makers and stakeholders, suggesting opportunities for enhancing inclusiveness and effectiveness of communication and participation strategies.