A framework for results-based management in fisheries

Kåre Nolde Nielsen (Corresponding Author), Michaela Maria Aschan, Sveinn Agnarsson, Marta Ballesteros, Alan Baudron, Maria de Fátima Borges, Aida Campos, Rosa Chapela, Anna Kristin Daníelsdóttir, Karim Erzini, Olavur Gregersen, Petter Holm, Alessandro Lucchetti, Sveinn Margeirsson, Hugo Mendes, Petter Olsen, Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson, Massimo Virgili, Mafalda Rangel, Antonello SalaJose Luis Santiago, Sigríður Sigurðardóttir, Cristina Silva, Daryl Sykes, Laura Wise, Paul George Fernandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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We present a framework for Results Based Management (RBM) of commercial fisheries. The core idea of RBM is to reduce micro-management by delegating management responsibility to resource users. The RBM framework represents an industrial organization approach to co-management and comprises three defining processes, conducted by three independent “agents”: 1) an “authority” defines specific and measurable and achievable objectives (outcome targets, OTs) for the utilization of fisheries resources, 2) resource user organizations (termed “operators”) take responsibility for achieving these OTs and provide documentation that 3) allows independent “auditors” to evaluate the achievement of OTs. Using incentive mechanisms, notably deregulation, RBM grants operators the flexibility to develop and implement innovative and cost-effective ways to achieve OTs. The feasibility of implementing RBM in five European fisheries was investigated in cooperation with relevant stakeholders through artificial planning processes and computer simulations. The operators involved were enthusiastic, and new management plans were drafted based on the framework. These included socio-economic OTs in addition to traditional stock objectives, encompassing an ecosystem approach. Several issues are in need of further research in order to consolidate the approach and prepare the ground for practical implementation, including: the specification of the legal and regulatory framework required to underpin RBM, details of transitional arrangements when shifting towards RBM (including cost-sharing) and the development of necessary organizational capacity for operators. Initially, we therefore envisage the framework being applied to high value single species fisheries, with a limited number of participants, which are adequately represented by a competent organization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-376
Number of pages14
JournalFish and Fisheries
Issue number2
Early online date30 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

We thank the project consortium and remain grateful to the institutions and stakeholders that made this research possible. The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 265401 (the EcoFishMan project). This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the and neither the European Union nor Marine Scotland can be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. We are indebted to Poul Degnbol and two anonymous reviewers for detailed and very constructive feedback and to Melania Borit for contributing to the design of figure 1.


  • Burden of proof
  • co-management
  • Common Fisheries Policy
  • results based management
  • the EcoFishMan project


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