Salmon Watersheds Program

Local and Regional Strategies for Rebuilding Fisheries Management Institutions in Coastal British Columbia: What Components of Comanagement are Most Critical?


Aboriginal and nonaboriginal fishing-dependent communities on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, having lost traditional fisheries management institutions along with significant fishing opportunity, are in the process of rebuilding local and regional institutions to allow their survival. Sometimes, the rebuilding effort involves the creation of largely new institutions. It can also involve the reactivation, reinvention, or repositioning of older ones. We consider the aspirations, strategies, and activities of organizations in two regions of the coast involved in two different fisheries: salmon on the north coast and intertidal clams in the Broughton Archipelago. We analyze what the two regions have in common, as well as their differences, to generate general predictions and recommendations about what preconditions appear to be necessary for success in rebuilding institutions in communities and regions at these scales and what actions are likely to be most effective, according to a body of literature on self-management and comanagement. In both cases, we found favorable conditions in the communities, the external political arena, and in government to support the rebuilding goals of the organizations working in the two regions. Although both areas would benefit from greater financial resources, the most critical need is for external support in the form of alliances, issue networks, and access to multiple sources of power.