A framework for results-based management in fisheries

Kåre Nolde Nielsen*, Michaela Maria Aschan, Sveinn Agnarsson, Marta Ballesteros, Alan Baudron, Maria de Fátima Borges, Aida Campos, Rosa Chapela, Anna Kristín Daníelsdóttir, Karim Erzini, Ólavur Gregersen, Petter Holm, Alessandro Lucchetti, Sveinn Margeirsson, Hugo Vilela Mendes, Petter Olsen, Mafalda Rangel, Antonello Sala, José Luis Santiago, Sigríður SigurðardóttirCristina Silva, Daryl Sykes, Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson, Massimo Virgili, Laura Wise, Paul George Fernandes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We present a framework for results-based management (RBM) of commercial fisheries. The core idea of RBM is to reduce micromanagement 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”: (i) an “authority” defines specific and measurable and achievable objectives (outcome targets, OTs) for the utilization of fisheries resources, (ii) resource user organizations (termed “operators”) take responsibility for achieving these OTs and provide documentation that (iii) 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 socioeconomic OTs in addition to traditional stock objectives, encompassing an ecosystem approach. Several issues are in need of further research 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
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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