Collaborative lessons towards marine sustainability: a long-term collective engagement
Collective engagement and inclusiveness have been in growing demand particularly within the context of managing natural resources. Here, a natural and a social scientist report on a case that the two have participated over the past decade, supported by a transdisciplinary evaluation framework. With the aid of a boundary scientist external to the process, analysis focuses on the delivery and update of spatial regulation and fishery management rules in a Marine Protected Area (Marine Park professor Luíz Saldanha) in Arrábida, Portugal, the temporal dynamics in key elements of collaboration and the building up of social, intellectual and political capital in the system. Long-term collective engagement showed that the emergence of key actors and the progression towards an outcome-driven agenda might have the downside to partially demobilize less active members. Further, the increased legitimacy of group action provided by institutional recognition may diminish adaptive capacity and group resilience. Nevertheless, negotiated group proposals to alter the bundles of fishing rights in the system and shaping of boundary objects with relevance to marine sustainability demonstrate that collective action by a community of practice can operate for long periods and deliver more than a compilation of individual wish-lists or noncommittal declarations.
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