Co-management in Europe: Insights from the gooseneck barnacle fishery in Asturias, Spain
In recent years, cooperative management systems have received attention as a means towards sustainable fisheries. Since its inception and for the past 20 years, the gooseneck barnacle fishery in the coast of Asturias has been co-managed by assigning Territorial User Rights to fishers׳ associations, allowing fishers to participate actively in the management and data gathering processes. Here, 20 years of landings, in-depth interviews and focus groups were used to characterize the emergence and social-ecological properties of the system. The system consists of 7 management areas each one some tens of kilometers long. The incorporation of fishers׳ knowledge has successfully led to within-area fragmentation of the management units down to single rocks as small as 3 m long, which are managed according to different protection levels. The system has empowered resource users and provided an opportunity for the use of both scientific information and fishers׳ knowledge to be integrated in management guidelines. Results suggest the adaptive capacity provided by the co-management framework has been essential to manage this heterogeneous fishery. The gooseneck barnacle fishery and its historical developments illustrate the potential for establishing co-management systems for small-scale fisheries in Europe.