Cooperation In Marine Governance: The Case Of Eutrophication and Over-Fishing In The Baltic Sea

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Björn HASSLER , School of natural science, technology and environmental studies, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden
Over-fishing and eutrophication caused by agricultural nutrient run-off comprise two of the most severe environmental threats to the ecological integrity of the Baltic Sea, located in Northern Europe. This article takes its theoretical point of departure in Elinor Ostrom’s work on design principles, arguing that a selection of these principles fruitfully can be scaled up to serve as analytical tools at the international level. The principles of conflict resolution mechanisms, nested enterprises and monitoring are adapted to a multi-level governance situation where international conventions, EU directives, national strategies and stakeholder involvement all contribute to setting the stage for collaborative initiatives. Because of the tensions between environmental protection and natural resource use in fishery and agricultural sectors mutually acceptable agreements are especially difficult to reach and thus constitute hard cases in relation to the broader spectrum of marine environmental disturbances. Moreover, collective action problems often emerge among the Baltic Sea States where free-riding is an ever present threat. It is shown that although formal conflict resolutions largely are missing at the regional level, forums for deliberation where broad spectra of stakeholders are invited are slowly emerging as mechanisms to facilitate conflict resolution among countries as well as sector interests and other stakeholders. Furthermore, it is shown that even though different layers of institutions for regulating fisheries and agricultural runoff typically exist at local, national, regional and global scales, nestedness is often incomplete, that is, the intuitional fit between the layers are frequently not fully adequate. Finally, while monitoring is part and parcel of modern environmental management, broader models of integrated monitoring of biophysical as well as social parameters and processes in collaboration with relevant stakeholders are still in their infancy.