Sustainability Science

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1147–1160 | Cite as

Collaborative lessons towards marine sustainability: a long-term collective engagement

  • Yorgos StratoudakisEmail author
  • Helena Farrall
  • Lia Vasconcelos
Case Report
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Sustainability Transitions, Management, and Governance


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.


Collaborative governance Marine protected area Transdisciplinarity Evaluation framework SW Portugal 



An earlier version of this work was presented to the 2017 European Conference of planning AESOP 2017 (Lisboa, 11-14/7/2017)—Spaces of dialogue for places of dignity: fostering the European dimension of planning. We thank all people that have contributed to collective engagement related to PMLS since the onset of the project MARGov in 2008 and the funding authorities of MARGov (Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Programa Gulbenkian Ambiente and Oceanário de Lisboa) and MAIA (EU, INTERREG: We also want to thank all group members and assistants of the facilitation team that have been part of this long adventure, and the Municipality of Sesimbra for all the logistic support and its, recently and prematurely departed, Mayor Augusto Polvora for his frank collaboration, constructive criticism and inspiring and contaminating energy. YS wants to acknowledge Carlos Costa Monteiro and Miguel Neves dos Santos for their support to initiate research in this thematic area and the project OCTOPARQUE (funded by the Oceanário de Lisboa) for supporting transport costs and related engagement in recent years. LV thanks the Foundation for Sciences and Technology for having partially funded this research through the support to MARE—Strategic Program UID/MAR/04,292/2013. Finally, we want to acknowledge the important contribution of the two referees that helped us to revise considerably the original submission.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IPMALisbonPortugal
  2. 2.LisbonPortugal
  3. 3.MARE (Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre), FCT-NOVACaparicaPortugal

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