, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 600–613 | Cite as

An Interactive Governance and Fish Chain Approach to Fisheries Rebuilding: A Case Study of the Northern Gulf Cod in Eastern Canada

  • Ahmed Khan
  • Ratana Chuenpagdee


Rebuilding collapsed fisheries is a multifaceted problem, requiring a holistic governance approach rather than technical management fixes. Using the Northern Gulf cod case study in eastern Canada, we illustrate how a “fish chain” framework, drawn from the interactive governance perspective, is particularly helpful in analyzing rebuilding challenges. The analysis demonstrates that factors limiting rebuilding exist along the entire fish chain, i.e., the pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest stages. These challenges are embedded in both the ecological and social systems associated with the Northern Gulf cod fisheries, as well as in the governing systems. A comparative analysis of the pre- and post-collapse of the cod fisheries also reveals governance opportunities in rebuilding, which lie in policy interventions such as integrated and ecosystem-based management, livelihood transitional programs, and cross-scale institutional arrangements. Lessons from the Northern Gulf cod case study, especially the missed opportunities to explore alternative governing options during the transition, are valuable for rebuilding other collapsed fisheries.


Northern Gulf cod Wicked problems Fisheries rebuilding Fish chain Interactive governance Canada 



Funding for this research was provided by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada through the CURRA and Coastal Connections projects and SSHRC Doctoral award to the first author. We acknowledged the field assistance from Laura Genge and insights from 50 key informants. This manuscript is part of a PhD thesis that was co-supervised by Professor Barbara Neis, who provided useful comments on an earlier draft. We thank Charlie Conway for producing Fig. 1 and to participants at Congress 2012—CAG Session on Oceans Governance for constructive comments. Two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments and suggestions that improved this paper.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Coastal Network, Department of GeographyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.United Nations Environment Program – International Ecosystem Management Partnershipc/o Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CASBeijingChina

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