Akita Fisheries Cooperative Associations, Japan
This chapter explores the high level of uncertainty of fish stocks by investigating the sandfish stock decline of the late 1980s in Akita, Japan. It supports the argument that the uncertainty of fish stocks is often beyond capacity of fishing communities to cope with. Therefore help from the state can be crucial. During the crisis of 1991, sandfish stock experienced a huge drop from more than 20,000 metric tons in the 1960s to a mere 74 metric tons in 1984. This adds a point to Ostrom’s eight conditions: that a crucial input for fisheries governance is that fish stocks should not be overfished and depleted. The state can help with this. The chapter provides an analysis of the dynamic interactions between the state and the associations. In doing this, it aims to show that in fisheries co-management the relationship between the associations and the state is not an equal one in terms of resources. In other words, the co-management system is asymmetric.
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