Navigating change: Second-generation challenges of small-scale fisheries co-management in the Philippines and Vietnam

Early efforts to apply the concept of fisheries co-management in Southeast Asia focused primarily on building the effectiveness of local management institutions and advocating the merits of the approach so that it would be applied in new sites, while gradually learning and adapting to a range of obstacles in practice. Today, with co-management widely embraced by the research community and adopted as policy by an increasing number of governments, a second-generation perspective has emerged. This perspective is distinguished by efforts to navigate and influence change in the broader institutional and governance context: (a) a more sophisticated appreciation of politics, power relations, and the role of the state, (b) efforts to manage resource competition beyond the fisheries sector, (c) building institutions for adaptation and learning, and (d) recognizing divergent values and goals influencing fisheries management. This paper traces the evolution of this second-generation perspective, noting how it has built on learning from early practice and how it has been cross-fertilized by theoretical innovations in related fields, notably resilience thinking and political ecology. We illustrate this evolution through analysis of experience in the Philippines, with a relatively long experience of learning and adaptation in fisheries co-management practice, and Vietnam, where fisheries co-management policies have been embraced more recently. Characterizing the second-generation perspective helps identify points of convergence in the research and policy community about what needs attention, providing a basis for more systematic cross-country and cross-regional learning.


Ratner, B.D., Oh, E.J.V., Pomeroy, R.S. (2012)
Journal of Environmental Management 107: 131–139