Ponencias y Conferencia

Paving the way towards co-management through participatory research: a case study with artisanal fisheries in Uruguay

Autoría: Trimble, M., Lázaro, M. y Berkes, F.
Citación: Trimble, M., Lázaro, M. y Berkes, F. (2013). Paving the way towards co-management through participatory research: a case study with artisanal fisheries in Uruguay. 14th Global Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, 3 al 7 de junio de 2013, Japón.

"In Uruguay, both artisanal fishers and the State agency in charge of fisheries management (DINARA) have shown interest in seeking co-management arrangements, leaving behind the top-down regime, still prevalent today. Our research is based on a case study in Piriápolis (coastal Río de la Plata), in which a participatory research process among fishery stakeholders (fishers, DINARA, University scientists, NGOs) was facilitated to investigate its contributions to the emergence of co-management. Our findings show that participatory research had an impact on the various faces of co-management: (1) power sharing: power was actually shared during the research process, (2) institution building: a multi-stakeholder group (POPA), with a common vision and goals, was created, (3) trust building: trust among participants increased, (4) process: the process of group formation was considered important by participants, (5) learning: stakeholders learned skills for participation, among others, (6) problem solving: two problem-solving exercises were conducted (POPA started with the problem of sea lion impact on the fishery but ended up addressing the competition from imported pangasius), (7) governance: a diversity of stakeholders of the initial problem identified by fishers participated in the process. These impacts on co-management are indeed useful criteria for evaluating the outcomes of participatory research as a knowledge coproduction approach in which resource users participate of the entire research, and whose final aim is community empowerment. When evaluating the process of participatory research, our case study contributed to identifying several criteria that can facilitate comanagement, such as: participation of all stakeholder groups of the selected problem/topic; participants’ representativeness; involvement of all stakeholder groups in every research stage; independent facilitation; collective decision-making through deliberative and consensus-building processes; and appropriate information management. This research provides empirical evidence to support the claim that participatory research is a strategy to facilitate and improve co-management. "