2014 | 23 | 36-43
Article title

Fisheries vs. Marine Conservation: Lessons Learned from the Shiretoko World Natural Heritage Site

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The most prominent issue in the field of fisheries management is the choice between the wellbeing of the fishermen and the promotion of conservation, either in an ecosystem level or as species−specific approach. However, recently, there has been a general shift towards a more holistic approach, through which both goals may be achieved, without sacrificing one in favour of the other. The ecosystem approach is supported by a large proportion of the academic community as the solution to avoid conflict between livelihoods and conservation. In the Shiretoko World Natural Heritage Site, the local stakeholders have managed to bridge the gaps through extensive consultation and, supported by the Japanese local and national governments and various academic institutions, have established a coordinating network of organisations, in order to build consensus among the stakeholders and adopt the ecosystem approach. As representatives from most stakeholder groups participate in the collaborating institutions, the interests of various sides, including tourism, fisheries, reforestation, agriculture, citizens, scientists and environmental groups, are voiced and supported during the decision−making process. The Shiretoko Natural Heritage Site Management Plan has made significant achievements, by adopting viable trade−offs between conservation, fisheries management and tourism, resulting in a sustainable and largely self−funded conservation scheme. The example of Shiretoko could function as a best case practice for many countries worldwide that face the same problem, especially insular ones, in order to achieve sustainable fisheries without sacrificing marine conservation.
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