On 4 November, at Wageningen University, Birgit de Vos successfully defended her thesis Trust and New Modes of Fisheries Governance.
It is a commonplace today that many of the world’s commercial fisheries are in a state of crisis. As a response to the state of fisheries management, a large array of governance innovations has been deployed over the past two decades in many fisheries industries worldwide. In these new governance arrangements state, market, and/or civil society actors participate while striving for a more sustainable fisheries industry. These new governance arrangements influence social relations, and subsequently trust relationships between the actors involved in fisheries governance.
The main objective of this thesis was therefore to analyse and to understand how trust relationships between the main actors in the Dutch fishing industry have changed under conditions of new modes of governance enhancing demands for sustainability. The research objectives are met by the study of four new policy arrangements within the Dutch (flatfish) fisheries sector, in which the changing trust relationships between fishers, supply chain companies, NGOs and policy makers were analysed.
The opening up of the industry to outsiders, made possible through new trust relationships, is an important condition for the sustainability and thus the future of the Dutch fishing industry. The increasing direct interaction with different stakeholders has led to more diversity and knowledge exchange between stakeholders that previously did not interact. The industry is changing from a homogeneous sector to smaller, diverse groups that are organised along product categories instead of along community, and family. Where previously trust was related to the industry as a whole, we now see diverse groups of fishermen that enjoy different degrees of trust.