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Keywords:

  • Environmental governance;
  • small-scale fisheries;
  • wealth-based fisheries management;
  • rights-based approaches;
  • social-ecological resilience;
  • policy reform

The diversity of social, ecological and economic characteristics of small-scale fisheries in developing countries means that context-specific assessments are required to understand and address shortcomings in their governance. This article contrasts three perspectives on governance reform focused alternately on wealth, rights and resilience, and argues that – far from being incompatible – these perspectives serve as useful counterweights to one another, and together can serve to guide policy responses. In order to better appreciate the diversity in governance contexts for small-scale fisheries it puts forward a simple analytical framework focused on stakeholder representation, distribution of power, and accountability, and then outlines principles for identifying and deliberating reform options among local stakeholders.