Making Fishery Agreements Work

Making Fishery Agreements Work

Post-Agreement Bargaining in the Barents Sea

Geir Hønneland

Why do people obey the law? And why do states abide by their international commitments? These are among the questions raised in this important book. The setting is the Barents Sea, home to some of the most productive fishing grounds on the planet, including the world’s largest cod stock. Norway and Russia manage these fish resources together, in what appears to be a successful exception to the rule of failed fisheries management: stocks are in good shape, institutional cooperation is expanding and takes place in a constructive atmosphere. The author argues that post-agreement bargaining helps activate norms and establish standard operating procedure that furthers precautionary fisheries management.

Chapter 2: Common-pool Resource Management and Compliance with International Commitments

Geir Hønneland

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, environmental law, environmental management, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, international politics


The investigation here is narrowly focused in one sense, and extensive in another. Empirically, I use only one case study, but include practices at the individual and state levels in the discussion. As regards theory, I draw on several distinctly different bodies of literature, which communicate with each other only to a limited extent. This chapter gives an overview of these theory traditions: the general study of (individual) compliance, research on the management of common-pool resources, the literature on (individual) compliance in fisheries, approaches to state compliance with international law, and (state-level) post-agreement bargaining. As we will see, these separate bodies of literature share a number of similarities. THE STUDY OF COMPLIANCE Compliance and law enforcement have been studied mainly within the fields of economics, criminology, psychology and sociology.1 In the economics literature, the theme is found as early as in the work of Adam Smith (1759, 1776), who noted that individuals who act in the pursuit of self-interest may impose harm on others and must therefore be restricted in some way. He also made the link between crime and economic circumstances, claiming that individuals most often resort to criminal activity when their opportunities for a lawful income are slim. Jeremy Bentham (1789), following Smith, argued that criminal behaviour is economically rational and deterrence necessary to reduce crime. The early 1900s saw numerous attempts to explore the link between crime and economic circumstances (see e.g. Bonger, 1916). Most of these studies found that changes in the economic situation of the...

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