Making Fishery Agreements Work
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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.
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Chapter 6: Conclusions

Geir Hønneland


In Chapter 1, I posed two theoretical questions: why do people obey the law, and why do states abide by their international commitments? We have seen that ‘formal’ models of compliance to a large extent presuppose unitary, rationally calculating actors driven by self-interest, and a social logic that will necessarily follow: a crime being committed, a common-pool resource destroyed, an international treaty concluded and subsequently complied with. Empirically, these models are used to study how self-interest, deterrence and power play out in real-world situations. ‘Enriched’ models of compliance assume that actor motivations are more mixed and social dynamics less stylized and predictable; and research efforts have focused on how norms, legitimacy and institutional organization affect compliance. The theory of post-agreement bargaining narrows in on how states promote the compliance of other states through interstate communication after a treaty has been concluded – unlike traditional studies of implementation and compliance, which have been more preoccupied with activities at the national level. In this concluding chapter, I start with a brief summary of Norwegian bargaining experiences with Russia in the Barents Sea fisheries, at the state level and the individual level. The exact levels of compliance have not been in focus in this book, but my empirical accounts allow for rather robust conclusions on this issue as well, at least at the state level.1 In the following two sections, I ask why Russia complies with its international commitments in the Barents Sea (when it does so) and why Russian fishers comply with Norwegian...

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