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Lessons for legal pluralism: investigating the challenges of transboundary fisheries governance

Elsevier B.V.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2014.09.017
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Law


Transboundary fisheries pose serious challenges for achieving environmental and social sustainability. Many of these challenges derive from the strong legal pluralism in these settings. This review paper assesses the literature on transboundary fisheries and identifies four governance challenges, caused by: first, scalar discrepancies; second, fragmentation of the legal field; third, power imbalances, and four, subject linking. It considers the relationship between legal systems against the typology proposed by Bavinck and Gupta (in this issue) and argues that in the case of transboundary fisheries a complex mixture of relationships applies at any one point in time. This condition requires a judicious and coordinated mix of governance approaches. Illustrations derive from the transboundary fishing conflicts between India and Sri Lanka.

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