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Title [en]
Cooperating for sustainable regional marine governance - The case of fisheries and nutrient run-off from agriculture to the Baltic Sea
Abstract [en]
This project takes it point of departure in the findings of the recently closed BONUS/Baltic Sea Foundation project RISKGOV – Risk governance of the Baltic Sea. One of the most important outcomes was from that project was that the single most important reason why we have not reached further in terms of restoring Baltic Sea ecosystems to adequate status probably is that insufficient collaboration between sector interests, not the least at regional and EU levels. We have selected the agricultural (nutrient run-off causing eutrophication) and fisheries sectors for a closer analysis of (a) existing patterns of regional collaboration and (b) potentials for improvement in terms of more adequate regional environmental governance. The major reason why have selected these two sectors is that they both pose especially difficult governance challenges, since they involve clear tensions between natural resource use and environmental protection, institutionally as well as in terms of knowledge claims and stakeholder interests. An innovative part of this project is that Elinor Ostrom’s well-known design principles are adapted to the scale of Baltic Sea region. To our knowledge, this has not been done before. Principles of monitoring, appropriation and institutional nesting are used as analytical instruments to explore three domains of trans-sector collaboration; normative, epistemological and managerial cooperation. By analyzing to what extent key regulatory instruments at the regional level in the different sectors have been harmonized, whose and what kind of knowledge that is given privileged knowledge and how these aspects together have influenced recent regional governance outcomes, we will be able to understand where the main problems for successful collaboration reside, and will thus be able to elaborate on potential improvements. Because we have selected the probably two hardest cases in terms of sector integration, our results will most likely have important policy implications not only for these sectors, but also for others such as chemical pollution, invasive species, pollution from marine transportation and climate change.
Publications (2 of 2) Show all publications
Hassler, B., Gilek, M., Jönsson, A. M. & Saunders, F. (2019). Cooperating for sustainable regional marine governance: The case of fisheries and nutrient runoff from agriculture to the Baltic Sea, Synthesis report. Huddinge: Södertörns högskola
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cooperating for sustainable regional marine governance: The case of fisheries and nutrient runoff from agriculture to the Baltic Sea, Synthesis report
2019 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Over-fishing and eutrophication (too much nutrients) are among the most severe threats to the ecosystems of the Baltic Sea and the ecosystem services they provide. Despite the well-known fact that effective and sustainable management requires cooperation – among as well as within states – appropriate frameworks that work have not yet been constructed and successfully applied. This report summarises findings from a research project on cooperation for sustainable marine governance of the Baltic Sea carried out between 2013 and 2018. Three aspects of central relevance for the understanding of regional cooperation in environmental governance are distinguished: interests, knowledge and management. It is shown that it is not enough to design cooperative arrangements that make the group of users, stakeholders or states better off than without such an arrangement. It is furthermore required that all actors have individual interests to participate, and that free-riding on others’ contributions can be controlled. When this is not the case, effective abatement of eutrophication is not likely to be forthcoming, even though aggregated benefits from such measures are larger than expected costs.

Knowledge often play important roles in marine environmental governance, not least in relation to so-called epistemic communities, that is, groups of experts that share a common understanding of the environmental problem at hand, and how to address it. It is shown that the coherence of the epistemic group can be a crucial factor influencing its impact. In both abatement of eutrophication and management of fish stocks, these expert groups have been somewhat divided, which has limited their impact.

Modes of management can influence cooperation and outcomes in ways that can be difficult to predict. Although environmental taxes and subsidies are powerful policy instruments in contemporary governance, they must be carefully crafted to fit into exiting norms and contexts to be effective. It is shown that monetary incentives targeting farmers’ use of fertilisers tend not to be effective when they are at odds with deeply held norms on what constitute a “good farmer”. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2019. p. 76
Working Paper, ISSN 1404-1480 ; 2019:1
Development studies, Environmental governance, regional cooperation, eutrophication, fisheries, Baltic Sea
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Studies; Baltic and East European studies
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-37847 (URN)
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, A043-2012
Available from: 2019-03-11 Created: 2019-03-11 Last updated: 2020-02-03Bibliographically approved
Gilek, M., Karlsson, M., Linke, S. & Smolarz, K. (2016). Environmental Governance of the Baltic Sea (1ed.). Cham: Springer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Governance of the Baltic Sea
2016 (English)Book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This edited volume presents a comprehensive and coherent interdisciplinary analysis of challenges and possibilities for sustainable governance of the Baltic Sea ecosystem by combining knowledge and approaches from natural and social sciences. Focusing on the Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM) and associated multi-level, multi-sector and multi-actor challenges, the book provides up-to-date descriptions and analyses of environmental governance structures and processes at the macro-regional Baltic Sea level. Organised in two parts, Part 1 presents in-depth case studies of environmental governance practices and challenges linked to five key environmental problems - eutrophication, chemical pollution, overfishing, oil discharges and invasive species. Part 2 analyses and compares governance challenges and opportunities across the five case studies, focusing on governance structures and EAM implementation, knowledge integration and science support, as well as stakeholder communication and participation. Based on these cross-case comparisons, this book also draws a set of general conclusions on possible ways of improving the governance of the Baltic Sea by promoting what are identified as vital functions of environmental governance: coordination, integration, interdisciplinarity, precaution, deliberation, communication and adaptability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cham: Springer, 2016. p. 253 Edition: 1
MARE Publication Series, ISSN 2212-6260 ; 10
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Environmental Studies
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29774 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-27006-7 (DOI)1748/42/2008 (Local ID)978-3-319-27005-0 (ISBN)978-3-319-27006-7 (ISBN)1748/42/2008 (Archive number)1748/42/2008 (OAI)
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, 08/371EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, BONUSThe Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, A032-08
Available from: 2016-03-23 Created: 2016-03-23 Last updated: 2020-02-26Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorHassler, Björn
Co-InvestigatorGilek, Michael
Co-InvestigatorJönsson, Anna Maria
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
2013-01-01 - 2015-12-31
National Category
Environmental SciencesPolitical Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
DiVA, id: project:1820Project, id: A043-2012_OSS