D. G. Webster

D. G. Webster is Associate Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College and the author of Adaptive Governance: The Dynamics of Atlantic Fisheries Management (MIT Press).

  • Beyond the Tragedy in Global Fisheries

    Beyond the Tragedy in Global Fisheries

    D. G. Webster

    An analysis of how responsive governance has shaped the evolution of global fisheries in cyclical patterns of depletion and rebuilding dubbed the “management treadmill.”

    The oceans are heavily overfished, and the greatest challenges to effective fisheries management are not technical but political and economic. In this book, D. G. Webster describes how the political economy of fisheries has evolved and highlights patterns that are linked to sustainable transitions in specific fisheries. Grounded in the concept of responsive governance, Webster's interdisciplinary analysis goes beyond the conventional view of the "tragedy of the commons.” Using her Action Cycle/Structural Context framework, she maps long-running patterns that cycle between depletion and rebuilding in a process that she terms the management treadmill.

    Webster documents the management treadmill in settings that range from small coastal fishing communities to international fisheries that span entire oceans. She identifies the profit disconnect, in which economic incentives are out of sync with sustainable use, and the power disconnect, in which those who experience the costs of overexploitation are politically marginalized. She examines how these disconnects shaped the economics of expansion and documents how political systems failed to prevent related cycles of serial resource depletion. Webster also traces the increasing use of restrictive management in response to worsening fisheries crises and the emergence of new, noncommercial interests that demand greater management but also generate substantial conflict. She finds that the management treadmill is speeding up with population growth and economic development, and so concludes that sustainable fisheries can only exist within a sustainable global economic system.

    • Hardcover $41.00 £32.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £24.00
  • Adaptive Governance

    Adaptive Governance

    The Dynamics of Atlantic Fisheries Management

    D. G. Webster

    Develops and applies an innovative theoretical framework that links domestic economic vulnerabilities to national policy positions and international management in the context of Atlantic fisheries.

    The rapid expansion of the fishing industry in the last century has raised major concerns over the long-term viability of many fish species. International fisheries organizations have failed to prevent the overfishing of many stocks, but succeeded in curtailing harvests for some key fisheries. In Adaptive Governance, D. G. Webster proposes a new perspective to improve our understanding of both success and failure in international resource regimes. She develops a theoretical approach, the vulnerability response framework, which can increase understanding of countries' positions on the management of international fisheries based on linkages between domestic vulnerabilities and national policy positions. Vulnerability, mainly economic in this context, acts as an indicator for domestic susceptibility to the increasing competition associated with open access and related stock declines. Because of this relationship, vulnerability can also be used to trace the trajectory of nations' positions on fisheries management as they seek political alternatives to economic problems. Webster tests this framework by using it to predict national positions for eight cases drawn from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). These studies reveal that there is considerable variance in the management measures ICCAT has adopted—both between different species and in dealing with the same species over time—and that much of this variance can be traced to vulnerability response behavior. Little attention has been paid to the ways in which international regimes change over time. Webster's innovative approach illuminates the pressures for change that are generated by economic competition and overexploitation in Atlantic fisheries. Her work also identifies patterns of adaptive governance, as national responses to such pressures culminate in patterns of change in international management.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £14.99
    • Paperback $19.75 £14.99