The N-SAFE project examines the newly emerging role played by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as they partner with governments around the world in the global fight against illegal fishing. This is an important development, because if it works, such partnerships can transform the way we think about protecting our planet’s increasingly fragile oceanic ecosystem from illegal and unregulated overfishing.
These joint NGO-state efforts to curb illegal fishing remain understudied. As a result, we know very little about: 1) the technical nature and content of these new NGO-state fisheries programs, 2) their effectiveness, impact, and possible replicability elsewhere, or 3) the political consequences of transferring law enforcement responsibility to an NGO—for governments and NGOs alike. Can NGOs play a productive role in fighting international illegal fishing on the high seas? Can volunteer-based maritime NGOs transition from ‘activist’ organizations into responsible and effective state partners? What are the political consequences of introducing an NGO into what is traditionally a law enforcement function of the state? The N-SAFE team seeks to find answers to these questions by meeting with and interviewing NGO and government actors involved in these exciting new programs emerging around the world.
Can non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a productive role as a legitimate maritime capacity builder? Can a volunteer-based maritime NGO transition itself from an ‘activist’ organization into a responsible and effective state partner for fisheries management? What are the political consequences of introducing an NGO into what is traditionally a law enforcement function of the state? Most of the existing literature related to fisheries protection is focused on state actors, or collaboration between states (Hønneland, 2012). To the extent that the literature looks at NGO involvement in the politics of fisheries protection, the vast majority is focused on how NGOs rely on indirect lobbying efforts to impact the regulatory fisheries policies of states and international organizations (Price, 2003). The niche literature examining the role of non-state actors engaging in partnerships with states to manage state fisheries has, with some notable exceptions (Bondaroff, 2011, Eilstrup-Sangiovanni 2019), focused almost exclusively on state use of commercial maritime private security firms (Berube, Cullen 2012). This reveals a literature gap that ignores how the last five years have witnessed the NGO SSCS entering direct partnerships with governments to improve local enforcement of fisheries regulation. However, these NGO-state fisheries programs remain unexamined by academic literature. As a result, we know very little about: 1) the technical nature and content of these new NGO-state fisheries programs, 2) their effectiveness, impact, and possible replicability elsewhere, or 3) the political consequences that transferring law enforcement to an NGO has for both the governments involved and SSCS. Nor do we know how to 4) explain why SSCS and their state partners have changed their attitudes and behavior from one characterized by mutual mistrust towards a partnership that is mutually reinforcing and collaborative. The project seeks to address these four issues.
UTENRIKS-Internasjonale forhold - utenriks- og sikkerhetspolitikk og norske interesser