Co-management is of increasing interest for fisheries management. We explore possibilities for, and barriers to, developing a co-management system, using threatened populations of landlocked Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout as examples. Good management of natural resources requires not only knowledge about the resource, but also suitable tools to collect information and make decisions. In large ecosystems this can be difficult because many actors are involved, and various societal borders and traditions become barriers. Vänern is the largest lake in the European Union and it holds several distinct populations of large-bodied landlocked Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout. The lake is used for commercial, subsistence, and sport fishing as well as for other recreational activities; in Klarälven, the largest river entering Vänern, sport fishing is popular. These salmonid populations were at critically low levels during the 1960s, but a stocking program since then has maintained the fishery. At least one wild stock appears to be recovering since being protected in 1993. Ecosystem users all have different needs: in the lake, sport fishermen say that catches of hatchery fish have declined, and commercial fishermen have focused on other species. In the river, wild salmon may be recovering: sport fishing is popular and an ongoing project investigates the possibilities for salmon to be able to circumvent hydro-electrical plants and reach historical Norwegian spawning areas. Not only do we lack information about the salmonids’ different life stages, we also lack a suitable socio-political organization to find sustainable solutions to the different needs of diverse user groups. We argue that a co-management system that enfranchises user groups in the Vänern-Klarälven ecosystem will improve sustainable management of wild and hatchery fish.

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