Influences of discourse on decision-making in EU fisheries management: The case of North Sea cod (Gadus morhua)

Alyne E. Delaney, H. Anne McLay, Wim L.T. Van Densen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Does public debate have an influence on decision-making in European fisheries management? Our premise is that for fisheries management to be viewed as legitimate, stakeholders should be included in the process. Because the first step towards stakeholder participation is letting their voices be heard, we analysed the public debate surrounding the management of North Sea cod, focusing on two aspects: the mixed fisheries problem of total allowable catch management and the causes of cod decline. Using standard social-science methodologies including discourse analysis, participant observation, and qualitative interviews, we suggest that the public debate has not had a direct effect on year-to-year management decisions. Still, it can be argued that the debate has influenced the attitude of those involved in the management system and, therefore, has had an impact on the changes in the management and advisory system that are taking place, although these take place at different levels and speeds than expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-810
Number of pages7
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007 May


  • CFP
  • Discourse
  • EU decision-making
  • Fisheries management
  • North Sea cod
  • Policy
  • Public debate
  • Stakeholder participation


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