Overcoming Barriers to Change Within Fishery Management Systems

Overcoming Barriers to Change Within Fishery Management Systems

The aim of this session is to examine the barriers to change that exist, outside of the usual technical challenges of data collection, management rules and enforcement, that interfere with our wish to improve the management of fisheries. These barriers will be examined through the lens of Dr Robert Kegan’s and Dr Lisa Laskow Lahey’s famed ‘immunity to change’ process by undertaking a series of short workshops (~2hrs) in key management organizations prior to the Seaweb Seafood Summit, and then have the management agency leads report back on their findings through a facilitated panel discussion.

The panel facilitator will explain Kegan’s & Lahey’s immunity to change process and the exercise undertaken in each of the management agency and then ask the panelists to share the outcomes of these sessions. The facilitator will ask panelists to reveal the needed improvement they identified, the competing commitments, excuses and fears that arose, and their big assumption about what really is holding back the desired change within their organization. The facilitator would then lead a discussion between the panelists and the audience as to how these barriers (the big assumptions identified) might be best addressed.

The immunity to change process is reported to be one of the most effective processes to address organizational barriers to self-improvement. Leaders, organizations and governments struggle with change. This resistance is likened to the immune system rejecting a new kidney. Even though the new kidney might be critical for the body’s survival, the body’s first reaction will be to resist/reject the change. The body tries to maintain itself. Fisheries management can be examined through a similar lens. Quite often the changes needed in fisheries management are both critical and obvious to all, but the necessary steps are not taken. The process is simplistic but will hopefully provide a powerful understanding of what happens in an individual or cultural collective, in our case a fisheries management system, when a vision is proposed but faces resistance, despite its necessity.

While the initial workshops held within management agencies will be confidential, leaving the panelists to decide what to share with the audience, it is expected numerous non-technical barriers to change will be revealed. The session is likely to include the discovery issues linked to distrust, hopelessness, long standing political issues, food security, market pressures etc., etc. Issues that need identification, discussion and ultimately solutions if much needed improvements are to be realized.

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