Apprentice programs offer a method to encourage responsible individual behavior by laying the foundation for successful collective property rights. Apprenticeship has three purposes: to restrict the rate of entry, to affect the quality of the participant, and to create the conditions for collective action for sustainability. Apprenticeship could be an important fishery management tool, particularly in decentralized, adaptive management regimes that require ongoing, multi-party negotiation for success. It is not vocational training; instead it serves a public purpose: to create the conditions for stewardship and participation in management. This perception of collective property right mimics customary practice in some successful traditional fisheries such as the Maine lobster fishery where customary practice has been demonstrated both to have conservation benefits and to lower enforcement costs. Case information from Maine’s new, statutory lobster apprentice program is discussed. Apprenticeship creates conditions for responsible behavior by creating a stable population that can develop long term assurances about expected behavior and can develop credible internal monitoring and sanctions. In addition to requiring a personal investment of time, it provides information about fishing ethics and non-fishing information about basic biology, ecology, and participation in the management system. This, because it changes the frame of reference, should affect individual behavior both fishing and as participants in management. Apprenticeship focuses on the individual fishing as the principal actor in conservation. The apprenticeship approach bolsters both co-management and, for that matter, conventional limited entry programs as well.

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


This is a conference proceeding published by International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade in 2001, available online: https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/conference_proceedings_or_journals/mw22v636t