Continuing this series’ recent theme of ways to make policy work, let’s consider a broader view of what policy is and therefore who gets to create policy. It’s not just the elected officials with legislation in their job description. For one, those people are accountable to the people who elected them. Second, formal written policy is not the only kind that is effective – informal rules, community traditions, and other forms of policy are often best. Plus, these types of policy offer the general public a change to be involved in creation and implementation.
There is a large literature on the value of participation in policymaking, especially in fisheries (Silver and Campbell 2005). Here I will focus on three particularly important aspects of participation to management at the scale of an estuary, where I work: a) additional knowledge creation, b) community buy-in, and c) tighter feedback loops. These are important for relatively large-scale systems with several communities and many variables that could affect management. Continue reading State of the Field: Policy is not just for policymakers anymore