Over the last decade, advocates of the interdisciplinary concept of social capital have celebrated the fact that elements
of local social structures--embodied in social norms, networks and organizations--can significantly affect well-being in fishing
communities. But does this concept bring anything to the study and practice of fisheries management that is not already known?
This paper argues that value is added to the formation of fisheries policy by viewing elements of local social structures as a form
of capital. When norms, networks and organizations are analyzed, in a microeconomic context, as potentially productive assets,
they can properly be valued alongside physical, human, and natural capital. The paper details how doing so can promise to
further increase the probability of sustainable use of many (but not all) local fisheries through specific investments in social
Isham, J. Can Investments in Social Capital Improve Well-Being in Fishing Communities? A Theoretical Perspective for Assessing the Policy Options. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults:Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute ofFisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. InternationalInstitute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.