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Local co-management of fish and wildlife: The Quebec experience

Pearse, P. H.; Wilson, J. R.



Wildlife Society Bulletin



Quebec's system of Zones d'Exploitation Controlee (ZECs) is a unique experiment in governmental delegation of resource management responsibilities to resource users. Under contractual arrangements with the Minister of Environment and Wildlife, locally based non-profit organizations receive authority to regulate hunting and fishing, manage resources, and charge fees to cover their costs. The program began in 1978 and has made significant (though mixed) progress in advancing the policy objectives set for it, namely, conservation of fish and wildlife, participation of users in resource management, improved public access, and financial self-sufficiency. Some tensions have developed because the private user groups who presently control ZECs have views divergent from others who want a larger role in ZEC decision making. These tensions are partly due to the structure of ZEC agencies and their legal mandate. Due to the unique history of fish and wildlife management in Quebec, assigning rights to manage fishing and hunting to private organizations seems more acceptable there than elsewhere. Nevertheless, the ZEC system offers valuable experience to other governments and interest groups in their search for effective ways to decentralize resource management.

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