Fish producers' organizations (POs) bring together fishers or fish farmers on a voluntary basis so as to ensure the best market conditions for their fish. How fishers perceive and understand their membership experience is crucial to their capacity to learn from each other and adapt when interacting with their environment. These issues are explored by using the case of Propeixe, a Portuguese PO of purse seine fishers. Fishers 'perceptions' of their PO experiences are discussed using an analytical framework based on social learning literature. POs appear to stimulate social learning amongst fishers through changes in practices, economic and other incentives, rules and trust in leadership. Moreover, POs add to a simple market structure the properties of network coordination: interdependency and trust as a basis for co-operation. However, POs fail to change modes of interaction and communication amongst fishers. Within the PO network there are informal subnetworks, differing in terms of interests and influences, and disagreeing on problems (e.g. resource status) and on how to deal with them. By enhancing their members' social learning capacity, POs may increase their capacity to learn and cooperate with other actors in the sector. Leadership strategy, to encourage day-to-day dialog and deal with power relations, is essential in this respect.
- Social learning