Comanagement of natural resources is a well-established approach to the management of common-pool resources such as small-scale fisheries, operating in multiple contexts and settings for over two decades. These programs are expected to be adaptable and promote social and ecological benefits, such as sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity goals. As programs mature, it is important to consider how some core principles of comanagement have manifested in practice, as well as whether they deliver on these promised benefits. Drawing from the conservation, small-scale fisheries, and fisheries management literature, this paper examines three fundamental principles of fisheries comanagement: participation, equity, and power. The conceptualization, definitions, and measures of each theme are presented, with discussion of the current gaps in the literature. We also demonstrate the deep interrelationships between these key dimensions of comanagement, and the need for greater attention to their combined influence on comanagement outcomes and processes. While the literature offers foundational ideas for incorporating these themes into fisheries comanagement practice, tethering these concepts to clear, but context-specific goals and practices is essential for improving social outcomes. We find that key goals of fisheries comanagement could be impeded by the lack of depth in addressing these themes in practice, and suggest the need for greater critical attention to their expressions in comanagement processes.
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