This article examines the development of a co-management approach in New Zealand where the government is devolving certain management responsibilities to Commercial Stakeholder Organizations (CSOs). In 1999 and 2001, a mail survey was used to gather data on the characteristics of CSOs, as well as the attitudes, and expectations of CSO leaders. Results are examined using Ostrom's design principles for long-lived institutions. The results suggest that CSOs are experiencing mixed success in developing institutions that will be resilient to long-term challenges. Successes are identified and recommendations for the further development of this management approach are offered. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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