IFM focuses on two areas within co-management:
- Governance and co-management
- The knowledge base for co-management
In its studies of governance and co-management in relation to fisheries management systems IFM moves the concept of institutions beyond the classical institutional approaches in economics and political science to also including – to some extent along the lines of the so-called new institutionalisms - cultural and social structures acknowledging that institutions are dynamic and constantly changing.
The other central aspect of fisheries co-management to which IFM seeks to respond is the development of a useful knowledge base for co-management. How can co-management institutions make the best use of knowledge as they seek to adapt to changing ecological, social and economic circumstances? In a cooperative management context, an appropriate balance must be found between experience-based and research-based knowledge. IFM explores new roles and procedures that both scientists and other knowledgable people can use to contribute to the knowledge base.