Regulation Negotiation Role-Play:

Lake Wasota Fishing Rights

Denise Madigan, Tod Loofbourrow with teaching notes by Eileen Babbitt and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, six-issue, scoreable negotiation among representatives of tribal, state, federal, recreation, and business interests over fishing rights in a large lake

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SCENARIO:

Lake Wasota is one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in the country. Over the last twenty years, it has been the site of a bitter dispute over fishing rights. The dispute revolves around the Chippewa Indians (who were granted an unlimited right to fish by a treaty) and commercial fishermen. The conflict was exacerbated by the commercial fishermen’s use of new trap net technology, which has increased their catch substantially. To make matters worse, sports fishers began to fish in the lake in record numbers. Although the competition between the commercial fishermen and the Indians concerns millfish, sports fishermen are involved because trap netting also catches blue trout. The state interceded in the dispute by initiating a series of licensing regulations. The Indians, together with the U.S. Government, then sued the State of Wasota. The court, with assistance of a Special Master, brought the parties together to negotiate a temporary settlement in the shadow of an imminent court ruling on fishing rights in the lake. The parties, including the Wendana Bay Indian Tribe, the Momata Falls Indian Band, the U.S. Government, the State Natural Resources Authority, the Commercial Fishermen’s Association, and the Recreation and Conservation Association are now gathering to review the original agreement and determine whether it should be ratified for another ten years. The parties must reach a decision before the original agreement expires. Although the court hopes for a total consensus, it will accept an agreement reached between the four principal parties. If such an agreement is not reached, the court will make the final decision.

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Litigation may limit the kinds of issues one can consider in a case, and the kinds of trades the parties can devise.
  • When an impasse seems inevitable, adding new issues or dividing issues into component party may open up bargaining room.
  • Inventing options before committing to them is critical to achieving mutually beneficial outcomes. Unfettered “brainstorming” often yields creative and surprising solutions.
  • “Packaging” options often helps to promote agreement. Focusing on options one at a time may lead to deadlocks on each item.
  • The legitimacy of arguments (and agreements) is enhanced if supported by objective and respected sources of data.
  • It almost always pays to maintain cordial working relations with adversaries, even in the face of substantial disagreement. Energy should be focused on solving the problem, not on “beating” the other side.
  • Especially in public sector disputes, the broader the consensus (the more parties on board), the more secure the final agreement. A court ruling on only a narrow aspect of the dispute may not put to rest the larger dispute.

 

MECHANICS:

The game works well with either 6 players (one per role) or 12 players (2 per role). The complexity of the game necessitates a game manager who periodically tallies the votes and is available to answer questions. Comparative analysis can be conducted when multiple sets of the game are played simultaneously. In addition, inter-party caucusing may occur.

 

Estimated Time Requirements:

40 mins: read materials

150 mins: negotiation

60 mins: debrief

Total: 250 mins

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Information
  • Maps
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Summary of 1985 Agreement
  • Memoranda from the Special Master

 

Role specific:

Summary Report of the Joint Science Committee to

  • The Tribes and Government
  • State Authority and Associations

 

Confidential Instructions for the

  • Wendana Bay Indian Tribe
  • Momota Falls Indian Band
  • U.S. Government
  • State Natural Resources Authority
  • Commercial Fishers Association
  • Recreation & Conservation Association
  • Supplementary Instructions for each of the above.

 

Teacher’s package (126 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Game Manager Instructions
  • Debriefing Information

 

KEYWORDS/ THEMES:

BATNA; Bluffing; Brainstorming; Caucusing; Coalitions; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Compliance; Consensus building; Constituents; Environmental dispute resolution; Fairness; Group process; Information exchange; Managing uncertainty; Mediation; Meeting design; Misrepresentation; Monolithic v. non-monolithic parties; Multi-party negotiation; Negotiation with indigenous peoples; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Packaging; Pareto optimization; Partisan perceptions; Political constraints, dealing with; Pressure tactics; Regulation; Reservation price; Systems of negotiation; Time constraints; Utility analysis

 

Lake Wasota Fishing Rights Attributes

Time required:
3-5 hours
Number of participants:
6
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
Yes
Teaching notes available:
Yes
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.