Sub-theme 10. Local institution building and radical futures for the commons
Fisheries Co-management approaches: Theory, Practice and Applications
Co-management approaches to fisheries have become a global practice for effectively regulating overfishing in open access fisheries with the aim of sustaining the fishery-based livelihoods. Disappointingly, in the context of climate change effects, productivity of most co-managed fisheries continues to decline. This complex and dynamic phenomenon poses serious uncertainties about sustainability of inland and marine fisheries and the livelihoods they support. This review paper explores both theoretical and practical attributes of co-management approaches to fisheries with the objective of identifying the aspects that work and how they work to yield desirable co-management outcomes particularly resilience of the fisheries sector. The review paper also explores co-management aspects that do not work and how they undermine the efficacy of co-management arrangements in open access fisheries. In presence of climate change, fishery-based co-management approaches, which integrate both adaptive management and co-management, have several attributes that are essential for building resilience of open access fisheries. Differences between theoretical and practical aspects of co-management approaches explored in this paper demonstrate how to effectively build resilience of the fisheries sector and the livelihoods they anchor by effectively integrating adaptive management into local institutional arrangements.
1. Stakeholder Perspectives on the Structure of a Co-management Approach to Governance of Small-Scale African Inland Fisheries: Lessons from Zambia
1School of Natural Resources, Copperbelt University, Zambia, 2Environment and Natural Resources Program, University of Iceland, Iceland, 3Applied Learning Unit, Southern African Wildlife College, South Africa
Co-management has been promoted as an alternative approach to the governance of inland fisheries resources and implemented in many African countries. This strategy has, however, not proven to be a straightforward solution to improve the governance of these fisheries resources; hence the continued over-exploitation by fishers. As such, there is a need to reassess the application of a co-management governance approach and structure that should strive to strengthen the participation of stakeholders, primarily local fishers, as they are critical in the governance of these fisheries resources. The study’s objective is to explore the prospects of designing a co-management governance structure at Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, a small-scale inland fishery in Zambia. Grounded in theories and frameworks on the governance of common pool resources, focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders were used to collect data. Co-management approach was perceived to be feasible at Lake Itezhi-Tezhi fishery by stakeholders and a fisheries management committee-based co-management approach was suggested for possible implementation. This committee would be important in creating an appropriate platform for further deliberations by stakeholders in working towards the eventual implementation of sustainable co-management at the fishery. However, the feasibility of the suggested co-management governance structure would be primarily dependent on fulfilling most of the key conditions for successful co-management, prompt decentralisation of power and authority by government to local fishers, and establishment of a fisheries policy to provide guidelines for the co-management implementation process. This may, therefore, not necessarily be an easy undertaking but worth executing.
2. Fisheries Co-management approaches: Theory, Practice and Applications
1Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bunda College, Malawi, 2Fisheries Department, Malawi
Co-management approaches to fisheries have become a global practice for effectively regulating overfishing in open access fisheries with the aim of sustaining the fishery-based livelihoods. Disappointingly, in the context of climate change effects, productivity of most co-managed fisheries continues to decline. This complex and dynamic phenomenon poses serious uncertainties about sustainability of inland and marine fisheries and the livelihoods they support. This review paper explored both theoretical and practical attributes of co-management approaches to fisheries with the objective of identifying the aspects that work and how they work to yield desirable co-management outcomes particularly resilience of the fisheries sector. The review paper further explored co-management aspects that do not work and how they undermine the efficacy of co-management arrangements in open access fisheries. In practice, active participation in fishery co-management favored institutional innovations for decisively addressing climate change effects by, among other things, building resilience of the co-managed fisheries. However, different co-management approaches were not legitimate and stable due to lack of the necessary legislation and policies which would effectively promote collective-action against climate change risk and uncertainties. Specifically, the co-management approaches did not adequately address questions of property rights, power relations and accountability to ensure that all stakeholders were truly engaged in the decision-making and operational processes of the co-managed fisheries.
3. New objectives, new institutions? Learning from emerging policy experiments to enhance food security from fisheries
Michigan State University, USA
There is an increasing push for nations to support and enhance the food and nutrition security contributions of their fisheries, in addition to objectives like economic development, trade revenue, and employment generation that have traditionally been the focus of fisheries policies around the world. This shift in the discourse raises two questions: First, are the common-pool resource governance institutions required to ensure food security the same as or different from those that support economic development, livelihoods, and sustainability more broadly? Second, what can we learn from the institutional change processes currently under consideration and underway as governments, NGOs, fishing communities, and consumers explore the potential for fisheries to do more for domestic food and nutrition security? I address these questions with case studies of two different countries in which diverse stakeholders are exploring the potential for institutional change to enhance the contributions of their nations’ aquatic foods to domestic food and nutrition security: Malawi and Mexico. Malawi and Mexico differ in key ways. For example, Malawi is a low-income food-deficit country with negligible recorded fish exports, with fish as the most important animal source protein for its population. In contrast, Mexico is a middle-income country, among the world’s top seafood producers and exporters, with fish being far less important in the national diet. Yet both countries are exploring potential institutional change to support sustainable aquatic food systems within their borders, providing an opportunity to generate hypotheses about processes of institutional change and their implications for how society governs and benefits from common-pool resources.