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Analysis of Power in Lake Victoria’s Fisheries: Challenges to the Adaptive Governance Approach

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Mudliar, Pranietha; Wedig, Karin
Conference: In Defense of the Commons: Challenges, Innovation and Action, the Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Lima, Peru
Conf. Date: July 1-5
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10660
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Africa
Abstract: "Links between power and adaptive governance are recognized in the fisheries literature, but little reference has been made to show how power dynamics can influence the emergence of adaptive governance in Lake Victoria’s fisheries. By examining the legitimate and informal sources of power, through three case studies in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, we demonstrate that i) while the official discourse is supportive of power sharing between governments and fishers in co-management institutions, power, instead has been eroded away from local fishers and local governments, ii) Newer actors such as the military, police, and coast guard in the co-management system are not recognized by official policy, but are highly influential and powerful, supported by an increasingly authoritarian state. The article concludes that for adaptive governance to emerge, co-management institutions need to be responsive, flexible and supportive of accountability, transparency, and inclusivity. However, the destruction and weakening of co-management institutions and the delegitimizing of local authorities makes power sharing impossible, severely constraining the emergence of adaptive governance in Lake Victoria’s fisheries."

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