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Fisheries Co-Management as a Strategy for Contribution to Enhanced Livelihoods and Food Security

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Donda, Steven J.
Conference: Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities, the Eleventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Conf. Date: June 19-23, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2360
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
food policy
Abstract: "Fisheries co-management as understood in Malawi refers to the participation of fishing communities and the Department of Fisheries in the management of fishery resources. Community participation in natural resource management can take different forms ranging from where the government (or managing authority) takes much of the control, in what is commonly termed top-down or instructive to where the communities take full control of resource management. Experiences in Malawi have shown that, while the development and formulation of co-management policy and strategies directly centered on fisheries conservation, the impact of such strategies has been enhanced livelihood and improved food security in some water bodies where co-management has been introduced. This paper presents results of field research work in Lake Chiuta where co-management policy and strategies developed by the Department of Fisheries with consultation of the user community has yielded extra results. Lake Chiuta, has been under the control of local people with 'de-facto' territorial user rights until of late, when co- management was introduced in the mid 1990s. Following this introduction, the Chiuta fishing communities have claimed improved livelihood and enhanced food security as being due to the introduction of co-management in the area. These results are based on the premise that the Chiuta community have a comprehensive understanding of their fishery resource, such that outsiders are not allowed to introduce fishing gears that will disturb the ecological balance of the fishery resource. In this case beach seine nets are not allowed in the lake. Co-management was therefore introduced in the lake to provide legal basis for the exclusion of beach seine net fishers. The policy implication from this study is that comanagement should not only be viewed as a conservation measure but also as a development strategy."

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