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Conflicts Among Resource Users: The Case of Kabangaja Fishing and Farming Community on Lake Victoria (Tanzania)

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Medard, Modesta; Geheb, Kim; Obeyo-Owuor, J. B.
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Globalisation, the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Conf. Date: June 17-21, 2002
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/677
Sector: Fisheries
Social Organization
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
Lake Victoria
Abstract: "This paper explores the conflict between two ethnic groups in a fishery: migrant Ha fishermen that have settled on the shores of Lake Victoria; and resident Sukuma people. In Tanzania, changes have been made to the formal managerial structure of Lake Victoria's fisheries which have introduced so-called Beach Management Units (BMUs) to most fishing communities around Tanzanias sector of the lake. These have been seen as a way of delegating some responsibilities for the management of the resource base to communities. The BMU strategy of fisheries regulations expects fishing communities to enforce government fisheries regulations. As such, there is no community involvement in the design nor implementation of the regulations with which their BMUs are charged with enforcing. It is this external intervention that has opened up old wounds in the competing claims over the resource base at the study site examined in this paper, Kabangaja. "The conflicts that permeate Kabangajas communities are multi-dimensional (as many resource use conflicts are), and are based on land (space), fisheries management, economic and socio-cultural factors. These problems have exacerbated efforts to implement the BMU managerial strategy and, conversely, the introduction of the BMU at Kabangaja has exacerbated the community's internal conflicts. "Considering the importance of these issues and the lack of information on the linkages between fisheries policies and conflicts, this paper concludes that it is important for the fishing industry in Tanzania to look closely examine these conflicts. They are crucial in the understanding of the social processes that may one day generate the sustainable management of the fishery. Conflict should not be viewed as the dysfunctional relationship between resources user groups to be avoided at all costs, but as the constructive change and growth of society."

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