Local-scale governance: a review of the Zambian approach to fisheries management

Despite Zambia’s recent policies for optimizing sustainable management of fisheries, their success has been modest in practice. Artisanal and industrial fleets have led to decline in fish catches in the presence of currently prescribed management possibilities. Among other factors, excessive fishing and unsustainable fishing methods attributed to common property and free access to the resources are key. The country adopted co-management approach to fisheries management in the 1990s with a view to improve the fisheries stocks through community enforcement of fishery management regulations. Neither the success of co-management has been easy to measure nor its results appreciated. In view of overfishing, it is required to continue providing a range of empirical evidence of area-specific co-management interventions as basis for designing realistic and innovative solutions for the nation. This implies that new policies and institutions need to be developed by research to understand fisheries systems and better promote sustainable trajectories. The following review recommendation to central government is a coherent approach that uses and crystallizes the multiple interests and skills of co-management stakeholders. Most stakeholder groups have been involved in an ad hoc fashion through workshops, public meetings and consultative processes mainly organized by Department of Fisheries. Stakeholders should be involved from the design of the process to each step in the process, including the ongoing monitoring and evaluation. A form of memorandum of understanding is suggested. This will formally set out a process that acknowledges each stakeholder’s interests and provide forums to facilitate discussion, consultation and monitoring of management activities.
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Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Journal Articles
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Open Access
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Web resource