Implementation of fisheries co-management in Mweru- Luapula fishery, Northern Zambia.

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Kaluma, Ketiwe
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The University of Zambia
The introduction of Co- management in Mweru- Luapula fishery in the early 1990’s by the Department of Fisheries (DOF) aimed at replacing exclusionary state control. However, lack of supporting legislation and funding in most fisheries led to its collapse. Currently, co-management legislation exists through the Fisheries Act No. 22 of 2011. The study aimed to examine co- management implementation in Mweru- Luapula fishery by evaluating the performance of Village Fisheries Management Committees (VFMCs), analyzing participation of fishers in management activities and assessing fisher compliance to fisheries regulations. Data were collected through structured interviews with 64 respondents, five focus group discussions and two key informant interviews with a traditional leader and an official from the Department of Fisheries in Nchelenge district. Ostrom’s eight design principles and Pretty’s typology of participation were used to analyze the performance of the VFMC and fisher participation respectively. Thematic and content analysis was employed to analyze the data. Results show that despite the existence of a VFMC structure, failure to host elections since co- management inception suggests the possibility of ‘elite capture’ by the local leadership. A passive type of participation exists with only 11 percent of respondents attributing the by- law formulation process to the Department of Fisheries and fishers. Despite majority (92 percent) of respondents indicating awareness of the prescribed gear, fishers are undeterred from using illegal fishing gear owing to low penalty charges imposed on offenders and failure to integrate fishers in monitoring fellow fishers’ activities. Weak enforcement of fishery regulations and a lack of clearly defined property rights by the fishing community therefore indicate poor implementation of the co- management system in Mweru- Luapula fishery. Therefore by sensitizing artisan fishers and the fishing community on their rights and duties in the co- management system and engaging them through dialogue in planning and decision- making, co- management can be revived. Future studies can therefore explore the role of Fishing Associations and how they can be integrated in co- management plans.
Thesis of Master of Science in Environmental and Natural Resources Management.