The effectiveness of community-based governance of small-scale fisheries, Ngazidja island, Comoros

Journal Article

© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Conventional top-down, exogenous approaches to fisheries management have been ineffective in more traditional and small-scale fisheries. Yet, there remains little understanding of the effectiveness of alternative approaches. This case-study of small-scale fisheries in the Comoros examines how effective local fishing associations are at managing common fisheries resources, and provides some understanding of the underlying characteristics of effectiveness. Emphasis is placed on assessing governance effectiveness according to characteristics appropriate within the local context, and on suggesting ways to enhance local institutional strength and capacity to manage resources. Qualitative methods were used to collect data on local governance structures and management tools, fishers' knowledge and beliefs, and perceptions of the status of fisheries resources in four major fishing villages on the island of Ngazidja. Results show that fisheries management in the Comoros is informally shared between the State fisheries department, a national fishing syndicate, and village fishing associations. Village fishing associations play an active role in fisheries management by collectively designing, monitoring, and enforcing local regulations. Compliance with local regulations is high, primarily due to participatory decision-making, community-monitoring, and strong feelings of solidarity among fishers. Perceptions of the benefits of these regulations are also high. This suggests that by working within these pre-established informal management systems, collective governance of common pool resources can be achieved within communities, and feelings of empowerment and shared responsibility among resource users can lead to effective management practices.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hauzer, M; Dearden, P; Murray, G

Published Date

  • 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 38 /

Start / End Page

  • 346 - 354

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0308-597X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.marpol.2012.06.012