Learning from 20 Years of Small-Scale Fisheries Co-Management in Africa

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In small-scale fisheries (SSFs), co-management is emerging as one of the most promising and common governance approaches available to managers. In developing contexts, co-management has been implemented as part of the broader development shift toward participatory methods and devolutions of authority that took place in the 1990s. Yet, since that first shift in development thinking toward participation and decentralization, there has been a tremendous amount of scholarship on SSF management and governance that critiques and builds upon these new participatory foundations. This meta-analysis examines the literature on SSF co-management in Africa from the past 20 years to identify how those new perspectives and methods have altered the type of issues we identify with systems. Using 91 articles from both the academic and gray literature that evaluate and assess co-management systems or projects in Africa, this study identifies eight major cluster of similar problems identified in co-management systems over the last 20 years. The findings show that diagnoses of SSF co-management issues in Africa have remained stable over time, between academic and practitioners, and across geographies. Issues have been observed at similar rates, with the most common diagnoses being Blueprint Implementation, Lack of Capacity, and Lack of Accountability, regardless of time period. By distilling key issues for a region that is underrepresented in co-management reviews, this paper helps focus future analyses and better guide future co-management initiatives in the region.





Baker, Colleen (2021). Learning from 20 Years of Small-Scale Fisheries Co-Management in Africa. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22699.

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