A decade of fisheries co-management in Africa: Going back to the roots? Empowering fishing communities? Or just an illusion?
Nielsen, Jesper R
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This paper provides an overview of co-management in Africa and the historical, political and paradigmatic reasons for the shift. The historical context is important when analysing the performance of the regime. The main reasons why co-management is being increasingly adopted in Africa are explained by analysing the objectives hereof. The paper evaluates what is meant by co-management in the African context using the variety of types of user involvement in practice and the standard continuum of possible arrangements under the co-management regime. Next, it will look at how co-management is being implemented, including whether it is achieving the objectives it is supposed to achieve. The final section will discuss and draw some lessons from the co-management experience on the continent. The paper draws on experiences from southern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe), East Africa (Lake Victoria grouping ñ Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) and West Africa (Benin, Congo, Ivory Coast, Senegal, etc.) where co-management arrangements in fisheries have been or are in the process of being implemented. In most of these countries, fisheries co-management is a relatively new approach that has only been formally introduced in the last five to eight years. The comparative analysis of the cases at this early stage could give indications of what seem to be the critical issues in the planning and implementation of fisheries co-management arrangements in Africa.