Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

Locally managed fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean : a review of past and present initiatives

Locally managed fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean : a review of past and present initiatives

This report served as a background situation analysis for the project “Designing a Regional Network for Western Indian Ocean Local Fisheries Management to Build Community Capacity and Governance Frameworks”, funded through the MacArthur Foundation, which aimed to design a regional network for locally managed fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), and ran from April 2014 to February 2017. The purpose of such a network would be to facilitate wider and more rapid uptake of effective and replicable local fisheries management approaches.
Small-scale coastal fisheries are vital for the livelihoods, food security and well-being of coastal communities throughout the WIO, yet they continue to be challenged by over-exploitation, mismanagement, ecological degradation and climate change. Small-scale fisheries supply 93 – 98 % of the marine catch and are the principal income generating activity for a large number of coastal households (Samoilys et al., 2015). Industrial offshore fisheries on the other hand, contribute to export revenues accounting <15% of the national economy (Walmsley et al., 2006). In addition, despite the high dependence of coastal communities in the WIO on these fisheries, coastal communities have historically had limited participation in their management. This situation is changing as governance of natural resources changes from top-down management to co-management. The project was designed to prepare the groundwork for the establishment of a WIO network, which would create a forum for region-wide small-scale fisheries (SSF) discussions and training opportunities.

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