Participation in artisanal fisheries management for improved livelihoods in West Africa with cases from Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea and Ghana is a study on participation in fisheries management as a means of ensuring sustainable fisheries livelihoods.
It was undertaken between March and August, 2001 for the FAO executed Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme (SFLP) or GCP/INT/735/UK, in collaboration with the FAO Fisheries Department Medium Term Programme Promotion of Coastal Fisheries Management (MTP 234 A4). The SFLP is executed in partnership with 25 countries in West Africa. It has as its objective the alleviation of poverty in fisheries communities through improved capital assets (whether natural, social, financial or other resources) and the creation of an enabling institutional environment for sustainable livelihoods in fisheries. The Medium Term Programme Promotion of Coastal Fisheries Management has as its objective to analyse fishery management schemes, with special attention for participatory approaches, and to record and disseminate lessons learnt. The focus of both Programmes is on artisanal fisheries.
The present study thus aims to derive and disseminate lessons learnt on fisher participation in fisheries management in West Africa as well as ways of supporting livelihoods through responsible fisheries management.
Sustainable fisheries livelihoods and responsible fisheries management are important issues in West Africa, and world wide. Fisheries is a growing sector contributing to employment, nutrition, trade, foreign exchange earnings, local development, etc. The SFLP estimates that, in the West African region, 5.3 million peoples livelihoods depend directly on fish resources (inland as well as marine). Marine fish landings are estimated at 1.1 million tonnes annually.
But fish resources are finite and cannot continue to sustain the trend of ever increasing catches. There is a need for responsible fisheries management to ensure that in the future a large number of people can continue to earn their livelihoods from the fisheries sector. Active involvement of the fishers themselves (as well as other stakeholder groups) is an essential element in responsible fisheries management so as to ensure that the interests of those whose livelihoods depend on fisheries are protected and that the management measures will gain wide acceptance among fishers.
There are ongoing management efforts in West Africa. States in the region have adopted legislation aimed at regulating fishing activities over the last ten years or so. This legislation often has specific sections defining the involvement of fishers in official fisheries management. In some areas, fishers organize themselves to regulate their own fishing activities. These efforts are the object of the current study.
1.1.3 Study objectives
The general objective of this study is to identify ways of supporting participatory fisheries management in artisanal marine fisheries, in order to achieve sustainable livelihoods for artisanal fishers.
Under the general objective for this study, three specific objectives were formulated. These are to identify:
the role of artisanal fishers and government in marine fisheries management,
issues and constraints in existing marine fisheries management,
the effect of marine fisheries management on artisanal fisheries livelihoods.
The interpretation of the key terms for the purpose of this study are explained in the box below:
Explanation of key terms
Artisanal - There is no satisfactory definition of artisanal in the sense of artisanal fisheries. Some very general parameters do exist, but even these are open to discussion. For example, in social and economic terms, artisanal fisheries sometimes implies the use of family-labour and limited investments, but this is certainly not true in many cases. The use of criteria such as technical and financial means of operating, the distances covered, or number of days at sea are not good indicators either. Although artisanal fisheries is generally taken to mean any non-industrial fisheries, some are almost semi-industrial.
The artisanal fisheries in the present study also vary and are not easily defined. However, very generally it can be said that the vessels consist of relatively large canoes (up to around 20m in length), with outboard engines and sometimes ice on board, which may or may not stay out at sea for several days. Owners, crew, fish processors and fish-mongers may come from the same community, and are often, though not always, related. The catch is used both for the internal market and for exports.
Fisheries management - Fisheries management is (T)he integrated process of information gathering, analysis, planning, consultation, decision-making, allocation of resources and formulation and implementation, with enforcement as necessary, of regulations or rules which govern fisheries activities in order to ensure the continued productivity of the resources and accomplishment of other fisheries objectives. (FAO, 1997: 7).
Fishers - In this study, the term fishers refers to all those directly deriving a livelihood from fishing and related activities, including boat owners, crew, those processing and selling fish.
Marine fisheries - Marine fisheries refers to fishing activity in the coastal or ocean environment. Lagoons and inland waters are not taken into account in this study.
Livelihoods - A livelihood is defined as comprising ...the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base. (DFID, 1998: 4)
1.1.4 Underlying assumptions
The objective and justification for this study indicate a number of underlying assumptions. These are:
overfishing is prevalent and negatively affects artisanal fishers livelihoods;
responsible fisheries management is required to address this problem;
responsible fisheries management requires the active involvement of artisanal fishers;
active involvement of artisanal fishers improves the effectiveness of fisheries management measures;
effective fisheries management measures will improve artisanal fisheries livelihoods.
These assumptions to some extent form the basis of the SFLP programme, which combines the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Both of these, and the origin of the assumptions, will be explained in Section 1.3.
1.2.1 Information gathering and analysis
Four SFLP reports form the basis for this study. The four reports have as their topic the participation of fisher communities in Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) mechanisms and cover Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea and Ghana. In addition to these reports, a number of interviews and field visits were carried out in Senegal and Ghana, where legal texts and regulations concerning fisheries management were studied.
The information was analysed with the three specific objectives in mind. First of all, a general overview was made of the situation of small-scale marine fisheries and of marine fisheries management, in order to clarify:
artisanal fisher stakeholder groups and their representation,
the organization of the fisheries administration and existing forms of involving artisanal fishers in official fisheries management,
formal and informal rules regulating artisanal fishing.
Secondly, ten of the case studies presented in the four country reports on MCS were taken as specific examples of artisanal marine fisheries management mechanisms. They were divided into two groups - cases on surveillance at sea and cases on controls at landing sites - and analysed for the following aspects:
the organization and functioning of the mechanism (strengths and weaknesses),
the roles of artisanal fishers and the government in setting up, executing and enforcing the mechanism, and
the interaction between the mechanisms and artisanal fisheries livelihoods.
This analysis is reflected in the structure of the document (see Section 1.4).
In terms of programming, the entire process of preparation of this study spans two years. The research for and writing of the MCS reports for Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea and Ghana were carried out between August 2000 and March 2001. In March and April 2001, ten case studies from these reports were analysed at FAO Headquarters in Rome. A start was made with the general overview. The additional interviews, field visits and analysis of legal texts in Senegal and Ghana were carried out in the last week of June and the first week of July 2001. The draft report, written up in Rome in August 2001, was circulated for comments and improved upon, and other drafts were circulated again in early 2002. The final version of the report was sent to be published in August 2002.
1.3.1 A joint perspective
The SFLP programme is based on the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) and uses FAOs Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) as a major policy reference. The CCRF forms the framework for FAOs work on fisheries management. The perspective of the present study comes jointly from the SLA and the CCRF, which is why it is important to touch briefly on what they consist of, and what the relationships are between the two.
1.3.2 The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA)
The SLA is a framework for the analysis of livelihoods and the elements that contribute to or constrain them. The framework is shown in the diagram below:
The sustainable livelihoods framework
In SLA, the resources people can draw on for their livelihoods (be they social, human, financial, physical or natural) are called livelihood assets or livelihood capitals. The livelihood strategies people pursue are the ways in which they use the livelihood capitals to try to ensure a stable income and a better life for themselves and their families. The strategies are influenced by policies, institutions and processes, that is, rules, organizations, customs etc., which determine access to the livelihood capitals. Shocks, trends and other influences outside peoples control affect their livelihoods and livelihood strategies. This is known as the vulnerability context. The result of the combination of capitals, policies, institutions, processes, vulnerability context and livelihood strategies are termed livelihood outcomes. Definitions of these terms are given in the box below.
Definitions of SLA terms
Livelihood capitals These concern the resources and other assets that people can draw upon for reaching their livelihood outcomes. Five livelihood capitals are distinguished - see below (adapted from DFID, 1998: 4-9.)
Livelihood strategies are the range and combination of activities and choices that communities and individuals undertake to achieve their livelihood outcomes (adapted from the Terms of Reference for the national case studies on MCS and DFID, 1998: 4-9).
The vulnerability context encompasses the trends, shocks, seasonality and other external factors which affect livelihoods, e.g. population trends, economic growth, natural disaster, illness, conflict, seasonality in prices and employment (adapted from the Terms of Reference for the national case studies on MCS and DFID, 1998: 4-9).
Policies, institutions and processes, taken together, form the context within which individuals and households construct and adapt livelihood strategies. As such, the PIP dimension of the SL framework embraces complex issues concerning participation, power, authority, governance, laws, policies, public service delivery and social relations as influenced by gender, caste, ethnicity, age and so on. In effect, they determine the freedom that people have to transform their assets into livelihoods outcomes. (DFID, SL Guidance sheets, October 2001).
Livelihood outcomes are the objectives that communities and individuals actually achieve (adapted from the Terms of Reference for the national case studies on MCS and DFID, 1998: 4-9).
Linking these terms to fisheries and fisheries livelihoods for this study, the policies, institutions and processes that are particularly relevant are those relating to fisheries management, such as international agreements on fishing, official fisheries directorates, policies and laws. They also include informal, local rules and customs that regulate fishing practices. Finally, they include decentralization-related issues as a major process towards increased participation of people in resources management (whether natural, human, social, financial or physical resources). Human and social capital are important for this study as they represent the networks, organizational structures and skills needed for effective fisheries management. The vulnerability context consists of such changes as variations in demand for certain types of fish, changes in costs of inputs, increasing scarcity of fish resources, conflicts over fish resources and the risks involved in the fishing-related professions.
1.3.3 FAOs Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF)
The CCRF establishes principles and standards applicable to the conservation, management and development of all fisheries. It is non-binding instrument, but states are encouraged to apply the principles and standards defined in them. The CCRF complements existing international instruments on fisheries and the environment.
In support of the implementation of Article 7 of the Code, Fisheries Management Technical Guidelines have been produced providing a background to the need for fisheries management, the major constraints and concepts. The Guidelines address the need for information for fisheries management decisions, how to collect and interpret these data, as well as a range of possible management actions. The management process is also examined, including, for example, consultation and co-operative decision making. The box below illustrates the contents of the Guidelines. Both the SFLP and Medium Term Programme Promotion of Coastal Fisheries Management base their work in fisheries management on the CCRF and its Technical Guidelines, so these technical guidelines form the background against which the information in this study was analysed.
FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries - Fisheries management
2. Management data and information requirements and use
3. Management measures and approaches
4. The management process
1.3.4 Links between SLA and the CCRF
The CCRF and the SLA are complementary. The CCRF recognizes that sustainable livelihoods is one of the fundamental reasons for implementing fisheries management, as evidenced by the following statement in its Introduction:
Livelihood issues and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
Fisheries... provide a vital source of food, employment, recreation, trade and economic well-being for people throughout the world, both for present and future generations, and should therefore be conducted in a responsible manner.... The Code recognizes the nutritional, economic, social, environmental and cultural importance of fisheries and the interests of all those concerned with the fishery sector. The Code takes into account the biological characteristics of the resources and their environment and the interests of consumers and other users.... (FAO, 1995, p.1)
The CCRF lays down a series of standards and principles which all persons and institutions concerned with fisheries are called on (or have begun) to take into account. This often requires the adjustment of PIP process for responsible and more equitable fisheries. Since the CCRF is a voluntary policy instrument, its implementation must be based on a collective and consensual approach, involving stakeholders at every level (from micro to macro) of decision-making.
The objective of fisheries management, the CCRF and its Technical Guidelines is to promote responsible fisheries, including the reduction of the vulnerability of fisheries communities to fluctuations in fish resources, conflicts over those resources, the loss of rights to exploit the resources, the loss of social rights, and so on. Beyond this objective, the CCRF provides the basis for better governance in fisheries, against the background of a better articulation between States and civil society in their pursuit of a common objective: that of sustainable fisheries management. The above illustrate that fisheries management and poverty alleviation can be mutually supportive.
The SLA and the CCRF have many complementarities and similarities, in terms of principles, objectives and the approach to planning. They both aim to improve livelihoods in fisheries (with emphasis on fisheries management in the case of the CCRF) through national and local policy and institutional reforms, stakeholder participation, and sustainable fishing practices. It is on these principles, objectives and approach that the underlying assumptions of this study (Section 1.1.4 and the box below) are based.
Reminder of the underlying assumptions of the objectives
· Overfishing is prevalent and negatively affects artisanal fishers livelihoods.
· Responsible fisheries management is required to address this problem.
· Responsible fisheries management requires the active involvement of artisanal fishers.
· Active involvement of artisanal fishers improves the effectiveness of fisheries management measures.
· Effective fisheries management improves artisanal fishers livelihoods.
In the Introduction (Section 1), the context of the study, the methodology and the SFLP and TP 234 A4 philosophy and approaches were presented.
The rest of the study is divided into two sets of analyses which were explained in the Methodology. The first part of the study concerns the general overview of artisanal fisheries (Section 2) and of fisheries administration and management (Section 3) in the marine sector. These two Sections aim to to clarify the three points mentioned earlier:
artisanal fisher stakeholder groups (Section 2.2) and their representation (Section 2.3),
the organization of the fisheries administration (Section 3.1) and existing forms of involving artisanal fishers in official fisheries management (Section 3.2),
formal and informal rules regulating artisanal fishing (Section 3.3)
The second part of the study concerns the ten case studies, and starts with an introduction and broad description (Sections 4.1 and 4.2). Then the cases are analysed as explained in the Methodology. In other words:
their strengths and weaknesses (Section 5.1).
the respective roles of artisanal fishers and the government in various phases of the mechanism (Section 5.2).
the process of interaction between the fisheries management mechanisms and artisanal fisheries livelihoods (Section 5.3).
Note to the reader
Each Section starts with Main points in this section, with one important statement and several sub-points to orient the reader.
Each Section ends with a short section called Implications for livelihoods-centred fisheries management, which gives suggestions as to how the issues dealt with in that Section could be improved from a sustainable livelihoods point of view.
The tendencies in support of as well as those against more livelihoods-centred fisheries management are briefly summarized in Section 6.1.
Section 6.1 also revisits the assumptions in the light of the findings of the study.
In Section 6.2 recommendations are made for ways of supporting responsible fisheries management in artisanal (marine) fisheries while aiming to achieve sustainable livelihoods for artisanal fishers.
As most of the data for this study was collected in Senegal and Ghana, the reader will notice a greater emphasis of the study on these two countries than on Mauritania and Guinea.
|  The term livelihoods is
explained in the box on the next page. Pages 5 and 6 give an overview of
the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach.
 The expected outputs of the project can be found in Annex 1.
 To date, the Technical Project has published two studies:
 data from the SFLP
 DFID, 1998.
 FAO, 1995.
 FAO, 1997.
 For guidelines on fisheries management, see also Cochrane (ed.), 2002.
 In November 2001, in Cotonou, Bénin, the FAO held a meeting of the FAO Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research Working Party on Poverty in Small-scale Fisheries, where the links between the CCRF, SLA and poverty were discussed in detail. The results of the meeting will become available as an FAO Fisheries Report.