Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


3.1 How is the fisheries administration organized?

3.1.1 Main points in this section

Fisheries management and participatory approaches require clear and coherent structures, responsibilities, and processes, but fisheries administrations’ role is actually becoming more diffuse.

3.1.1 Structure of national fisheries departments

At the top of the organizational hierarchy of the fisheries administration is a Ministry responsible for fisheries management, which sets out policies and makes fisheries regulations. Until very recently, Ministries responsible for fisheries in Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea and Ghana also had non-fisheries responsibilities (e.g. in Ghana, fisheries fell under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture). However, at the time of the fieldwork, all four countries had a Minister specifically responsible for fisheries activities. Under the Ministry the Directorates for Fisheries plans and carry out fisheries development and management activities. The box below gives the organizational structure of the ministry of fisheries and aquaculture in Guinea, as reproduced in the report on Guinea (written early 2001).

Organizational structure of the Ministry of Fisheries in Guinea

The Directorates for Fisheries normally have representations at lower administrative levels. Units, which can either be independent directorates or sub-divisions of the directorate, usually exist for specific tasks, such as research or surveillance.

The ministries and other administrative structures for fisheries have been subject to frequent changes, either merging or separating with other administrative structures, or having new units added on. Although the aim is to make divisions of tasks clearer, the result is that it often complicates them, especially as one reorganization follows closely on another. The box below gives the example of a series of administrative changes that have taken place in Ghana over the last five years or so.

Changes in the fisheries administration in Ghana

In Ghana the Directorate for Fisheries was merged into the Ministry for Food and Agriculture (MOFA) several years back. At the same time a process of decentralization started (see next section). The fisheries administration thus became part of a wider agricultural unit at the same time as seeing its tasks shifted from general authority in fisheries to technical support to decentralized institutions. This has resulted in staff now being expected to work on agricultural issues as well as fisheries issues. Where they used to work together with other colleagues at the Directorate, they now often find themselves alone in a rural area, without sufficient technical support and financial resources to do their work.

But these were not the only changes. A World Bank-Government of Ghana Sub-sector Capacity Building Project started in 1996. This has resulted in the modification of the organizational structure of the Directorate of Fisheries. A Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Unit (MCS Unit) was created in the process. Other administrative changes since then have resulted in the creation of a Fisheries Commission, in parallel to that for forestry and other natural resources. Arbitration Committees have also been created at Regional and National levels. The MCS Unit, the Arbitration Committees and the Fisheries Commission are all responsible for dealing with conflicts in fisheries, but the division of tasks between and mechanisms for collaboration amongst them is not completely clear.

Since a Minister of Fisheries was sworn in in February of 2001, it would appear that fisheries is again going to receive special attention, separate from agricultural issues. However, there is no Ministry for Fisheries.

At the time of the field visit, the organigram of the fisheries administration was uncertain and in the process of being reviewed.

In the example given, until the organigram and current structure of the fisheries administration is worked out, communication procedures, responsibilities and so on will remain unclear. Although reorganizations may be necessary, the number and frequency of the changes has complicated the task of fisheries management. The example from Ghana is illustrative of processes going on in all four of the countries studied.

3.1.2 Decentralization[23] and local level fisheries administration

Because decentralization can support the development of local or regional fisheries management mechanisms, it is important to describe the process in some detail here. It should be kept in mind that the decentralization processes in Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea and Ghana have not yet been completed.

As was mentioned in the example of Ghana, decentralization processes of recent years have caused the functions of the fisheries administration to shift from general authority in fisheries to technical assistance to decentralized institutions. The relationship between central, regional and local levels of government has thus changed. Often, that means that fisheries staff may no longer act independently from staff in other areas. They find they have several “bosses” to answer to: instead of being steered by the Directorate of Fisheries at national level, they now depend upon decisions taken at the lower administrative levels as well as on the advice from the Directorate of Fisheries. Sometimes the messages staffs receive from both parties are not compatible.

The decentralization processes were intended to permit staff at the lower levels more flexibility in planning and carrying out activities with fisher communities. However, sufficient funds and staff at local levels have not accompanied the decentralization of responsibilities. In addition, communications and information is not always passed to the lower levels, as national fisheries administration staff fear loss of influence and decision making power. The other way around, staff at local level is not always clear who to ask for technical support, funds, or permission to undertake an activity. These issues naturally constrain what activities local fisheries staff is able to undertake.

The above issues are complicated even further where local, decentralized staff falls under wider administrative bodies, such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana. There, local level administrations and their staff have to be polyvalent, carrying out tasks including fisheries, animal husbandry, crop production, and forestry. According to those interviewed, this often leads to one or more of these tasks getting less attention than it should, depending on the capabilities, area of expertise and preference of the local head of the administration. Fisheries is typically an area that gets little attention, because few local administrators have a fisheries background and as a result are unfamiliar with the issues involved.

Thus, the decentralization, which through delegating planning and activities to local level could support local and regional fisheries management activities, is in some cases having the effect of reducing support for fisheries management. None of the fisheries administrations appear to have specific extension units that can raise awareness about fisheries management issues or show fishers alternatives for fisheries management. Local staff is not in a position to provide the support or facilitation they would like to communities’ organizations and fisheries management initiatives. Local structures with no experience in fisheries management suddenly become responsible for it in their region. This will obviously have to change if responsible fisheries management is to take place.

3.1.3 Other agencies involved in fisheries management

The descriptions above have concentrated on fisheries institutes and their staff. However, it is also common for non-fisheries agencies to be involved in activities related to artisanal fisheries management. For example, the national Navy, the Airforce, Maritime and Port authorities, and sometimes marine park authorities (see case study in Mauritania, Section 4.2.4) may have mandates for safeguarding the national waters, ensuring sea safety, preventing use of gear damaging to the environment, giving out licences, etc..

When conflicts arise over fisheries matters, an even greater number of government agencies generally become involved. Local government authorities, the police, arbitration committees and courts have a part to play in dispute settlement and law enforcement. To complicate matters, the different institutes may themselves have disagreements about their mandates and roles in fisheries matters.

As will become clear from the case studies later in this report, this multitude of organizations with overlapping mandates or disagreements between them can lead to long procedures or inactivity in the face of an incident. Sometimes corruption results: fishers involved in a dispute may prefer to use ‘incentives’ rather than to become involved in very long and unclear legal procedures with uncertain outcomes.

As will be seen in the case studies later on, these authorities could have an important function in reducing fishers’ vulnerability by regulating fishing activities. In practice, however, the result is that fishers’ vulnerability is increased through lack of transparency and inconsistent application of fisheries regulations.

3.1.2 Implications for livelihoods-centred fisheries management

The description in this section shows that there are a number of structures in place and processes going on that could favour decentralized fisheries management. However, there is a clear need for awareness raising about the importance of fisheries management as well as capacity building about the ways in which this could be achieved at the decentralized levels. The Directorates of Fisheries and fisheries projects and programmes can play an important role in this process. The awareness raising and capacity building should target decision-makers and technical staff at local and regional level especially, and involve those national and local staff that already have a fishery background. Bringing together local level and national level staff would have the added advantage that each party better understands the position, role and working conditions of the other, and could create a common understanding of objectives and mechanisms of fisheries management.

Another point that derives from this Section is that livelihoods-centred fisheries management should not only concentrate on the fishers that should be managing their fishing activities, but also on the authorities and processes that are supposed to serve them in this task. In this area, fisheries agencies could identify possibilities for streamlining communication and information for effective fisheries management. This should especially be done on issues where a number of different authorities are responsible, such as enforcement, and where collaboration is essential. For example, the Directorates of Fisheries, in partnership with the relevant agencies, could identify where the constraints lie in coordination on issues like licensing, controlling access, conflict management, and sea safety, and how collaboration could be improved to increase effectiveness.

However, it is also clear that in some cases a change in attitude is needed within the agencies[24], from central authority on a certain task, to service providers (of the same task) for fishers and other stakeholders. It happens that fisheries staff at national levels feels that decentralization means that power and importance is being taken away from them. But in a decentralized system national-level coordination and support to decentralized levels is an essential task for the system to function. In addition, some of the administrative tasks, which previously burdened the national-level staff, can be carried out by decentralized levels, so facilitating the former’s work. The decentralized staff gets the extra administrative work, but should also get more freedom to plan and act locally. Both parties can therefore gain from decentralization. Fisheries agencies could do case studies, support the collection of best practices, and organize workshops on specific issues for fisheries staff to exchange experiences and find ways of further improving their work.

3.2 What are the existing mechanisms for collaboration?

3.2.1 Main points in this section

Fishers often have an advisory role in formal fisheries management. Their contribution to fisheries management is actually broader, especially in implementation stage, but not always formally recognized.

3.2.2 Consultation mechanisms for planning or decision making

At the stage of formulation of plans or decision making for fisheries management, fishers’ organizations have a consultative role. From the reports on Mauritania, Senegal and Ghana (the situation for Guinea is not described) it is clear that this generally happens through advisory or consultative councils. The example from Mauritania is explained below:

Consultative bodies for the formulation of policies and regulations in Mauritania

In Mauritania, fisher representatives are consulted before decision-making on fisheries matters through the Consultative Council for Marine Fisheries (CCPM) and the National Federation of Fisheries (FNP). The former exists since 1989 and consists of representatives of the administration, professional association, the national research institute and the Parc National du Banc d’Arguin (PNBA) national park (one of the case study areas). The FNP was created in 1995 related to a crisis in the squid fisheries, the most important fisheries in terms of income and employment. The federation has the additional task of making its members aware of new policies and regulations.

This example shows that the councils also include stakeholders other than fishers. In terms of numbers of fishers in the councils, two examples can be given from Ghana. The Fisheries Advisory Council (FAC), established in 1991, is composed of 20 members of whom 5 represent fishers’ interests. The Fisheries Commission, created in 1993, consists of 17 members out of whom 3 represent fishers’ interests. Both include representatives of artisanal and industrial fisheries.

Finally, in Senegal, the Fisheries Act of 1998[25] creates the National Advisory Council for Marine Fisheries. It provides for the establishment of consultative councils at the local level. Establishment of Local Councils is currently (July 2001) under process. It is intended that members of local councils for fisheries will include individual artisanal fishers, artisanal fishers associations, fishmongers, fish processors and representatives of the local administration. They will advise the Minister responsible for fisheries on all artisanal fishing related matters within their region, ensure that artisanal fishers are informed about conservation and management measures.

The country reports for Mauritania, Senegal and Ghana do not specify what issues these councils deal with: whether it is identifying and agreeing on objectives for fisheries management, formulating management plans, determining appropriate mechanisms, evaluating the possible impact of a measure or on the means of monitoring, control, surveillance or enforcement, or other issues. The creation of local councils for fisheries such as in Senegal is part of the decentralization processes described earlier in this document. However, from the description it would appear that they remain in a consultative and advisory role, and are not expected to go into implementation.

In many instances, a lot of time elapses between the moment a fisheries law or regulation is elaborated and the time it is formally approved and adopted. This may take years. For instance, a new Fisheries Bill in Ghana, which had been prepared 4 years earlier, had not yet been submitted to Parliament for review and approval in June 2001. Even when they are approved, fisheries laws are often not enforced, or not on a regular basis, as will become clear in Sections 3.2.3, 3.2.4 and 4.2.

3.2.3 Implementation

The information from the country reports and visits to the field seem to indicate an emphasis on fisheries laws and regulations, rather than on fisheries plans, fisheries policies, and implementation strategies.

Insofar as plans, policies and implementation strategies are referred to in the reports, they appear not to be based on specific artisanal fisheries or take into account different fisher groups. The only distinction made tends to be between artisanal and industrial fisheries. The country reports also indicate that there would seem to be a tendency for the documents to be formulated around the protection of fish stock, the implementation of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance measures or the development of infrastructure (see the next Section and the case studies, Section 4) rather than on limiting access or other management mechanisms. Livelihood concerns and alternative income sources for those negatively impacted by fisheries management measures do not seem to appear in the documents. If this were true, this would be an important omission when considering fisheries management based on the CCRF or on the SLA.

One of the few official efforts to involve fishers in planning and actual implementation of fisheries management measures (rather than being consulted on them) is the joint World Bank - Government of Ghana project called the Fisheries Sub-Sector Capacity Building Project (1996-2001), which has been creating a system of community-based fisheries management. It merits more extensive discussion in this section.

The system of community-based fisheries management, which is based on the concept of the chief fisherman and the council of elders, broadens this concept by attempting to include other stakeholder groups such as fish processors, traders, immigrant groups and poorer members of the fishing community. The functions of the resulting Community Based Fisheries Management Committees (CBFMCs) are to prepare and execute conservation and management measures for fisheries activities. They are intended to regulate the use of fishing gear and access to fisheries in coastal areas adjacent to their communities. Such measures are drafted up in by-laws and submitted to the local District Assembly for review and adoption. In the Central Region, in particular, a number of such by-laws have already been adopted by District Assemblies and are thus officially recognized. This contributes to the strengthening of local fisheries management systems and measures.

To date, the success of the programme varies. Efforts have concentrated on the Central Region, and this is where most CBFMCs have been formed. The case study community of Mumford has played an important role in promoting and assisting the project through awareness raising in the region and peer learning activities. Staff of the fisheries directorate estimates that some 50% of the CBFMCs in the Central Region function reasonably well. The others are having problems with local power struggles over CBFMCs or chief fishermen who feel that the project might undermine their influence. In the rest of the country, awareness of the objectives of the project is lower. Less effort has been put into the creation of the CBFMCs and District Assemblies are hesitant to pass by-laws whose purpose is not clear to them and which they fear will require inputs they do not have. The project is being considered for extension (another five years), but its dependence on a unique source of financing makes its very existence uncertain and therefore the whole system rather fragile.

There are also a number of legal questions. First, it does not seem that the CBFMCs have been formally established; for example, the Fisheries Bill (not yet passed) does not mention the existence of such bodies. As a result, the functions and constitution of these committees have not yet been formally defined, which, as the case studies will illustrate, creates enforcement problems. Second, the extent of the territorial jurisdiction of the local fisheries bylaws is uncertain. Although they can regulate fishery matters in port, fishers’ organization, fish markets, landing sites etc., in principle, the district (and community) jurisdiction does not extend to marine areas. The question is thus: do they have the necessary authority to regulate fishery matters at sea? Third, the legal nature of the decisions made by CBFMCs must be clarified. In practice, it seems that certain decisions made by the CBFMCs are mere recommendations (e.g. proposal of fisheries by-laws), whereas others are binding (e.g. “sentencing” in dispute resolution). Fourth, every by-law passed by a District Assembly must be submitted to the Minister responsible for local government for approval or rejection. In practice, it appears that this procedure is not systematically complied with. It is therefore uncertain whether CBFMC fisheries by-laws are consistent with fisheries (and other) law and regulations. These issues will need to be solved if the CBFMCs are to be sustainable in the long run.

Nevertheless, the use of existing local structures for official fisheries management appears to be unique in marine fisheries management in the four countries.[26] Despite the questions left to solve, many lessons can already be learned from this experience. The Local Councils in Senegal, for example, might be able to benefit from some of the experiences of the CBFMCs.

3.2.4 Monitoring, Control, Surveillance

The apparent emphasis on fisheries laws and regulations, rather than on objectives and policies, has as a consequence that fisheries management in the four countries is concentrated around control and enforcement of fisheries laws, rather than around implementation.

The task of ensuring compliance with fisheries regulations and laws is usually indicated with the generic term Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS). Marine Research Units often have a monitoring task and are expected to advise the ministry on policies. Special Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) units[27] have been established in the last decade, which are primarily responsible for carrying out surveillance operations at sea, and sometimes controls on land. Their aim is to ensure that fisheries law and regulations are complied with by fishing vessels operating within the waters under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the country concerned.

At first, these MCS units were directed exclusively at industrial fishing, but increasingly, the artisanal fisheries are also being included. In these cases, the surveillance aims at keeping industrial vessels out of an inshore zone (defined by law) in which trawling and other industrial fishing is prohibited. The goal of this legislation tends to protect fish resources, but artisanal fishers and even fisheries administrators tend to talk about keeping industrial vessels out of the “artisanal fishing zone”. Although MCS is only a part of the fisheries management process, it would appear from the country reports and from interviews that it is often equated with fisheries management.

Even though it is not generally officially promoted or recognized by law, in practice, artisanal fishers’ communities are involved in MCS activities. In case study communities such as Kayar (Senegal) and Mumford (Ghana), they assist the local fisheries administration in collecting catch data at landing sites for monitoring purposes. In Mumford and Egyan (also a case study community in Ghana), there is also control on whether the mesh size of nets is conform national and local fisheries regulations. Official MCS units tend to be hesitant to give artisanal fishers more than a role as informant. Nevertheless, in practice artisanal fishers assist local fisheries administrations in conducting surveillance operations within coastal areas through the lending of their boats and reporting of illegal activities.

3.2.5 Enforcement and conflict management[28]

In cases of non-compliance with fisheries laws, courts or other agencies can become involved in prosecution and enforcement of sanctions. This aspect, however, tends to be rather weak and is often overlooked in fisheries management in Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea and Ghana. One important area of enforcement of (formal and informal) fisheries regulations is conflict management. Artisanal fishers are often actively involved in this type of enforcement at the local level.

Conflicts occur between artisanal canoes as well as between canoes and industrial vessels. They usually concern accidents at sea, damages of gear, sea safety issues, the use of certain (illegal) gear and incursion of industrial vessels into the “artisanal fishing zone”. These are issues that are also addressed in official laws and regulations. However, fishers often try to solve conflicts at the local level first, through traditional systems such as the chief fishermen and the council of elders.

If the dispute cannot be settled at the local level or if the conflict involves injuries or death, the authorities are notified. Then conflict management usually becomes a long and unsatisfying process for artisanal fishers. The process is as follows: once the accident has been registered and a report made at the local level, it is passed on to the national level, where it is not always clear who has the mandate to settle the conflict or to enforce settlements, so the issue is left unresolved. This is made evident by the example of Guinea in the box below:

Conflict settlement practices in Guinea

In Guinea, conflict settlement practices are rather confusing, as there are three distinct government agencies which claim responsibility: the DNPM, the national fisheries directorate; The CNSP, the national centre for surveillance and protection of fisheries; the ANAM, the national maritime navigation agency.

The DNPM directorate feels it has authority to settle conflicts because it is in charge of managing artisanal and industrial fisheries. The CNSP is of the opinion that conflicts occur because of non-compliance with fishery rules, and the adherence thereto is their responsibility. The ANAM, responsible for safety on maritime and inland waters maintains that conflicts are often caused by accidents and are therefore a safety issue. To complicate the matter, relations between the agencies are often such that it is not likely that one agency will contact another to ask for collaboration on a case. The result is that most cases remain unresolved, there is no settlement and the victim of the conflict remains without compensation. Even where there are settlements, these tend not to be legally binding, so execution of the sanctions is not certain.

This problem in settling conflicts and the lack of clarity about mandates and responsibilities is a recurring theme in the case studies and during the field visit. It basically translates into the fact that fisheries rules and regulations are not effectively enforced. There is therefore little incentive for stakeholders to comply with them.

In response to this, the artisanal fishers and the fisheries administrations are attempting to set up alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The box below is again an example from Guinea:

Alternative conflict resolution mechanisms in Guinea

Parallel to the three settlement options mentioned above, a fishers’ association, namely ANOPECHE, has representatives of both artisanal and industrial fisheries. It is therefore in a good position to try and settle conflicts between members of its association. Fishers interviewed preferred this option, as the process of settlement is quicker and more effective than taking a case to the formal agencies or to court. Unfortunately, ANOPECHE can only settle disputes arising between its members, and few industrial vessel owners and captains adhere to the association.

In Senegal, the Fisheries Act of 1998[29] which creates the Local Councils states that, in addition to consultation on planning, the Local Councils will assist artisanal fishers in organising themselves with a view to reducing conflicts between fishers’ communities and various gear type users and to participating in monitoring and control operations (as described in Section 3.2.2).

The box on the Fisheries Administration in Ghana in Section 3.1 already refers to the Arbitration Committees, which involve chief fishermen, members of the fisheries research institute and other stakeholders. Alternatively, those who feel victim of a conflict can turn to the Fisheries Commission or the Director of Fisheries to have their case heard. But the problem of having no legal backing with which to ensure enforcement of sanctions remains the main weakness with all these alternatives.

This lack of enforcement will have to be tackled by national governments if any fisheries management measures are to be taken seriously by stakeholders. Possibly, the establishment of local fisheries management bodies will draw attention to the matter, and lead to the legal recognition of artisanal fishers’ participation in MCS activities thus strengthening their role in coastal fisheries management.

3.2.6 Implications for livelihoods-centred fisheries management

The description in this section indicates that fishers are already involved in formal fisheries management and that this participation is increasing. Fisheries agencies could improve this further by ensuring that the various fisher groups are represented in these official processes. The official recognition of the role already played by fishers in fisheries management is important, so that increasing participation can build on what already exists.

Furthermore, both fishers and government staff at different levels could be made aware of the different types of participation that exist (for example coercing, persuading, informing, consulting, shared decision-making or catalysing group decisions[30]). In this way, they could come to an agreement as to which level of participation is required for a certain process at a certain time. Different and possibly more accessible (or culturally relevant) ways of participating in different activities could also be researched (e.g. via councils, votes, sub-groups, being part of surveillance missions, etc.). Only if directly interested fisher groups can participate at the appropriate level and in the appropriate way for a certain situation, will they be able to propose fisheries management mechanisms that are practicable for their livelihood systems [31]

For meaningful participation to occur, it is also important that all participating parties have full access to accurate and timely information. Again, the relevant agencies could work with partners on improving information provided from government (all institutes) to fishers and the other way around. Radio programmes, passing information through key persons and organizations such as fisher associations, chief fishermen, local administrators and regular visits by fisheries administrator to the field to talk with fishers are suggestions of way in which this could be done.

Within the process of fisheries management, fisheries agencies should put more emphasis on formulating objectives, policies, implementation and enforcement in a participatory way and with an emphasis on livelihoods aspects. This is likely to make fisheries management more relevant to fisheries’ livelihoods and to make it more effective.

3.3 Which rules regulate artisanal fishing?

3.3.1 Main points in this section

Three important constraints in fisheries management consist of: the balancing of livelihoods and biological sustainability objectives; reconciling the objectives and functioning of formal and informal systems; and the limited means for the implementation and enforcement of formal fisheries management regulations.

3.3.2 Informal, local community rules

At the local level, each fishing community or landing site has its own general set of rules and regulations concerning fishing and related activities. Although these differ from community to community, there are certain common trends in a region or country. Common rules at Ghanaian landing sites are:

In addition, the “Konkohene” - the organization of women fish traders in a community - has rules about price setting and comportment at the beach. Their leader settles disputes in fish trade, represents women in daily price negotiations for fish, oversees occasional cleaning of landing sites and generally ensures some degree of orderliness.

In case of non-compliance or conflicts on land or at sea, the chief fisherman and the council of elders or the women’s organization settle the dispute. Sanctions include fines and, in the worst cases, confiscation of gear, grounding of canoes or barring perpetrators from the use of the local landing site (for both traders and fishers). Where conflicts include persons from different communities, settlement is done in the community where the conflict took place, in the presence of the chief fisherman of this community and the chief fisherman of the community of origin of the accused fisher.

In Senegal, basic rules tend, rather, to occur within fisheries groups active at the landing site. Examples are the Comité de Pêche and the Commission de Surveillance at Kayar which will be discussed in the case studies. Such rules consist of:

The difference between the two types of measures (community or landing site level, and within a group) is clear: the group rules are much more specific (because aimed at one type of fisheries) than the general community ones. Group rules, as will be seen later, are for the most part economically motivated, whereas community rules mainly cover issues of social order. At most, general community rules reinforce national rules on prohibited gear.

Local group rules limiting access to resources, as above, or to fishing grounds are rare (although the case study in Egyan is an exception). This could be because of the perception of the sea as being “for everyone”, because they make little sense unless neighbouring communities apply the same rules, or simply because access rules are difficult to enforce at the local level.

At the national level, only one example was encountered of fisheries associations implementing a fisheries management rule. Ghanaian National Canoe Fishermen’s Council has achieved an important reduction in the use of dynamite and poisons in fishing, by having all fishers take an oath to stop these practices. The Council has a certain power to enforce such a rule, because it is the sole distributor of government subsidized pre-mix fuel to fishers; any one who breaks the rule will no longer be provided with fuel.

3.3.3 Formal, national regulations

At the time of the research for the country reports, there were, in practice, no fishery management plans in effect in Ghana and Senegal, which managed fish stocks or controlled fishing effort. The situation is not specified in the reports for Mauritania and Guinea. Nevertheless, legal documents in both Ghana and Senegal specify that fishery management plans should be made, and lay down the procedure that should be followed. In Senegal, the Fisheries Act, 1998, requires that fisheries management plans be established and periodically reviewed so as to make necessary adjustments. In Ghana, a management plan was prepared in the framework of the World Bank funded Fisheries Sub-Sector Capacity Building Project. At the time of the field visit (June 2001), the plan was in a draft form.[32]

Although Senegal does not have a plan managing specific fish stock and fishing effort, it does have a National Plan for Marine Fisheries (NPMF, 1998). The establishment in Senegal of the consultation mechanisms mentioned earlier (the National Advisory Council for Marine Fisheries and the Local Advisory Councils for Marine Fisheries) are part of this effort. Another activity is to improve the surveillance and enforcement system. With regard to the artisanal fishing sector, specific measures aimed at developing landing site infrastructures, notably in Fass Boye and Kayar, have been planned. This is all part of the first phase of the NPMF. The second phase foresees the deployment of new assets for surveillance, the implementation of a satellite based vessel-monitoring system and the reduction of the fishing effort exerted by artisanal fishing vessels[33]. The NPMF was still in the process of being carried out in June 2001.

Apart from the FSCBP and the NPMF, Ghana and Senegal have a number of rules and management regulations that are applicable to fisheries. They define:

The first regulation classifies fishing vessels into different categories, enabling policy makers to subject each category of vessel to distinct legal regimes, in particular with respect to access to fisheries. In Senegal, the definition of an artisanal vessel is quite specific (see example below). In Ghana, this is less so, and more confusion is likely to arise over which law is applicable to which vessel.

Definition of artisanal fishing vessels, the example of Senegal

In Senegal, Decree n° 98-498 of 10 June 1998 provides a clear definition of “artisanal fishing vessel” based on three distinct criteria, namely structure of the vessel, type of fishing gear used on board and means of conservation of the catch. Hence, any vessel with no deck, equipped with manually operated fishing gear and using ice or salt as sole means of catch conservation qualifies as an artisanal fishing vessel.

Conversely, all other fishing vessels not satisfying these criteria are regarded as industrial fishing vessels. In case of doubt the Minister responsible for marine fisheries can decide, whenever necessary, whether a vessel should qualify as an artisanal or industrial fishing vessel.

The second group of regulations, defining the regime of access to fisheries, includes licensing systems, marking of a vessel, and sea safety standards. At present artisanal canoes are not licensed nor made to comply with any safety standards. In Ghana this is a requirement by law (of 1991), but it has not been carried out. If the new Fisheries Bill is passed, District Assemblies will get the task of registering canoes operating in their area. This may become quite a complicated task, as fishers migrate all along the national coast and even further, suggesting that one single vessel would have to be registered several times. It will require time and capacity building at district level to carry this task out. In Senegal, meanwhile, subjecting artisanal fishing to an authorisation system is an issue of heated debate. Fishers fear that such a system would serve to tax them, and therefore oppose any licensing or similar measure. They also fear that their numbers will be reduced for fisheries management objectives. And there are in fact provisions for reductions in artisanal vessels in fisheries management plans. Already, a vessel may be prohibited from fishing in Senegalese waters if certain sea safety and marking criteria are not met.

The third group of measures mentioned were conservation and management measures. These regulate the use and characteristics of fishing gear, the marking of gear for visibility, and define fishing zones. Concerning gear, the types and mesh sizes of nets are generally specified, explosives and poisons for fishing purposes are prohibited, and catching juvenile or undersized fish is not allowed. For safety reasons, submerged stationary gear and surface-drifting gear should be clearly marked, and have lighted markers at night. Finally, national fisheries legislation defines one or more fishing zones, in which certain gear or vessels are not allowed to fish or only at certain times of the year. The most important for this study is the so-called “artisanal fishing zone”, where trawling is prohibited. Although it has usually been established to protect juvenile fish and prevent the environmentally damaging effect of trawlers, artisanal fishers see it as “their zone”. In Senegal the zone goes from the coast 6 (in some places 7) nautical miles out to sea. In Ghana it goes down to the 30m-depth line, and therefore varies in distance from shore depending on the area of the country.

Finally, there are regulations with regard to conflict settlement. Although there are formal mechanism for this which seem quite satisfactory in theory, in practice they have not been effective. In Senegal, the new local artisanal fishing councils should strengthen local fishers’ organizations in order to diminish and solve conflicts between fishers’ communities and fishers using different types of gear. A consultative commission for fisheries violations was created to counsel the Minister responsible for marine fisheries on compounding issues, but the issue of conflict resolution to settle disputes arising between artisanal and industrial fishers has not been directly addressed. In Ghana, it was already said that the Fisheries Commission has the authority to hear and settle complaints from persons aggrieved in respect of matters arising from or related to fishing activities and the fishing industry generally. In such a case, the Fisheries Commission appoints a Fisheries Settlement Committee. The still unapproved Fisheries Bill states that any person aboard a motor fishing vessel that destroys or damages any appropriately marked fishing gear used for artisanal fishing inside the Internal Economic Zone commits an offence. Such a person is liable, on conviction, to a fine while the master of the vessel having committed the offence is responsible for providing (a) full compensation for the destroyed gear either in kind or cash; and (b) adequate compensation for lost fishing time to the aggrieved artisanal fishers. However, the nature of the decisions made by this Committee are not specified and thus it is not clear whether such decisions are binding on the parties. The problems of lack of enforcement mentioned earlier under Monitoring, Control, Surveillance and enforcement are thus likely to continue.

3.3.4 Application of formal rules and regulations

Conservation and management issues are often socially and politically sensitive. Resource conservation and stock management objectives of the fisheries management plans become a point of negotiation when applied in the social, economic and political reality of artisanal fisheries. The box below gives the example of problems that staff in the fisheries administration predict with relation to application of formally permitted mesh sizes for nets.

The social consequences of implementing laws on mesh sizes of nets

In Ghana the use of mesh sizes less than 25 mm in stretch diagonal length is strictly prohibited. Artisanal fishers have rejected this measure arguing that it does not allow them to catch mature anchovies, which is a legal activity. Most beach seines have smaller mesh sizes and thousands of fishers and families depend upon beach seining for an income[34]. At the same time, inland fishers complain that the official mesh size would make fishing on the Volta Lake impossible, as the fish species on the lake are smaller than on the coast. The measure would also affect a large number of people fishing on the lake. Therefore, enforcing the mesh size is socially and politically unacceptable, and it is not surprising that it has not been enforced with great rigour since the adoption of the law in 1991.

Similar processes occur for the marking of fishing gear. Artisanal fishers say that adequate marking materials are either unavailable or exceedingly expensive. They tend to mark passive gear with strips of cloth. Industrial captains complain that these are not visible from afar, and certainly not at night, leading to their damaging the artisanal fishing gears. This in turn leads to conflicts between the two parties.

The situation is similar for the “artisanal fishing zone”. This zone is not marked, so arguments tend to arise over whether an industrial vessel intruded into the zone or not. A lot of incursions occur at night, when it is difficult to identify the vessels. Artisanal fishers argue that trawlers have so over-fished or damaged the “artisanal fishing zone”, that there is no fish left for them. Their suggested solution is to extend the zone further out to sea. But it is also true that artisanal fishers themselves have over-fished inshore stocks, and they are fishing further out at sea. There, industrial vessel owners say, artisanal fishers cause accidents, because they do not comply with the regulations on navigation, sea safety standards, and marking of vessels and gear. In fact, of course, the whole discussion is not so much about the rules and regulations as such (the actual enforcement of it is generally weak or non-existent anyway) but rather on rights to resources and fishing grounds between different fisheries.

3.3.5 Implications for livelihoods-centred fisheries management

This section shows that fisheries management rules and regulations have either social and economic (livelihoods) objectives, or biological objectives. The informal community organizations tend to have social and economic objectives, whereas the government fisheries agencies tend to concentrate on biological objectives[35]. There does not seem to be a process of identifying the variety of objectives that fisheries management has, and then a process of prioritisation or balancing of these objectives. The fisheries agencies could work on constructing a process by which this would be done.

It would also seem that there is no system for evaluating or adjusting the effects of aiming for or achieving a certain set of objectives. To name one particular case, in the example from Ghana, there seems to have been little or no consideration for the effects of the application of the law on minimum mesh sizes for nets on the livelihoods of fishers. The fisheries agencies should identify, together with fishers, what the different objectives of fisheries management are and how they could be combined so as to achieve both sustainability and livelihood objectives. In cases where this is not possible, alternative livelihood options should be sought.

It is also clear from the Section that official fishery regulations have little effect if they cannot be enforced. This shows that, when identifying alternative mechanisms of fisheries management, it is important to evaluate how the enforcement will take place, and how costly and effective the enforcement can be made to be. Here, collaboration with existing fishers’ organizations could be important. This does mean that, for fisher organizations to collaborate in enforcement, the regulation has to have a direct interest for them and achieve livelihood objectives, as the local community rules have.

[23] See also three SFLP reports (for Ghana and Senegal, and a sub-regional workshop, in 2001) on the impacts on fishing communities of decentralization, as well as other issues related to policies, institutes and processes.
[24] See also Allison and Ellis, 2001.
[25] Law no. 98-32 of the 14th of April, 1998 of the marine fisheries code.
[26] There are other co-management initiatives in other African countries, see for example, Onyango, 2001 for Tanzania, and Hauck and Sowman, 2001, for South Africa.
[27] In Senegal, there is a separate directorate called the Directorate for the Protection and Surveillance of Fisheries (DOPM). In Guinea-Conakry a similar structure is called the National Centre for Surveillance and Protection (CNSP). In Ghana, the Fisheries Law of 1991 establishes a Monitoring, Control, Surveillance and Enforcement Unit.
[28] For more on conflict management in artisanal fisheries in Ghana and other countries, see Bennet et al., 2000 and Bennett et al., 2001.
[29] Law no. 98-32 of 14 April 1998 of the marine fisheries code.
[30] Ingles, Musch and Qwist-Hoffmann, 1999. The participatory process for supporting collaborative management of natural resources: an overview. FAO, Rome, 1999. 84p.
[31] For a discussion of the role of the community and of external agents such as government agencies and projects for resource management in artisanal fisheries, see Degnbol in Tvedten and Hersoug (eds.), 1992.
[32] As the draft fishery resources management plan was not made available to the mission, it was impossible to determine whether it includes specific measures directed at artisanal fishing activities.
[33] In Senegal, it is estimated that artisanal fishing contributes to more than 70% of the total annual production.
[34] The SFLP has conducted studies on beach seining in Ghana and elsewhere, see SFLP, 2001.
[35] See also Degnbol in Tvedten and Hersoug (eds.), 1992.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page