Land Tenure Journal, No 1 (2013)

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Governance of tenure in the Lake Victoria fisheries, Tanzania

Paul Onyango


This paper presents and discusses governance of tenure for Lake Victoria fisheries by focusing on the Tanzanian jurisdiction. The paper traces tenure governance from the pre-colonial period to the current policies, and looks at national and district laws. It argues that although the lake is a shared resource among three countries (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania), the tenure systems and their governance show a similar pattern, especially as regards the behaviour of the historical fishing communities. There, resources were administered through a communal / customary tenure system under the control of chiefs and clan elders. Under the current joint system adopted by these riparian countries, the individual states initially exercised authority, but later shared the same with local fishing communities under a co-management system.
The paper discusses these systems and teases out some governance principles that can be used to achieve a secure tenure for fisheries resources.

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