When co-management fails: a review of theory and lessons learned from reservoir fisheries in dry-zone of Sri Lanka

Over recent decades co-management has become an increasingly popular form of governance reform in many developing countries. Viewed as a means of promoting sustainable and equitable management of natural resources, it has seen wide application in small-scale inland fisheries. However, perhaps because of its worthy credentials, there has been insufficient critical assessment of the results. This paper commences with a review of underlying theory which is then used to explore the reasons for failure of a co-management initiative in Sri Lankan reservoir fisheries between 2001 and 2002.

Supporting gender-inclusive dialogue over natural resource management

Rural households who fail to gain a voice in decisions over the management of shared forests, pasturelands, wetlands and fisheries face heightened risks to their livelihoods, particularly as competition increases between existing and new user groups. Exclusion from decision-making increases vulnerability of rural households, making it more difficult for them to move out of poverty and thwarting broader efforts to achieve sustainable resource management. Poor rural women in particular often face institutionalized barriers to effective participation in resource management.

Strengthening community roles in aquatic resource governance in Uganda

Lake Victoria fisheries face severe environmental stresses. Stocks are declining in a context of increasing population and growing demand for the lake’s resources. Rising competition between users is putting conservation goals and rural livelihoods at risk. While Uganda’s co-management policy framework is well-developed, key resources for implementation are lacking, enforcement is poor, and the relations between stakeholders are unequal. Poor rural resource users face significant challenges to effectively participate in fisheries decision-making.

Strengthening collective action to address resource conflict in Lake Kariba, Zambia

Where natural resources are a key component of the rural economy, the ability of the poor to realize their visions for the future depends significantly on institutional structures that govern resource access and management. This case study reports on an initiative on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zambia, where lakeshore residents face competition over fishing, tourism, and commercial aquaculture.

Status and management of the Java sea fisheries

The Java Sea is a major fishing ground in Indonesia contributing 31% of the national marine fisheries production. Demersal and small pelagic fishery resources account for most production in the area. During the 1960s and 1970s, strong demand for fish, which in Indonesia resulted from both increased human population and increased per capita fish consumption, stimulated the development of fishing in the Java Sea. This led to development of up-stream and down-stream industries, increases in employment opportunities, and increases in the number of fishers and fishing households.

Investing in collaboration to manage environmental resource conflict

Conflict over environmental resources endangers rural people’s livelihoods and can increase the risk of broader social conflict. Yet action to sustain shared resources can also be a potent source of community building. Investing in capacities for conflict management can help launch innovations that build resilient rural livelihoods and strengthen institutions for equitable environmental governance. Governments and development agencies should invest in such capacity and integrate collaborative dialogue about environmental resources into program and policy implementation.

Innovations to strengthen aquatic resource governance on Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake

Cambodia’s recent freshwater fishery sector reform, instigated at the top level of government, is one of the country’s most significant contemporary policy developments addressing natural resources management and rural development. Implemented in two main waves, the reforms culminated in the complete removal of inland commercial fishing lots. Yet serious problems still need to be addressed, including reportedly widespread illegal fishing, difficulties in protecting critical habitats, and competition among state agencies over resource management authority.

Ghana coastal fisheries governance dialogue: Presentations, discussions and outcomes from a stakeholder forum on issues for reforming governance of Ghana’s coastal fisheries

This meeting, the second national Fisheries Governance Dialogue, aimed to help stakeholders in the fisheries sector generate a shared understanding of critical lessons and pathways for fisheries co-management success in Ghana. This was a direct response to the call from both fisheries communities and the government of Ghana for a radical change from the way fisheries resources are currently being managed.

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