Implementing Co-management of Lake Victoria’s Fisheries: Achievements and Challenges
For a long time governments made decisions on the management of fisheries resources in Lake Victoria with little or no input from the resource users and other stakeholders. This approach has been ineffective and these resources have continued to decline over the years. Legislation has therefore been enacted to facilitate the involvement of the resource users in fisheries management through the creation of a local co-management unit the Beach Management Units (BMU). Harmonised BMU guidelines were developed for the establishment and operations of these institutions with a total of 1069 having been formed along the entire shoreline. In addition, BMU networks have been formed for the development of management plans, to prevent and address conflicts, and to represent BMUs at higher levels of governance. The communities now take an active role in the elimination of illegal fishing methods, are involved in revenue collection on behalf of the governments, and in the decision making processes on fisheries related issues. There are still many challenges facing the sustainable management of Lake Victoria fisheries, including; lack of compliance with regulations and rapid increase in fishing effort, environmental degradation, inadequate service provision and the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS amongst the fishing communities.
Key words: Lake Victoria, co-management, beach management units, management plans, illegal fishing, regulations.