Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science

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Saving the Commons: Community Involvement in the Management of Mangrove and Fisheries Resources of Chwaka Bay, Zanzibar

S M Mohammed


For generations, fishing and mangrove cutting have been an integral part of the
lives of the communities around Chwaka Bay in Zanzibar. However, overexploitation due to
heavy demand, as well as the open access nature of these resources, has led to their dramatic decline, threatening the social and economic wellbeing of these communities. Fish catches have decreased from 950 metric tonnes in 1990 to about 200 metric tonnes in 2001 and mangrove wood harvests have similarly declined. Formal management measures have failed to arrest the decline. Local communities have so far only been partially involved in the management of their reserves. It is proposed that an integrated management structure that encourages full participation of local communities in resource management be set up to help avert further decline of the mangroves and fisheries of Chwaka Bay.

Keywords: common property resources, mangroves, fisheries, overexploitation, community management

West Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science Vol. 3 (2) 2004: pp. 221-226

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