WCS 3-Sentence Science

Reducing the Sense of Unfairness in East Africa Fisheries

August 8, 2019


Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.

Here we present work by WCS’s Tim McClanahan on reducing unfairness in East Africa’s fisheries.

  1. Researchers evaluated heterogeneity in governance principles, which are increasingly important tools for natural resource management with communities and co-management arrangements, by asking 449 people in 30 fishing communities in four East African countries to rate their effectiveness.
  2. Overall, group identity, group autonomy, decision-making process, and conflict resolution principles were perceived to be most effective and likely to be enforced by repeated low-cost intragroup activities; while graduated sanctions, cost-benefit sharing, and monitoring resource users, fisheries, and ecology were the least scaled principles and less affordable via local control.
  3. The researchers concluded that management effectiveness in resource-limited situations depends on distributing power, skills, and costs beyond fishing communities to insure conservation needs are met.

Study and Journal: “Conservation needs exposed by variability in common-pool governance principles” from Conservation Biology
WCS Co-Author(s): Tim McClanahan (Lead), WCS Marine Program; Carol Abunge, WCS Marine Program

For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, ssautner@wcs.org.

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