Natural resources governance in Kenya: The assessment of fisheries resources subsector
Stephen Obiero Anyango, Jackson Kiplagat
Fisheries resources are valuable economic as well as political and social resources at all levels in Kenya. The resources are mainly composed of freshwater, coastal and marine and aquaculture. But Fishing is mostly carried out by artisanal fishermen. However, sustainable utilisation of such resources depends greatly on good governance. The objective of this study was to present an in-depth assessment and analysis of fisheries resources governance regimes in Kenya: the legal and policy instruments and institutional frameworks for natural resource governance within the marine/fisheries subsector and whether the institutions entrusted with the responsibility to govern have promoted or undermined governance in the sector. The study largely relied on a participatory assessment involving qualitative methods of data collection. This involved Literature review, Key Informant interviews; targeting government institutions and non-state actors, selected field work, as well as focus group discussion with selected resource users’ associations. Generally, the current government policies focuses on the promotion, implementation and monitoring of sustainable management and responsible fishing practices. The policy provides for establishment of Beach Management Units (BMUs), grass root umbrella organisations for the purpose of co-management of the fisheries resources in a collaborative and participatory process. The study findings show that local participation policies have yielded limited benefits for the local people. Most of participatory management approaches of resources give power to local elites by marginalizing the vulnerable groups and in some cases it also re-enforces state control. This is partly rooted because of differences in interest, as well as weak grass root institutions: with limited capabilities, lack of administrative competence, weak planning and control systems and lack of coherent local mobilization at the local level. However, to ensure sustainable fishers and marine resources management, cross cutting issues influencing poverty levels must be considered and addressed.