There is a common agreement that establishment of co-management could be of benefit to fisher community and other stakeholders across the African Great Lakes. This could aid in promoting community livelihoods and sustainability of the fishery and lakes ecosystem. However, the effectiveness of established co-management regimes remains unknown. This study evaluated the effectiveness of established co-management units, specifically Beach Management Units, along Lake Victoria, Kenya. Data was collected through site observations, and questionnaire led interviews involving the key informants and Beach Management Units' members. The study depicted presence of illegal gears (5.7%), pollution (10.2%), insecurity (3.4%) and targeting of undersized fish (1.1%) among others. The role of the management units in lessening aforesaid challenges was reported overall to be below 36%. Features donating to overall performance, enforcement, conflict resolution, welfare and awareness creation, were rated at 17.6%, 33.8%, 35.5% and 13.2% correspondingly. The low rating of such measurable attributes advocates lack of effectiveness of co-management in Lake Victoria, Kenya. Albeit key registers and records were known to most of the members, there were no signs of progressive growth in the management units. This was attributed mainly to lack of continuous awareness creation amid the changing lake environmental conditions and dynamics in the specific species fishery. There is need to sustain the achievements so far attained in promoting co-management and ecosystem sustainability, as enforcement of laws and regulations can be a challenging undertaking without government support. Governments should ensure financial and material provision in expanding capacity of co-management units in promoting community livelihoods and fishery sustainability.
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14 March 2023
Challenges to the lake fisheries, and factors affecting the effectiveness of a co-management regime in African Great Lakes: A case study of Lake Victoria, Kenya