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Keywords:

  • Fisheries objectives;
  • fisheries policy;
  • Lake Victoria;
  • welfare-based fisheries management

Abstract

Fisheries policies often pursue multiple objectives, which may, in some instances, be in conflict or competition with each other. It may not be possible, for example, to create or maintain employment and generate increasing volumes of revenue for government whilst also sustaining stocks and biodiversity. Two approaches to fisheries management, one focused on capturing wealth and limiting access and the other on maintaining access for employment and providing community development and welfare, present contrasting policy advice, with different points of emphases and objectives. This article examines the case of Lake Victoria, where the three main commercial fisheries are seen to contribute to different objectives for the lake's fisheries. Insights from the debate between wealth-based and welfare-based approaches to fisheries management provide a framework for the analysis of fisheries policy and practice on the lake. From the analysis, it is concluded that whilst there is much rhetoric in support of a wealth-based approach, this has not been followed through in implementation, reflecting the lack of political support for new taxation and limiting access. The welfare functions of the fisheries are significant, but could be substantially strengthened through greater investment in the provision of services to fisheries communities. The approaches are not mutually exclusive, but pursuing wealth-based management must support livelihoods, employment and development, as well as fisheries management objectives. Without the incorporation of welfare objectives, fisheries policies will not be politically accepted or fully implemented, suggesting the need for a balance between wealth and welfare objectives and measures.