Horizontal and vertical resource dilemmas in natural resource management: the case of African fisheries
- Ghoti papers
Ghoti aims to serve as a forum for stimulating and pertinent ideas. Ghoti publishes succinct commentary and opinion that addresses important areas in fish and fisheries science. Ghoti contributions will be innovative and have a perspective that may lead to fresh and productive insight of concepts, issues and research agendas. All Ghoti contributions will be selected by the editors and peer reviewed.
Etymology of Ghoti
George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), polymath, playwright, Nobel prize winner, and the most prolific letter writer in history, was an advocate of English spelling reform. He was reportedly fond of pointing out its absurdities by proving that ‘fish’ could be spelt ‘ghoti’. That is: ‘gh’ as in ‘rough’, ‘o’ as in ‘women’ and ‘ti’ as in palatial.
The world's fisheries are under severe pressure. Yet, according to the marine trophic index, the health and stability of marine ecosystems vary greatly across countries. The argument developed and tested in this article holds that some of the sources of this variation can potentially be derived from differences in the character of two fundamental relationships in society – a horizontal one between resource users and a vertical relationship between the government and the resource users. The empirical analysis focuses on sub-Saharan Africa and finds that levels of ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity and levels of democracy in the year that each country declared its exclusive economic zone have a close relationship with ensuing marine exploitation patterns.