CASE STUDIES OF CHANGES IN THE STRUCTURE OF REEF LAGOON FISHERIES OFF SOUTHERN KENYA
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Abstract. This study analyzes changes occurring within shallow lagoon fisheries on the Kenyan south coast. The data were gathered at two intervals over a span of ten years at four selected sites: Mwaepe, Mvuleni, Chale, and Gazi. The four case studies offer different insights into the approaches of the artisanal fishers in coping with changing social circumstances, which in turn influence the fishers’ attitudes and perceptions, as expressed in their growing desire for self-reliance rather than governmental regulation. Fisher groups now advocate the establishment of a Marine Protected Area under local supervision, in contrast to the earlier governmental approach for an MPA which they had opposed. Beach seines and ring nets have both been outlawed by most of the fishers themselves, although enforcement is weak. Ownership of hitherto traditionally managed areas has been traded to the tourist industry, signaling the power of short-term economic gains over religious and traditional attachments. The Beach Management Units – newly established by the government – have not been fully embraced by the fishers. In conclusion, we stress the importance of enhanced education and training in strengthening the self-reliance of the fishing community.