Fisher migrations: social and economic perspectives on the emerging shark fishery in West Africa

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Abstract

This paper explores the linkage between the expansion of commercial shark-fishing markets and the extension of migratory cycles of fishers in the West African Sub–region. The paper shows the societal deconstruction that occurred following the massive expansion of shark fishing over previous decades. It also points out that the approach of public decision makers and fisheries managers has contributed to the depletion of shark stocks, at the same time as contributing to a better appreciation of the current public fisheries policies’ limitations. Therefore, this paper aims to highlight the lack of efficiency during the emergence of this fishery in delivering a sound management framework to ensure long term sustainable exploitation of shark stocks. Sustainable exploitation through efficient management is yet to be achieved, in part due to the failure of current fisheries management models around the world, and despite the variety of legal instruments and management tools available. Finally, this contribution brings to the fore – a paradoxical reality – the fact that public policies for access regulation have led in many cases to the intensification of social conflicts for access to fishing grounds in West Africa.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Identities
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 25 May 2021

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