From the management of marine resources to the governance of ocean and coastal zones in West Africa

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The overarching aim of the work presented here is to contribute to the development of a new interdisciplinary approach to fisheries economics for fisheries governance. It is geographically limited to West Africa, but results can be used in other areas where small scale fisheries are active and governance rules are not fully implemented.
    The disciplinary orientations and conceptual frameworks applied in the research are institutional analysis and governance, as well as the assessment of key drivers of change. The new institutional economic theory provided a sound conceptual frame to analyse fisheries as it brings together economics (theory of the firm and social cost theory), law (convention, contracts, etc.) and sociology (sanctions, taboos, customs, traditions, and codes of conduct). Used on its own it provides a good framework for the analysis of the fish chain and relationships between stakeholders (wealth distribution and equity) and the whole governance of fisheries, coastal zones and oceans. Combined with neo-classical tools such as modelling of fishing activities, it provides a good analytical method to predict effects of management measures on fisher strategies. Furthermore, coupled with an ecological model such as ECOPATH or ECOSIM, its gives a holistic modelling tool (integrating ecology, economic and social dimensions) for the assessment of the full costs and benefits (private and public) of fishing practices and policy policies.
    The research suggests that the key drivers of change are often hidden and therefore not taken into account while designing management measures. Among shaping drivers, research in West Africa shows that international trade and its rules is shaping the orientation and the functioning of small scale fisheries. Fisher migration,which is directly linked to the trade driving effects, is currently one of the major drivers of change of West African fisheries and the most destabilizing factor.
    The main results, such as the identification of drivers of change (e.g. international trade, migration), and the integration of social, economic and ecological models are currently used by international institutions such as FAO, UNEP, UNDP and the Group of the ACP countries, regional organisations such as ATLFALCO (Ministerial conference of the African Atlantic countries), the Sub-regional Fishery Commission of seven West African countries and at national level by fishery ministries.
    The future of fisheries governance in West Africa is strongly linked to a better understanding of small scale fisher strategies and the way they react to fishery management. New research activities on co-management have to be developed in order to switch from a strong centralised fishery management process to a local one where fisher communities play a significant role. Aside from this, work has to be continue to implement the integrated approach into the fishery governance system in West Africa and in other world coastal countries.
    Date of Award13 Dec 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAndy Thorpe (Supervisor)

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