Difficulties of fishing at Lake Naivasha, Kenya: is community participation in management the solution?
Aura, Christopher Mulanda
Njiru, James Murithi
Ojuok, Jacob E.
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Unlike other lakes in tropical regions, Lake Naivasha exhibits low fish species diversity. The fishery is based on introduced fish species that are not native to the lake. The lake ecosystem is very fragile, as reflected in its fluctuating fish catches. The fishery almost completely collapsed in 2001, due partly to mismanagement and ignorance about needed conservation measures. The Kenyan government, like many governments around the world, recognized the need to involve fishers and other stakeholders, in order to ensure better management of the lake fisheries resources. Also referred to as collaborative management (co-management), this management approach provides the opportunity to share responsibility for managing the fishery resources between the government and the community. A total ban on fishing was imposed in February 2001, lasting for 1 year, to allow lake fish stocks to recover. This study analyses the co-management process for Lake Naivasha, and discusses the role played by the community during the fishing ban, as well as the successes and challenges encountered, and the tribulations and perceptions of the fishers regarding the new management strategy. It also comprises the first documentation of community participation in fisheries management begun for Lake Naivasha in the year 2001.