Since establishment of the first LMMAs in Kenya in the late 1990s, community interest has grown in managing their fishing grounds. They have come out strongly to demonstrate that they should be the custodians of their environment. With proper structure and support, they can ensure management of fishing grounds and exploiting the fishery resources in a sustainable manner. To date, 24 LMMAs have been established along the coast of Kenya (map shown below).
Establishment of an LMMA in Kenya goes through five essential phases, each of which needs to be planned and supported financially. This process is described in the report ‘LMMAs in Kenya: A history of their development and establishment‘, which provides recommendations for LMMA establishment based on this experience. Ingredients for success in LMMA establishment included:
- the availability of supporting institutions (donor, government and NGOs),
- an enlightened and empowered fishing community assisted by education and awareness initiatives
- the existence of focused leaders who championed for establishment of LMMAs.
Key weaknesses that we found included:
- inadequate training,
- inadequate participation by all stakeholders,
- inadequate resources,
- lack of proper management and operational structures, and most of all
- lack of clear legal guidance.
Based on these findings, guidance on establishing a clear legal framework are contained in the report ‘Legislation Guidelines for LMMAs in Kenya’. These guidelines involved extensive consultation with many stakeholders including government agencies and their legal officers, as well as the fishing communities. Output from this work is useful to guide communities and other stakeholders in developing LMMAs, or for those that are established and need guidance on their operations.
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