Small Scale Fisheries

Enforcement and Compliance

A Rapid Assessment and Review in Kenya and Tanzania

There have been many significant interventions across the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region to support the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources and ecosystems. Among these efforts is the upscaling of Locally Marine Managed Areas (LMMAs) through co-management between country authorities and Beach Management Units (BMUs), wherein the legal and institutional frameworks supporting the improved management of small-scale fisheries (SSFs) have been reconstituted. Despite such action, marine resources, ecosystems and habitats, continue to decline. The socioeconomic conditions of small-scale fisheries and coastal communities have also deteriorated.

Weaknesses in enforcement by regulatory authorities have played a major role in LMMA downturns, with little incentive for compliance by resource users provided. The effective enforcement and compliance with rules embedded in fisheries legislation and regulations can, therefore, be said to constitute a growing challenge to the sustainability of marine small-scale fisheries (SSFs) across the Western Indian Ocean (WIO).

A “Rapid Assessment and Review of Enforcement and Compliance in Marine Small-Scale Fisheries in Kenya and Tanzania” was, consequently, undertaken to create a better understanding of the current status of enforcement and compliance in small-scale fisheries.

Artisanal fishers in action

Key findings

Perceived Effective Enforcement and Compliance

  • Adherence to set rules and regulations for fish capture and other related fisheries activities.
  • Use of permitted gear and fishing methods, including fishing in fishing designated areas and times.
  • Conserving and protecting marine resources from harmful activities that would affect fisheries productivity, and thus the need to protect key habitats and ecosystems for sustained fisheries stock.

Best practices in Enforcement and Compliance

  • Fisheries co-management approaches through the Beach Management Units (BMUs) and establishment of Locally Managed marine Areas (LMMAs).
  • Community-based monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) protocols and informants complement government frameworks.
  • Formation and use of multi-agency institutions and committees.
  • Judiciary capacity building and sensitization on fisheries matters.
  • Youth involvement, coaching and mentoring in fisheries activities to produce future stewards in fisheries.
  • Complementary local and traditional alternative conflict resolution and mediation including warning and sanctions in promoting effective compliance as opposed to penalties imposed on offenders.

The findings of the study were presented and interrogated in the regional multi-stakeholder workshop on “Enforcement and Compliance as a mechanism to safeguard Small Scale Fisheries and biodiversity for improved livelihoods”, hyperlinked. 

The full workshop report is embedded right. 

A policy brief “Enhancing Compliance and Enforcement to Safeguard Small-Scale Fisheries and Biodiversity for Improved Livelihoods in the Western Indian Ocean Region”, summarizing the key recommendations from the regional workshop, was developed. The policy brief is a call to action to duty-bearers, enforcement agencies and policymakers with authority in decision-making to implement the recommendations addressing the drivers of poor enforcement and compliance in small-scale fisheries in the WIO region.