Analysing the Challenges Faced By Beach Management Units in Managing Fisheries Stock in Mombasa County, Kenya
Menza, Sebastian Juma
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Fisheries Management approaches continued being managed by centralized government as intervention for some time after independence in countries in Africa. Later the approach proved inadequate to deal with the emerging issues in the management of fisheries stock. Partnerships known as comanagement, now practiced in East Africa including Kenya, involve Beach Management Units (BMUs) in fisheries management. In Kenya co-management of fisheries with BMUs began in 2007 with hope that they will help the Department of Fisheries better manage fisheries stock. However, fisheries management still remains a challenge to the central government. This study aimed to determine the challenges faced by beach management units in managing fisheries stock in Mombasa County. The study was guided by the following specific objectives: to determine the roles performed by BMUs in managing fisheries stocks, to examine the challenges facing BMUs in managing fisheries stocks and to explore measures to improve the BMUs performance in managing fisheries stocks. The study adopted descriptive research design with target population consisting of 14 BMUs with 2800 members and 7 institutions working with fisher community. Three hundred (300) respondents who were BMU members were sampled through simple random sampling. Data was collected by use of questionnaires which were pre-tested to ascertain their validity and consistency before they were used. The study found that all the BMUs exist as legal entities, having been registered by the Fisheries Department with majority having democratically elected officials with Executive Committee composed of required stakeholders’ representation. Lack of commitment among the BMU assembly in playing their stipulated roles as well as lack of co-operation among the executive committee members was reported to be major reasons for dismal performance of BMUs in co-management. Majority of BMUs source funds from international and local donors as a strategy to enable them play their comanagement roles such as patrolling the shores to nab illegal fishing gears. The study concludes that although majority of BMUs in Mombasa County are compliant with BMU regulations with regard to management functions and playing their intended roles effectively, this is not reflected in the recovery of fish stocks as intended and recommends institutions to channel more resources towards enhancing the capacities of BMUs to sustainably utilize fisheries stocks.