Environmental Conservation


Evaluating conditions for successful co-management of subsistence fisheries in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

a1 Zoology Department, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa
a2 Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, Private Bag X3, Congella 4013, Durban, South Africa

Article author query
napier vr   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
branch gm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
harris jm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Conditions important for the success of co-management have repeatedly been identified, but their relative influence has not been quantitatively evaluated. To investigate the implementation of co-management in 11 subsistence fisheries within seven rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, perceptions of the responsible authorities and the fishing communities were surveyed. Of 16 conditions often considered important for the success of co-management, only nine were correlated with perceived success, the most strongly correlated being (1) benefits of co-management must exceed costs of participation, (2) training and empowerment, and (3) existence of a long-term ‘champion’ to drive the process. The perceptions of the authorities concurred with those of the communities with regards to the attainment of conditions, but views on the success of co-management differed significantly owing to disagreements that were specific to three particular fisheries. Both groups agreed that co-management is a viable improvement on top-down authoritarian imposition of regulations. However, it takes time to become effective; perceived success was directly correlated with how long individual programmes had been operating. Failure to devolve power from national government to local institutions, and delays in awarding subsistence permits, remain the major stumbling blocks to full realization of co-management.

(Published Online September 8 2005)
(Received December 22 2004)
(Accepted June 8 2005)

Key Words: co-management; intertidal; linefish; subsistence fisheries.

c1 Correspondence: Miss Victoria R. Napier Tel: +27 834 730229 Fax: +27 21 8581759 e-mail: vici_napier@mweb.co.za; gmbranch@egs.uct.ac.za