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Challenges facing local communities in Tanzania in realising locally-managed marine areas


  • Katikiro, Robert E.
  • Macusi, Edison D.
  • Ashoka Deepananda, K.H.M.


This study explores how the history and process of establishing a marine protected area (MPA) under the control of the state has led to limited interest in community-based management amongst local stakeholders. The study contributes to the understanding of historical events that have discouraged the take-off and scale-up of community-based conservation approaches, such as locally-managed marine areas (LMMAs). LMMAs are being promoted increasingly as a desirable approach in marine conservation. However, there are a limited numbers of cases where such initiatives have been used as a strategy for marine management in sub-Saharan Africa, and very few operational examples of such schemes exist in the Western Indian Ocean region. Through semi-structured questionnaires, 193 community members selected randomly from 15 villages of the Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park (MBREMP), Mtwara district, Southern Tanzania, were interviewed about their attitudes towards efforts to promote local management and the conservation of marine resources. The study also involved 17 focus group discussions, 13 in-depth key informant interviews, participant observation, and a review of secondary information. Over 85% of the questionnaire respondents commented that there was insufficient participation by legitimate community representatives in the development of the MBREMP. Almost 90% of the respondents agreed that the management of marine areas has increased significantly, particularly in the last two decades following initiatives by the government, donors and external NGOs. However, 70% of the questionnaire responders had observed that a rapid shift from centralised to community-based management has been hindered by a lack of acceptable community rules and by communities frequently equating conservation with prohibition. Developing LMMAs in areas based on the lessons learned from MPAs could be a better alternative to developing entirely new community-managed areas; however, this can only succeed if limitations including the key principles of community participation and empowerment are addressed.

Suggested Citation

  • Katikiro, Robert E. & Macusi, Edison D. & Ashoka Deepananda, K.H.M., 2015. "Challenges facing local communities in Tanzania in realising locally-managed marine areas," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 220-229.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:51:y:2015:i:c:p:220-229
    DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2014.08.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

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