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Governance of Lake Chilwa common pool resources: evolution and conflicts


  • Friday Njaya


This paper reviews the evolution of the governance of Lake Chilwa fisheries since the colonial era. The socio-political and economic transformation of Malawi has shifted the roles of the traditional authorities who had jurisdiction over these resources based on their tribal settlement patterns and identity. The user community, including district assemblies, are experiencing difficulty implementing the management reforms in the decentralised fisheries. The traditional leaders are taking advantage of the recently adopted governance reforms by using the co-management arrangement with the Department of Fisheries to extract money from the seine fishermen in the form of tributes. This 'elite capture' of the resources is causing conflicts between the traditional leaders and user committees over authority to manage resource use. With limited support from the district assemblies and traditional leaders, the devolved fisheries functions will be difficult to implement.

Suggested Citation

  • Friday Njaya, 2009. "Governance of Lake Chilwa common pool resources: evolution and conflicts," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 663-676.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:4:p:663-676
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350903181431

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    Cited by:

    1. Ishmael B. M. Kosamu, 2014. "Conditions for Sustainability of the Elephant Marsh Fishery in Malawi," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(7), pages 1-18, June.


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