IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Defragmenting resource management on the Southeast Arm of Lake Malawi: Case of Fisheries


  • Ngochera, Maxon

    (Senga Bay Fisheries Research Center)

  • Donda, Steve

    (Fisheries Department)

  • Hara , Mafaniso

    () (Institute for poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), School of Government, Faculty of Economic and Management Science, University of Western Cape,)

  • Berge, Erling

    () (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)


The Southeast Arm of Lake Malawi catchment has a wide range of natural resources that require prudent management for sustainability and maximisation of benefits. The current management practice is government sector based, with individual Departments and Ministries using their own policies, legislations and management approaches, yet dealing with the same composite resource and user communities. This has resulted in fragmentation of management leading to the lack of alignment between formal and informal institutions, and competition for power and authority for management. Fragmentation is also leading to loss of resource rent. This paper analyses how and why management is fragmented in the Southeast Arm of Lake Malawi catchment and suggests how management could be defragmented, with special interest on fisheries. Activities with high negative impacts on fisheries include: overfishing; soil erosion resulting in siltation and turbidity of the lake; chemical and organic pollution; loss of access to land and beaches; and habitat loss. There is need for a better and more holistic understanding of how human activities represent both livelihood benefits and a threat to sustainability of natural resources in order to find ways for balancing these two aspects. We suggest that to increase the efficacy of management of Lake Malawi’s Southeast Arm will require ‘defragmented decentralization’, an approach whereby devolution of authority and responsibility are ceded to the district and local levels, respectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Ngochera, Maxon & Donda, Steve & Hara , Mafaniso & Berge, Erling, 2017. "Defragmenting resource management on the Southeast Arm of Lake Malawi: Case of Fisheries," CLTS Working Papers 12/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nlsclt:2017_012

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Agrawal, Arun, 2001. "Common Property Institutions and Sustainable Governance of Resources," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1649-1672, October.
    2. Blessings Chinsinga, 2005. "District Assemblies in a fix: the perils of the politics of capacity in the political and administrative reforms in Malawi," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 529-548.
    3. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2000. "Local Environmental Control and Institutional Crowding-Out," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1719-1733, October.
    4. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change," Introductory Chapters,in: Understanding the Process of Economic Change Princeton University Press.
    5. North, Douglass C, 1994. "Economic Performance through Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 359-368, June.
    6. Béné, Christophe & Belal, Emma & Baba, Malloum Ousman & Ovie, Solomon & Raji, Aminu & Malasha, Isaac & Njaya, Friday & Na Andi, Mamane & Russell, Aaron & Neiland, Arthur, 2009. "Power Struggle, Dispute and Alliance Over Local Resources: Analyzing 'Democratic' Decentralization of Natural Resources through the Lenses of Africa Inland Fisheries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 1935-1950, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Management; institutions; fragmentation; defragmented decentralisation; devolution; Lake Malawi;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:nlsclt:2017_012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kateryna Krutskykh). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.