, Volume 537, Issue 1-3, pp 1-6

Application of traditional ecological knowledge in the management and sustainability of fisheries in East Africa: a long-neglected strategy?

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Abstract

Management and sustainability of fisheries has been guided by theories and models derived from modern ecological science. Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has been ignored in all spheres of decision-making for management and sustainability of fisheries in East Africa. TEK guided African communities in the way they associated and interacted with the natural environment around them. Spiritual rituals, religious practices, social taboos and sacred animal totems guided the peoples on how and when to utilize the available natural resources. In the advent of modern scientific knowledge, the African traditional knowledge quickly faded away and is generally seen as irrelevant. Today the potential of TEK in the management and sustainability of fisheries in East Africa has not been realized and its status and future is unknown. TEK should be complementary to modern scientific knowledge in the management and sustainability of fisheries. This paper therefore focuses on the potential application of TEK in the management and sustainability of fisheries in East Africa and the issues that impede its application.