Ostrom’s Governance Principles and Sustainable Financing of Fish Reserves
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Previous studies on community-based natural resource management have repeatedly underlined the significance of the design principles for sustainable commons governance developed by Elinor Ostrom. In this paper, we apply the principles heuristically to the case of the Sikunga Channel Fish Protection Area (FPA), a recently established fish reserve in the Upper Zambezi in Namibia. Based on qualitative fieldwork including semi-structured household interviews, expert interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation, we assess the utility of Ostrom’s design principles as guidance for promoting sustainable fisheries co-management structures. Our results indicate that the lack of a sustainable financing mechanism is both a major source of resentments at Sikunga and the main obstacle for sound resource management, endangering the long-term effectiveness and social acceptance of the fish reserve.
KeywordsCommunity-based natural resource management Co-management Fish reserve Commons governance Conservation financing Namibia
We especially thank Denis Tweddle, Carol Murphy and Markfaren Mushabati for valuable assistance on site and the people from Sikunga for their generous cooperation.
This research formed part of the lead author’s master’s thesis project and took place in collaboration with the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF). Funding for the fieldwork was provided by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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