Networking for fisheries co-management on Lake Victoria, East Africa (Jun 2014 - May 2016)


  • Dr Fiona Nunan (Principal Investigator) and Dr Dražen Cepi, International Development Department
  • Dr Paul Onyango, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,
  • Ernest Yongo, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya,
  • Dr Konstantine Odongkara, National Fisheries Resources Research Institute, Jinja, Uganda,
  • Joseph Luomba, Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute, Mwanza, Tanzania,


Leverhulme Trust

Project aims

Inland fisheries of the global south make a significant contribution to local livelihoods, national economies and international trade, yet face multiple challenges including increasing fishing and population pressures, ineffective governance and the emerging impact of climate change. Many governments have responded to such challenges by adopting co-management, where resource users manage the fisheries with government agencies and other stakeholders. There is much evidence, however, that co-management is not working as well as hoped in African inland fisheries.


This research will contribute to co-management theory and practice by investigating the personal networks of fisheries stakeholders to find out who, and what types of relationships, influence fishers’ behaviour. Relationships to be investigated might include who is consulted to gain information on where to fish, to whom fishers turn to borrow money or find employment. Such relationships influence fisherfolk behaviour and, in turn, attitudes to and engagement with co-management.

The research is taking place in Lake Victoria fisheries, East Africa. The lake is the second largest freshwater body in the world, with the fisheries supporting the livelihoods of around 2 million people. The governance of the fisheries is complex, with three countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) bordering the lake and a multi-level co-management system introduced from the late 1990s. Co-management is yet to have a significant impact on the sustainability of the fisheries, with increasing concern about declining stocks of one of the three key commercial fisheries.


Nunan, F., Cepić, D., Mbilingi, B., Odongkara, K., Yongo, E., Owili, M., Salehe, M., Mlahagwa, E. and Onyango, P. (2018) Community cohesion: social and economic ties in the personal networks of fisherfolkSociety and Natural Resources, 31(3): 306-319

Cepić, D. and. Nunan, F. (2017) Justifying non-compliance: the morality of illegalities in small scale fisheries of Lake Victoria, East AfricaMarine Policy, 86, 104-110.