Governance of Tenure in Small-Scale Fisheries: Key Considerations

by Anthony Charles

Jun 1, 2011
This paper examines the recognition, development and reinforcement of tenure systems in small-scale fisheries, and the conditions for those tenure systems to be effective and fair. Good governance of tenure requires that rights to access fishery resources (use rights) and rights to be involved in fishery decision-making (management rights) are linked to social, economic and human rights. This leads to a modern and more comprehensive view of rights-based fisheries governance, recognizing not only the need for rights, but also the need for attention to the details of those rights, to avoid negative impacts. This paper explores (a) the links of fishery tenure systems to use rights, management rights and human rights; (b) the dynamics of tenure, including processes for determining who should hold the rights and recognition of pre-existing tenure arrangements; and (c) the roles of organizational capacity, legal space, and empowerment, together with the relationship of fishery tenure to the broader objectives of development policy, such as community well-being, food security and poverty alleviation.
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