Policy Brief on Managing Fisheries Conflicts: Communication and Consensus Building in South and Southeast Asia (Draft).


Overpopulation and poverty in South and Southeast Asia, particularly in fishing communities, as well as unsustainable fishing practices have compounded pressures on the region's fisheries. Conflicts occur alongside competing industry and the mass of people dependent on fishery resources. There are, however, far more complex conflicts with an inordinate amount of socioeconomic problems, cultural differences and political power struggles, complicated all the more by a diversity of interests, values, priorities and manners of use, and exploitation among resource users.
The social dimension and the role of the resource users in managing conflicts should be factored in when looking for solutions to conflicts. Communication amongst stakeholders in conflicts is one very important factor and is integral in the process of understanding conflicts that are typified in various categories.
Type I is about who controls the fishery, one that is quite common in Cambodia and Bangladesh. Type II is about how it is controlled where either lack or overenforcement is seen as the primary conflict as is prevalent in the coastal areas of Cambodia, Bangladesh and India. The third (Type III) typifies relationships between users of the resource while the fourth is the relation between fishery and non-fishery users. Type V conflict pervades when non-fishery interests and issues, such corruption amongst authorities involved, affect the fisheries stakeholders.
All of the above points to the necessity of conducting attitude surveys involving stakeholders from Project partners in Bangladesh, Cambodia and India. The plans and policies evolving from this Project have been considerably based on attitudes and perceptions of these stakeholders, including, very importantly, the region's fishers.
The Brief recommends, inter alia, the following:

  • Develop, design and disseminate appropriate information, education and communication (IEC) materials through various means—group communication activities, print, multimedia, and even folk media
  • Popularize the proposed manual called PAPD-Based Consensus-Building Tool
  • Establish and institutionalize mechanisms to sustain the participation of all key players in the fisheries sector
  • Require local administration and relevant government agencies to provide a sustainable participatory scheme to a qualified local NGO to lend support to fisheries conflict management in the long term
  • Establish conflict management in natural resource governance by advocating pressure on governments to incorporate conflict management as necessary \"cost of governance\" and not just a \"business-as-usual\" activity.


WorldFish Center, Malaysia, 15 pp.

Published 1 January 2005