The management of the fisheries sector in Uganda: a case of BMC at Masese Beach in Jinja District
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The study was conducted at Masese beach in Jinja district one of the areas where fisheries resource management and development are carried out. The study applied a case study design and a sample size of 150 respondents was used. Both primary & secondary methods were applied, which included; In-depth interviews, a self-administered questionnaire and Observation, while the instruments used included Interview guides, observation guide and a self-administered questionnaire. The Qualitative data generated was edited, coded and themes developed following the study objectives and the results were later analyzed. The study investigated the extent to which Beach Management Committees [BMCs] have played their roles towards the management and development of the fisheries sector in Uganda, while the specific objectives were: to assess the level of community awareness created by the BMCs in the process of managing and developing the fisheries sector in Uganda, to investigate the extent BMCs have formulated and enforced byelaws in the process of managing and developing the fisheries sector in Uganda, to document the extent BMCs have arbitrated fisheries conflicts as a means of managing and developing the fisheries sector in Uganda, and to establish the challenges BMCs face in the process of managing and developing the fisheries sector in Uganda. The study revealed that; though fishers share some commonalities, they are not homogeneous due to the varying amount of information especially regarding fisheries management and development. The study further indicated that fishing is mostly conducted by people aged between 18 and 60 years as this is when one is energetic enough to afford fishing. The findings also suggest that fishing is dominated by the; males, the less and non-educated people for deriving a livelihood since they can’t get formal employment. Information on several issues is collected and disseminated by the BMCs and used by the fishers and resulting into; community awareness among fishers has been created. BMCs have scored highest in the field of byelaws formulation and enforcement where they have provided a legal framework on most aspects that negatively affect the fisheries sector. Most respondents [66.7%] said that BMCs to a great extent successfully mediated fisheries conflicts which have greatly streamlined the management of fishing industry. The study further revealed that BMCs face the challenges of; lack of adequate resources, some fishers were doubtful of their level of confidentiality by in regard to information, and lack of adequate skills and expertise however, important to note is that BMCs have always addressed these challenges. Finally, the study recommends several measures including; packaging policies, formulating and enforcing regulations, formulating approaches to fisheries conflicts arbitration and other management options that address these issues at local, national and international level and provision of scientific information and data to guide management decisions. Creating a clear and unambiguous understanding of the roles and functions of BMCs by all parties, changing the fisheries management style through integrating BMC management approach with Communal Area Management Program [CAMP] to strengthen the current fisheries management under the BMC-CAMP management arrangement, intensifying extension in order to get the support of fishers not through coercion, and increasing channels of communication to include; radios, phones, newspapers, magazines, and newsletters, for enhancing nation-wide mechanism for fisher communities to access and utilize information regarding national and local management and development, etc.