Well-governed fisheries provide food and economic security, promote community organization, and prevent resource conflict. Fisheries governance can take many forms, but to be effective, it must be tailored to local context. In many small-scale fisheries, governance is best informed by local knowledge, holistic ecosystem mapping, and participatory research. Therefore, Secure Fisheries works with Somali fishing communities and government stakeholders to support fisheries co-management—a fisheries governance structure that has been effective in data-poor areas like the Somali region—to promote equitable and effective fisheries management. Co-management connects resource users to government so management measures achieve greater buy-in from the fishing community. This bottom-up approach ensures the voices of all stakeholders are heard by high-level decision-makers.
While working with communities to govern resources locally, Secure Fisheries also works with federal and state fisheries ministries, offering new research and tools to inform fisheries governance and policy. We have worked with these partners to develop a system for fisheries catch data collection that is vital to developing informed fisheries policies. Secure Fisheries research products inform these governance efforts. They include the program’s flagship report, Securing Somali Fisheries; a report covering lessons from fisheries co-management; Project Badweyn, an interactive tool that maps the Somali region’s coastal resources and activities; and a four-year research project focusing on the socio-ecological impacts of cage aquaculture in Lake Victoria.