Governance assessment of small-scale inland fishing: The case of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, Zambia

Sydney Kapembwa*, Alan Gardiner, Jόn G. Pétursson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The small-scale fishing sector in sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing multiple challenges, mainly related to various governance issues. This study assessed the governance approach at a small-scale Lake Itezhi-Tezhi fishery, Zambia and how it relates to sustainable fishing. Data were collected through a mixed-methods approach. The governance approach was assessed by legitimacy criterion. The study revealed that there was no co-management in place but a dual governance approach—fishing community-based approach and central government-controlled approach. Both were ineffective, mainly due to lack of adherence to the legislation for local community participation in fisheries governance and an inadequate policy framework to guide the governance process. Also, the governance approaches lacked legitimacy with stakeholders. As such, unsustainable fishing practices had continued. To move towards sustainable fishing at the fishery, the study suggested the following measures: active stakeholders' collaboration and engagement with the government for prompt implementation of legislation that promotes active local fishers' participation; establishment of an appropriate fisheries policy; and ultimately, a transformation of the current governance approach into a legitimate co-management governance approach. These suggested recommendations might be useful to other African small-scale inland fisheries with similar governance challenges, and also towards meeting Sustainable Development Goal 14 on sustainable fishing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-254
Number of pages19
JournalNatural Resources Forum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is part of the doctoral thesis of the corresponding author. Our thanks go to all Lake Itezhi‐Tezhi fishery stakeholders for participating in the study. We also extend our thanks for financial support to the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) through the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED) project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 United Nations

Other keywords

  • fisheries co-management
  • fishers
  • legislation
  • legitimacy
  • stakeholders
  • sustainable


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