Organization: Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources
Location: Massawa, Eritrea
Governance and Small-Scale Fisheries Development in the Greater Massawa Area, Eritrea
This Major Research Paper strives to analyze the complexities of ‘governance’ through an Interactive Governance Approach (IGA) to assess the development challenges of small-scale fisheries (SSF) in the Greater Massawa Area (GMA). Despite mass efforts post-independence Eritrea’s SSF sector remains underdeveloped. This study provides a unique lens to understand these developmental concerns in the GMA by applying a holistic analysis of scales starting from Eritrea’s broader national development plan of self-reliance to the operationalization of this principle at the local level. This holistic approach includes fieldwork conducted in the GMA, with a mixed methods approach to study SSF through quantitative questionnaires, qualitative semi-structured interviews, and ethnographic field observations. Primary challenges highlighted include negative attitudes by fishermen towards cooperative membership, low trust levels amongst SSF actors and institutions, a lack of infrastructure and compliance by institutions including low capacity for enforcement, which then leads to the unpredictability of resources and fish catch. Overall these challenges highlight the intensity of interactions and interconnectedness of multiple scales of governance and their complexities in GMA. This study determines GMAs’ hierarchal forms of governing have created constraints on self-reliance both for the social and natural system to be governed. Rather than fostering human development and economic growth for SSF it leaves them vulnerable to external shocks as they rely heavily on the same institutions that are also weakened due to low interactions and administration. Therefore, a move towards co-governance would better support and develop the SSF sector with the inclusion of self-reliance as a development model.