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Social Capital: Communities Based Fisheries Management

March 25, 2007

Fishers are amongst the poorest people in Bangladesh. Most possess few capital assets, many are landless and have few alternative livelihood options. Their access to lakes, rivers and floodplains is strongly affected by decisions made by the people who control aquatic resources at the local level, particularly the rich and elites. The Community Based Fisheries Management Project is an action research project, which the WorldFish Center has been assisting the Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh to implement over the last ten years. The second phase of the project, CBFM-2, has involved the development and testing of a range of community based and co-management models in 116 water bodies through supporting the development of 130 Community Based Organisations (CBOs) in partnership with 11 NGOs. Social capital is one of the five different types of capital (natural, physical, human, financial and social) that are needed for households to develop sustainable livelihood strategies. It consists of the networks and norms that govern the interactions among individuals, households and communities. Social capital can be categorised into three types: bonding, bridging and linking but the boundaries between these vary across contexts. The aim of the study was to see whether poor fishers involved with the CBFM-2 project have benefited through increasing their social capital.

Community Based Fisheries Management: Capturing the Benefits

January 1, 2007

The unequal distribution of wealth and power in rural Bangladesh makes it difficult for the poorer members of society including women to access natural resources such as fisheries. Over a ten year period, the Community Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) project has successfully established access rights for many poor fishers to water bodies from which they were previously excluded. One of the main challenges faced by the project has been the resolution of disputes between the new user groups and the former users, often the rich, politically powerful 'rural elite'. This brief focuses on the approaches developed by the project to address the power struggle which faces community based organisations (CBOs) when taking control of valuable natural resources.

Community Based Fisheries Management: Institutional Options for Empowering Fisher Communities

January 1, 2007

This report sheds light on the diversity of approaches adopted by the various project partners, along with lessons learned during the Community Based Fisheries Management Project (CBFM-2). CBFM 2 was the second phase of an action research project designed to establish whether the sustainable management of publicly owned and private water bodies can be carried out by community groups consisting largely of poor fishers. The first phase implemented by the Department of Fisheries, with the assistance of the WorldFish Center and supported by the Ford Foundation, demonstrated that the approach was possible in a limited number of water bodies. The second phase, with assistance from the DFID-UK, involved a much greater range of water bodies (target 120, final number 116) with a range of partners -- the Department of Fisheries (DoF), the implementing NGOs, Banchte Shekha, BRAC, CARITAS, CNRS, CRED, GHARONI, Proshika, SDC, SHISUK, and the specialist NGOs, BELA for legal assistance and FemCom for media communications. A wide range of institutional arrangements have been established under the project. Many of the project documents state that there are three main fisheries management approaches; fisher-led, community-led and women-led. The definitions of the three approaches were: 1. Fisher-led Approach -- Forming groups among the fishers for using each water body and then a committee or organisation representing these groups and taking management decisions in a participatory manner; 2. Community-led Approach -- Participatory approach at the community level. Fishery managed by the community where participatory planning with different stakeholders is followed by forming a water body management committee according to the suggestions of all stakeholder categories; 3. Women-led Approach -- Ensure participatory planning involving the whole community covering all stakeholders, with groups usually formed with women (in some cases, mixed groups with men and women), and the women's group members take a lead in resource management. However these definitions fail to capture the full diversity of approaches adopted by project partners during implementation. By the end of the project, 10 different organisations had been involved in setting up community groups to manage CBFM-2 sites.

Community Based Fisheries Management: Livelihoods Impact

January 1, 2007

This policy brief addreses the lessons learned and policy recommendations from CBFM-2. The Community Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) Project has been implemented since 1995 by theDepartment of Fisheries (DoF) with the assistance of the WorldFish Center. It has worked in a range of water bodies across Asia (Southern)-Bangladesh; including government owned fisheries (jalmohals) and privately owned fisheries in closed beels, open beels, floodplains and rivers. The second phase of the project, CBFM-2, supported by DFID, is now in its last year of operation and covers 116 waterbodies. It has resulted in the establishment of 130 Community Based Organisations (CBOs) through community development work by 11 partner NGOs.

Community Based Fisheries Management: The Right Option

January 1, 2007

The principle behind community based fisheries management is handover of fisheries resources to community groups and they will manage the resources sustainably and equitably. The benefits of this approach are obvious -- it is pro-poor, equitable and sustainable. Handing over fisheries management to community groups secures access to fisheries resources for those people whose lives depend on them i.e. the poor fishers. This ensures a pro-poor approach supportive of the national goal of poverty alleviation. In addition to this, by making sure that the best fisheries do not forever end up with the few local elites, community managed fisheries guarantees equitable distribution of benefits from fisheries resources. The lives of some millions of people are dependent on fisheries resources and they must be allowed to enjoy the benefits from these resources. Moreover, unlike the current revenue based system of fisheries management, community managed fisheries approach is not driven by the overarching desire for profit. As a result, community groups responsible for managing fisheries resources balance the need for production with conservation which results in sustainability. A brief comparison of the approaches adopted for fisheries management (presented in the following tabular form) clearly demonstrates the advantages of community managed fisheries approach.

The Legal Background to Community Based Fisheries Management in Bangladesh

November 1, 2006

This booklet, produced as an output from the Community Based Fisheries Management Project -- 2nd Phase(CBFM-2), aims to summarise the legal knowledge and experiences built up and challenges faced during the five years of CBFM-2 implementation. It also suggests a set of legal and policy interventions to ensure future sustainability. The project has established community control over 116 water bodies, spread over 48 Upazilas (sub-district) in 22 districts in Bangladesh. With 130 Community Based Organisations (CBOs), formed under this project, the communities were given the responsibility for management of 116 water bodies -- government owned fisheries (jalmohals) and privately owned seasonal water bodies -- closed beels, open beels, river sections and floodplains. The CBFM-2 project has been managed by the Department of Fisheries in partnership with the WorldFish Center and 11 implementing NGOs -- Banchte Shekha, BRAC, Caritas, CNRS, CRED, GHARONI, Proshika, SDC, SHISUK, and the specialist NGOs FemCom for media communications and BELA for legal support and assistance.