Outside the law? Analyzing policy gaps in addressing fishers' migration in East Africa

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Coastal areas, and their small-scale fisheries, are important targets for both internal and transboundary migration partly because high mobility is an inherent feature of many artisanal fisheries livelihoods. As climatic changes are forecast to occur, environmental changes may trigger increased flows of migrant fishers. Policies that seek to promote development in ways that do not extensively degrade natural resources will thus have to deal with likely increases in flows of people across administrative boundaries. However, to date little attention has been directed at this issue and little is known about how policies related to coastal resources and development address these issues. This paper addresses this knowledge gap by analyzing policies and legal documents related to coastal resource management and development to examine the extent to which they recognize and integrate fishers' migration in their provisions. Migrant well-being and vulnerabilities are also addressed by examining the extent to which existing policies dealing with socio-economic development and environmental management address migrants and their needs. The analysis shows that policies related to governance of marine resources and coastal development lack an acknowledgment of fishers' migration issues and suggests that this signals an important gap in policy. The implications of this are discussed. The paper also highlights the fact that the invisibility of the issue in policy means that institutions developed to deal with coastal management at the community level may not have sufficient support from legal and policy documents, and may not be developed or equipped to handle the possible conflicts and difficult trade-offs that need to be addressed as a result of current and potentially increasing fishers' mobility.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)379-388
JournalMarine Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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