A partnership project of the Bangladesh Department of Fisheries, five NGOs and ICLARM has introduced community management of inland fisheries in Bangladesh. Management arrangements and outcomes are compared in four waterbodies with different property rights. In the closed lake fishers jointly stock, guard and harvest fish, non-members are excluded. Production and incomes have fluctuated since the power of past fisher leaders has been challenged by more transparent decision making. After government made rivers open access, fishers no-longer had any recognized right to limit fishing there and have failed to develop institutions to limit fishing, effort has increased and increasingly small fish are caught using smaller nets. In two open beels, similar fishery outcomes have emerged from different contexts. One is managed by many diverse fisher groups who have agreed to protect fish and have seen catches and consumption increase. A similar pattern has emerged in a seasonal floodplain on private land managed by a multi-stakeholder committee led by women. Here the existing seasonal common fishing rights for very homogenous villages are maintained and overwintering fish have been protected by consensus. Local decisions and rules that conserve fish in the dry season and early monsoon are feasible for communities but require external facilitation and recognition of longer-term fisher or community use rights if they are to be sustainable.
Sultana, P. and P.M. Thompson. Community Fishery Management: Implications for Food Security and Livelihoods. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.