Assessing the contribution of fisheries management strategies on compliance to fisheries regulations by fisher folk in lake Victoria: a case study of Busia county, Kenya
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Fisheries resources in Lake Victoria have been under immense pressure leading to over utilization and decline of fish. Fisheries resources support livelihoods, generate income, ensure food security, and provide raw materials used in animal feeds and pharmaceutical industry. However, fisheries resources have faced ecological challenges in many freshwater lakes worldwide. Lake Victoria’s ecological health has been deteriorating due to overfishing, use of illegal fishing gears and fishing methods. Fisheries management strategies and regulations have been enacted to regulate fishing in Lake Victoria. However, it was not known whether these strategies could enhance fisher folks’ compliance to fisheries regulations. In addition, Busia County government introduced aggregated farming practices as income diversification. However, it was unknown whether these alternative farming practices could improve fisher folks’ compliance with fisheries regulations. Therefore, the goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of fisheries resources management strategies on fishermen's compliance to fisheries regulations in Busia County, Kenya's Lake Victoria. The objectives were to: Examine the perceptions of fisher folks towards the types of fisheries management strategies and fisheries regulations; determine the relationship between types of punitive measures and compliance with fisheries regulations; and determine the relationship between categories of alternative livelihoods and compliance with fisheries regulations. Descriptive cross-sectional research design was used in this study. The study population consisted of 4200 participants including fishermen, boat owners, fish merchants, regional manufacturers of fishing gear, and equipment dealers. The sample size of 324 respondents was calculated using Kothari (2004) formula. Primary data was gathered from 13 landing beaches in the Samia and Bunyala sub counties using structured questionnaires, Key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Frequencies and percentages were used to present the data, and the Chi-square test of independence and Spearman Rank correlation were used to investigate the relationships between the variables. The results showed that respondents strongly agreed (r=0.714) that current laws and regulations were easy to understand but the approaches used were ineffective. In addition, the respondents strongly agreed (r=0.896) that even though fishermen are aware of fisheries regulations, they are forced by hard economic conditions to violate income diversification approaches. Types of punitive measures such as closed seasons, fish landing areas restrictions, fishing areas restrictions, fishing methods restrictions and gear size restrictions showed a statistically significant (p < 0.01) association with compliance to fisheries regulations. Moreover, alternative livelihoods: Aggregated horticulture farming (χ26=30.35, p=0.00003), aggregated dairy and poultry farming (χ26=21.38, p=0.0016) and aggregated aquaculture farming (χ26=94.79, p=0.0000) showed statistically significant association with compliance to fisheries regulations. In conclusion, stakeholders had positive attitude towards fisheries management strategies and regulations. Low compliance to fisheries regulations led to dwindling fish stocks. Strengthening punitive measures and aggregated farming practices could enhance compliance. There was need to create awareness on fisheries management strategies and regulations, and build capacity on aggregated farming practices to enhance compliance with fisheries requlations among the fisherfolks.