Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 1, Issue 1,2003
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Fisheries development issues and their impacts on the livelihoods of fishing communities in West-Africa: An overview


Christophe Béné 1, Arthur E. Neiland 2

Recieved Date: 2002-11-18, Accepted Date: 2003-01-10


Fisheries (in particular small-scale fisheries) provide a vital source of food, employment, and economic well-being for rural people throughout the world. In West Africa several million households along the coast and also inland are critically dependent on fishing for their livelihoods. However, fishing communities are often characterised as being amongst “the poorest of the poor”. The main objective of this paper is to review the major issues relating to the development and management of small-scale fisheries in West Africa and to examine their impacts on the livelihoods of the fisheries-dependent communities of the region. Several major issues are identified, discussed and briefly illustrated using numerical examples or extracts of official documents. Globally, it appears that the fisheries sector, despite its potential role as a powerful lever for poverty reduction, is often neglected by national or supra-national decision-makers. Since 1999, however, a number of international initiatives (sponsored by Donor Agencies) have attempted to overturn this negative perception.


Small-scale fisheries, West Africa, development policies, livelihoods, poverty

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2003
Volume: 1
Issue: 1
Category: Environment
Pages: 128-134

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