Resource Management and the Challenges of Migration in Artisanal Fisheries: A case study on the mobility of the fishing people in Jamestown and Chorkor fishing communities in Ghana
Small-scale (artisanal) fishing is increasingly important to the rural poor and accounts for majority of fish catches in Africa. Migration or mobility (movement) is a basic feature as it constitutes one of the strategies that fishing communities often use in order to secure their livelihoods. It forms an integral part of the small-scale fishing industry and has influenced the fishing sector for many centuries. As a result, the constant mobility of fishers’ breeds misunderstanding that leads to conflicts and marginalization in their new destinations. The failure of the institutions at their destinations in negotiating access to the resource, also restricts them to the fringes of societies. The research analyses how migrant fishers gain access to fishing rights in their new destination and how they maintained the resource. This was based on case studies in the fishing communities of Jamestown and Chorkor, in the Greater Accra region of Ghana. The research draws on the qualitative method of research through the use of interviews, observations and questionnaires. It shed light on the reasons and motives of migration by small-scale fishers to these communities, and impacts of migration with regards to the integration of migrants in these local fishing communities. Institutional management structures in regulating the use of the resource by both migrant and local fishers were also discussed in the research. The research discovery points out, that access to fishing grounds by migrant fishers in their new communities are quite similar to the local fishers and is also linked to the principle of differentiated social actors. Small-scale fishers tend to migrate to these communities in response to the movements of fish during the glut season but motives and patterns for migration have become diverse in recent decades. Both positive and negative impacts were recorded with regard to integration of migrant fishers in Jamestown and Chorkor. The regulation and management of the use of the resource is done by both the formal and informal institutions, with the informal institutions playing a major role. The research brings to bare results the existing knowledge on how to provide co-management strategies, inclusive governance and social development approaches in promoting access to fishing rights by migrant fishers. It also sheds light on how migration as a relevant strategy can be accommodated for mutual benefit and management of the resource.