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Beach Management Units; Co-management Fisheries; Lake Turkana; Stakeholder
Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, is the second largest producer of freshwater fishery in Kenya. The lake is co-managed by stakeholders’ groups called Beach Management Units (BMUs) in a co-management arrangement with the government. Despite the enactment of co-management policy, management related challenges including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, overexploitation and resource use conflicts still bedevil the lake leading to plummeting fisheries production. This study identified gaps in stakeholders’ inclusion and mobilization methods used by BMUs. Data was collected using questionnaires from 693 respondents in eight beaches. Chi-square was used to test for statistical associations between variables (p≤0.05). Results showed that 13 stakeholders grouped into county government (24%), national government (35%) and donors (42%) were included in the lake’s fisheries management. Although stakeholders’ level of inclusion was not statistically significant (x2=4.8911, df=2, p=0.08668), they were associated with certain activities (x2=202.72, df=8, p<0.001). Donors were engaged in training (84%) and provision of equipment (62%), national government mainly provided security (60%) while County government was associated with marketing infrastructure (56%). BMUs enhanced stakeholder’s inclusion by accepting their opinions (54%), invitation to BMU meetings (26%) and allocation of roles (20%). Information was disseminated through BMU secretaries (41%), announcement in public forums (35%) and phone calls/messages (24%). Although most stakeholders were included in fisheries management, key institutional stakeholders such as National Environment Management Authority, Kenya Maritime Authority and Kenya Ports Authority were missing indicating absence of multiple stakeholders who would provide support in specific areas of co-management. Besides, current mobilization methods were inadequate since they excluded traditional leaders, publicity materials, periodic newsletters and electronic/social media platforms. This study points out critical gaps in stakeholders’ inclusion and mobilization. The gaps should be filled by careful review of fisheries co-management policy at County level to allow for effective fisheries management.