eCite Digital Repository

Developing locally managed marine areas: lessons learnt from Kenya


Kawaka, JA and Samoilys, MA and Murunga, M and Church, J and Abunge, C and Maina, GW, Developing locally managed marine areas: lessons learnt from Kenya, Ocean and Coastal Management, 135 pp. 1-10. ISSN 0964-5691 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Not available

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2016.10.013


Coastal communities in Kenya are increasingly adopting Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) and by 2015, 24 had been established. Coastal communities perceive the objectives of these LMMAs are to primarily conserve fisheries and marine resources and secure alternative sources of income. In this study we examined if there are generic approaches in how these LMMAs were established, that can be used for developing national guidelines as well as have application to other locations in the western Indian Ocean region. The study involved a literature review of all documents available on the LMMAs and key informant interviews.

We found LMMAs in Kenya go through five phases to become fully established and operational: i) Conceptualisation, ii) Inception, iii) Implementation, iv) Monitoring and management; and v) Ongoing Adaptive Management. We defined each stage by the activities that are taking place which determine how far a LMMA has reached in its development. The final phase is when a LMMA exists sustainably in a continuous learning process. Out of 19 LMMAs assessed, four had reached the fifth stage of ‘Ongoing Adaptive Management’ though not all elements of this stage were fully operational.

The Kenyan model differs from the widely known Pacific model of four phases due to an additional initial ‘Conceptualisation’ phase. Our results illustrate the need for full acceptance of the LMMA concept by stakeholders before progressing to the ‘Inception phase.’ When this step was missed many LMMAs stalled due to unaddressed training needs, incomplete involvement of stakeholders and lack of financial resources, management and operational structures. These five phases provide a useful guide for communities and other stakeholders to follow when developing LMMAs, or for those that are established and need guidance on their operations.

Common factors that we found associated with the development of LMMAs were informed and committed community members, past training in community based marine resource management, a supportive legal framework, external funding and opportunities for sharing LMMA information. The occurrence of an exchange visit to an existing LMMA was invariably the trigger for a community to establish their own LMMA. Weaknesses were seen in poor enforcement on the water and inadequate ongoing education and training. Further there was very little understanding of the costs of establishing and running a LMMA, therefore long term financial sustainability was problematic. Thus, although the rapid increase in the number of LMMAs in Kenya is a conservation success, their effectiveness will be thwarted if enforcement and financial management are not addressed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:LMMA, fishing community, stakeholders, conservation
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries management
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Murunga, M (Mr Michael Murunga)
ID Code:151524
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Directorate
Deposited On:2022-08-01
Last Modified:2022-08-01

Repository Staff Only: item control page