Fisheries Cooperatives as a Platform to Address Multi-stakeholder Issues in South Sri Lanka: Incorporating SSF Voluntary Guidelines into the ICZM Process

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Co-management, Conflicts, Integrated coastal zone management, Small scale fisheries


Coastal resources are used by multiple stakeholders with diverse interests, whose actions often give rise to conflicts, showing the need for integrated coastal management where resource use decisions are made with the participation of all. While all relevant state actors operate along the coastal belt, there hardly exists any coordination among them, revealing the absence of integrated efforts in coastal resource management. This study was undertaken in this context, aiming at finding out the potential lead role, a community based organisation could play in initiating an integrated coastal management platform. Since the recently developed SSF Guidelines have important implications for such a platform, the study examined the extent to which fisheries cooperatives qualify for such a task. Rekawa of Southern Sri Lanka was selected for the study. The methodology involved a Focus Group Discussion with representatives of all coastal resource users, and a questionnaire survey. Results revealed that, conflicts among stakeholders were pervasive but remained latent. They have been resolved mainly through private negotiations. Among the three community organisations in operation, the marine fisheries cooperative ranked first in respect of providing livelihood capitals and, in its potential to adopt key concerns highlighted in SSF guidelines, but ranked low in resource management. Holistic, integrated, inclusive approaches to management with the participation of all relevant parties and, improving the socio-economic conditions, were accredited as the most pertinent SSF guidelines towards conflict resolution. The study showed that fisheries cooperatives could play an important role in the process of integrated coastal zone management, providing a formidable platform to address multiple stakeholder issues.

Author Biographies

  • OSCAR AMARASINGHE, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna, Mapalana, Kamburupitiya - 81100, Sri Lanka
    Oscar Amarasinghe is a retired professor of the University of Ruhuna. His areas of speacialization include fisheries management, wellbeing and multi-stakehokder conflicts. He is presently working on fisheries policy issues.
  • K. H. K. L. PIYASIRI, Nha Trang University, Nha Trang City, Khánh Hòa Province - 650 000, Vietnam
    I'm a researcher and a scientist working in the field of fisheries social sciences


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How to Cite

AMARASINGHE, O., & PIYASIRI, K. H. K. L. (2021). Fisheries Cooperatives as a Platform to Address Multi-stakeholder Issues in South Sri Lanka: Incorporating SSF Voluntary Guidelines into the ICZM Process. Journal of the Indian Society of Coastal Agricultural Research, 39(2), 123-139.