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This paper analyses the myriad perceptions about coastal fisheries in Sierra Leone expressed by respondents in 66 interviews conducted in 2017 and 2020 during two periods of fieldwork in two coastal communities (Tombo and Goderich). Most of these perceptions focused on the respondents' explanations for the dire state of the coastal fisheries, and often these explanations sought 'scapegoats' to blame. Our findings are that the main 'scapegoats' were foreigners, industrial trawlers, artisanaldoi:10.3390/su13137292 fatcat:jcj6wkoqgvfgbohmxhkh3kfxba