Interpreting Perceptions about Coastal Fisheries in Sierra Leone: Scapegoats and Panaceas

Nwamaka Okeke-Ogbuafor, Tim Gray
2021 Sustainability  
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, artisanal
more » ... ers, fishers' unions and the government. Other interpretations focused on the respondents' recommendations for restoring the health of the coastal fisheries, and our findings here are that the main 'panaceas' were coercion, sensitisation, and co-management. In discussing these findings, we came to the conclusion that both the identification of scapegoats and the search for panaceas were unhelpful ways of understanding and alleviating the problems facing Sierra Leone's coastal fisheries because they polarised and over-simplified the issues, sowing divisions between the stakeholders, thereby reinforcing and prolonging the crisis. A more fruitful approach is to look for ways of forging links and establishing partnerships between the disparate players, especially between the government and community organisations.
doi:10.3390/su13137292 fatcat:jcj6wkoqgvfgbohmxhkh3kfxba