Participatory mapping of terrestrial fishery resources in Kwale District, Kenya
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A participatory mapping study was conducted in Kinondo location of Kwale district in Kenya. The area is subject to high human population and development pressure in the north, where tourism and urban development is intense, compared to lower population pressure in the south where such development is low. Our focus was to document information about these resources that have maintained fishing for many generations and to address issues of their conservation and management. The study focused on the spatial arrangement, access, ownership and use of land-based resources, mainly shrubs, grasses and trees, at four landing sites along the north-south population gradient. Participatory techniques (sketch maps, livelihood diagrams and transect walks) were applied, where trained fishers led other fishers in mapping, and the local Digo language was used for recording names. Resources were arranged in distinct vegetation zones parallel to the beach. A north-south increase in resource availability and abundance was recorded, inversely related to the higher population pressure in the north compared to the south. While much of the land on which vegetation resources are located was publicly accessible, a significant part is owned by absentee landlords, concentrated in the north. This over time results in increasingly restricted access to resources by fishermen, as shown in the more developed, northern section of the study site. Fishers also experience problems with access routes to landing sites on the beach due to encroachment on routes by beachfront development. The mapping activity revealed the potential for conflict over resource access and the need for solutions to maintain fishers’ access to terrestrial resources important for fishing.