Toward Political Ecologies of Scale: Conceptualizing Community-Based Coastal and Fisheries Comanagement on the West Coast of South Africa

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Toward Political Ecologies of Scale: Conceptualizing Community-Based Coastal and Fisheries Comanagement on the West Coast of South Africa

in Ocean Yearbook Online


2. See S. W. Walters, "Coastal Common Property Regimes in South East Asia," in Ocean Yearbook, ed. Elisabeth Mann Borgese, Norton Ginsburg, and Joseph R. Morgan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 11:304-27; S. Jentoft and B. McCay, "User Participation in Fisheries Management," Marine Policy 19, no. 3 (1995): 226-27; A. Schlager and E. Ostrom, "Property Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis," Land Economics 68 (August 1992): 249-62; E. Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 1-50; S. W. Lawry, "Tenure Policy toward Common Property Natural Resources in Sub-Saharan Africa" Natural Re- sourcesJournal30 (1990): 403-22; B. Cousins, "Common Property Institutions and Land Reform in South Africa," Development Southern Africa 12, no. 4 (August 1995): 481-503; R. Hasler, Agriculture Foraging and Wildlife Resource Use in Africa: Cultural and Political Dynamics in the Zambezi Valley (London: Kegan Paul, 1996), pp. 1-39. 3. L. R. Brown, State of the World 1995-A World Watch Institute Report on Progress tozuard a Sustainable Society (New York: Norton, 1995), quoted in D. Cloete, "Global Fisheries in Decline," New Ground 20 (winter 1995): 16. 4. Ibid., p. 15.

. 5. For the fisheries debates, see Fisheries Policy Development Working Com- mittee, "Summary of Policy Submissions" (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Cape Town, 1996), pp. 1-30, and "Review of Access Rights Options for South Africa" (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Cape Town, 1996), pp. 1-10. 6. For example, see abstracts of papers presented at the Ninth Southern Afri- can Marine Science Conference, Cape Town, 21-23 November 1996, which almost entirely focus on natural science considerations. 7. The South African Reconstruction and Development Program states that more access and control of fishing resources should accrue to "communities." See African National Congress, Reconstruction and Development Programme: A Policy Frame- work (Johannesburg: Umanyano, 1994), pp. 40, 41, 104-5.

8. See John Parkington and Martin Hall, Papers in the Prehistory of the Western Cape, B.A.R. International Series no. 332 (Oxford, 1987), pp. 11-19. 9. For example, there is conclusive evidence from coastal middens and from cave floor deposits that crayfish and other intertidal resources provided an impor- tant seasonal food supply to precolonial foragers (see John Parkington, "Coastal Settlement between the Mouths of the Berg and Olifants Rivers, Cape Province," South African Archaeological Bulletin 31 [1976]: 127-40). This indicates that social mechanisms and rights of access to these resources were established within the eco- logical and political context existing at that time. 10. Ibid., pp. 393-423. ( 11. See M. Wilson and L. Thompson, eds., A History of South Africa to 1870 (Cape Town: David Phillip, 1982), p. 41.

12. Ibid., pp. 42-55. 13. Ibid., p. 55. 14. Ibid., pp. 63-65. 15. Ibid., p. 65. In today's neoliberal idiom, one might say these early colonists had arrived to "comanage" the local resources. "Comanagement" is currently used to refer to agreements involving local communities, local authorities, state authori- ties, and the private sector to facilitate management of natural resources. 16. See J. S. Marais, "Armesorg aan die Kaap onder die Kompanjie, 1652- 1795," Archives Year Book for South African History (Pretoria: GAUM, 1943), pp. 83- 100, quoted in Wilson and Thompson, eds., pp. 15-29.

17. For example, such forces might include the establishment of export mar- kets for crayfish coupled with Afrikaaner nationalism's rise to political power. 18. L. Van Sittert, "Making like America: The Industrialization of the St. He- lena Bay Fisheries cc. 1956," Journal of Southern African Studies 19, no. 3 (September 1993) : 422. 19. Ibid., p. 424.

20. Ibid., pp. 424, 437. The current debate about redistributing access rights needs to be understood in the historical context that the fishing industry has long been associated with family ties and political agendas (for example, Afrikaaner na- tionalism). This raises the question of the degree to which the state's role as protec- tor of the resource has been instrumentalized by political groups both in the past and in the present. 21. See, for example, table 1 and the discussion pertaining to it that illustrates the overlapping property rights regimes and management levels involved on the West Coast of South Africa.

22. M. Driver, L. Platzky, and J. Shapiro, "West Coast Regional Development Study" (Development Action Group, Cape Town, 1993), p. 35. 23. Fisheries Policy Development Working Committee, "Summary of Policy Submissions" (n. 5 above). 24. See L. V. Shannon, "The Physical Environment," in Oceans of Life off South- ern Africa, ed. A. I. L. Payne and R. J. M. Crawford (Cape Town: Juta, 1989). The Benguela upwelling system is one of four global upwelling systems. It is unique in that it is bounded by two warm currents, the Angola current in the North and the Aghulas current in the South. 25. For example, an April 1997 red tide caused losses of massive volumes of crayfish that walked out on to the beach at Elands Bay (see fig. 1) to avoid the deoxygenated water. The dying creatures were claimed by the state, mainly to be used for fish meal. This greatly dismayed local residents who claimed a right to utilize the dying fish themselves. The state's action protected the fishing industry from the international sale of low quality crayfish and protected the ordinary person from sale of unhygienic fish. This made no sense to local people who perceived a loss of their own livelihood rotting on the beach.

26. For example, pelagic and demersal fisheries are largely the domain of na- tional companies because they require expensive and sophisticated technology, but longline fishing for hake presents an access option that does not require expensive technology. In a similar manner, West Coast lobster involves trap capture, which requires expensive vessels, but hoop-netting can be done on a far less expensive basis. It is argued that these less capital intensive fishing options may present oppor- tunities for reallocation of quota so as not to threaten the established industry. See Fisheries Policy Development Working Committee, "Summary of Policy Submis- sions," pp. 1-30, and "Review of Access Rights Options for South Africa" (n. 5 above), pp. 1-10. 27. The informal fisher sector includes all those who make a livelihood from the sea but are marginalized from the dominant state and fishing-industry coman- agement regime. 28. See Fisheries Policy Development Working Committee, "Summary of Pol- icy Submissions," pp. 1-30, and "Review of Access Rights Options for South Africa," pp. 1-10. 29. Personal communication with Mike Bergh (Cape Town, June 1997). 30. The debate is composed of many interest groups attempting to affect the decision-making process. The issues raised can be loosely categorized into technical and political issues. See note 26 above for examples of documents concerning the technical issues. The unfolding political process affecting decision making is part of an ongoing debate that is regularly reflected within the Western Cape media, as,

for example, in ongoing fisheries debates reported in the Argus newspaper, Cape Town. Rio 31. Fisheries Policy Development Working Committee, "Review of Access Rights Options for South Africa." 32. Note that the state- and private-sector comanagement regime historically competed with foreign fishing vessels until international legislation was passed con- cerning the 200-mile limit marine economic zones. 33. Van Sittert, "Making like America" (n. 18 above), p. 242.

34. J. Harris, A. Wilson, and G. Branch, "Towards Sustainable Utilization of Mussels in Kwazulu Natal through Participatory Experimental Harvesting and Co- management" (Scientific Services Natal Parks Board paper presented at the Ninth Southern African Marine Science Symposium, Cape Town 21-23 November 1996), p. 1. 35. For example, K. L. Cochrane, D. S. Butterworth, and A. I. L. Payne, "South Africa's Off-Shore Living Marine Resources: The Scientific Basis for Management of the Fisheries" (paper presented at the Ninth Southern African Marine Science Symposium, Cape Town, 21-23 November 1996). 36. The typology that categorizes common-property regimes into open access, state property, communal property, and private property has generated much de- bate since F. Berkes and M. Farvar, eds., Common Property Resources: Ecology and Community-Based Sustainable Development (London: Belhaven, 1989), pp. 10, 24. The point here is that overlapping property-rights regimes, that is, the set of rules, ar- rangements, and understandings defining access to the coastal zone, tend to empha- size state and private rights.

37. H. Maine, Ancient Law: Its Connection zuith the Early History of Society and Its Relation to Modern Ideas (New York: Henry Holt, 1896) . Maine described non-Western systems of land tenure, systems that did not focus on Western concepts of private Property as "bundles of rights." The term "bundles of rights" refers to the way in which multiple ownership rights, use rights, and access rights in the same resources can coexist. See n. 40 below for an example of bundles of rights. . 38. A "usufruct right" is the right to make use of something in contrast to a right of ownership.

39. Sea Fisheries Act of 1968, South African government. 40. In the African context, a good example of a "bundle of rights of usufruct" might be the traditional land-tenure system. In some traditional southern African cultural tenure systems, land was owned by the patrilineage with the ancestors and chiefs as custodians of the land. Men also had ownership rights in cultivated land and inherited land, but their wives who may have come from a different lineage also had rights to use the land held by their husbands. These women's rights to use the land of their husband's patrilineage (i.e., their nested rights) are examples of a "bundle of rights of usufruct." The system of rights of ownership and use includ- ing the rights of ancestors, chiefs, men, and women is an example of a bundle of rights. De jure and de facto rights of access to the coast also constitute a "bundle of rights of usufruct." The considerable ambiguity associated with the competing rights to use the coast indicates that the concept of bundles of rights may be useful in reviewing and unraveling the existing legislation in the context of historical claims on resources and the political and social movements that ultimately change the legislation. It is important to note that rights change in response to moral and intel- lectual discourses associated with particular times. The concept of bundles of rights locates the system of rights within the social system that has produced these rights. See R. Hasler, Agriculture Foraging and Wildlife Resource Use in Africa (n. 2 above), pp. 12-23.

41. R. Hasler, Political Ecologies of Scale: The Multi-tiered Co-management of Zimbab- wean Wildlife Resources, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Wildlife and Development Series, paper no. 7 (London: IIED, 1995), pp.1-16.

42. Ibid., pp. 1-16. 43. There is a danger that too much consultation may ironically mean less democratic decision making toward institutional change. The larger the number and the greater the heterogeneity of the competing interests, the more likely institu- tional change will be delayed. 44. Hasler, Political Ecologies of Scale.

45. Schlager and Ostrom (n. 2 above), p. 301. 46. J. Murombedzi, "Decentralization or Recentralization-Implementing CAMPFIRE in the Omay Communal Lands of the Nyaminyami District" working Paper (University of Zimbabwe, Centre for Applied Social Science, Harare, 1992), Pp. 1-10. . 47. For example, the debate concerning utilization of elephants and whales involves global, regional, national, district, and local perspectives. Local communi- ties alone cannot make decisions about using these resources without negotiating WIth these other decision-making levels. Likewise, global, national, and district levels

cannot make decisions about local use of these resources without local participation and a pragmatic understanding of local conditions. See M. R. Freeman and U. Kreuter, Elephants and Whales Resources for Whom? (New York: Gordon & Breach Sci- ence, 1994), pp. 1-40. 48. R. F. Fuggle and M. A. Rabie, eds., Environmental Management in South Africa: Technical and Legal Perspectives (Cape Town: Juta, 1992), pp. 1-75. 49. Driver, Platzky, and Shapiro (n. 22 above), p. 35. 50. Ibid., pp. 35-36.

51. De Wet Schutte, "Report of the Committee of Enquiry into Fishermen's Community Trusts" (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Cape own, 1994), pp. 1-50. See section that follows for more on community trusts.

52. L. Van Sittert, "Mistrust at Elands Bay," New Ground 20 (winter 1995): 13-15.

53. The 1997 fisheries policy white paper has scrapped the quota board that was often subject to accusations of corruption in the setting of quotas. The task of q",ta setting has been set aside for the minister responsible for fisheries. Political decisions therefore continue to be critical for the management of the resource.

54. De Wet Schutte, pp. 1-50.

55. See M. Sowman, "An Analysis of Emerging Co-management Arrangements for the Olifants River Harder Fishery" (International Centre for Living Marine Re- sources report presented at the Second African Regional Workshop on Fisheries Comanagement, Mangochi, Malawi, 18-20 March 1997), pp. 1-33.

56. Ostrom (n. 2 above), pp. 1-30. 57. Ibid.

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