Accepted paper:

Two alternative or complementary strategies for marine fisheries to reduce poverty and hunger in Sierra Leone

Authors:

Nwamaka Okeke-Ogbuafor (Newcastle University)

Paper short abstract:

Coastal communities in Sierra Leone suffer from the twin evils of poverty and hunger. The country's marine fisheries sector is seen as a means of dealing with both evils, and two alternative or complementary strategies (welfare and wealth creation) have failed.

Paper long abstract:

Coastal communities in Sierra Leone suffer from the twin evils of poverty and hunger (UN Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2, respectively). The country's marine fisheries sector is seen as a means of dealing with both evils, and two alternative or complementary strategies have been devised to do so: (1) The wealth creation strategy is designed to boost the economic efficiency of the marine sector by investing in technical improvements of vessel and gears, it assumes benefits will trickle down. (2) The welfare provision strategy is designed to intervene directly in the small-scale fishery in order to provide facilities, which will make better use of the catches landed. This study examines the effectiveness of each of these two strategies by investigating the perception of stakeholders about their outcomes. Perceptions data were obtained from 51 key informant interviews and 199-survey questionnaire carried out during 2016. Findings show (1) that there is a large presence of international fisheries experts who advocate the wealth creation strategy, and that their contributions are helping to develop the country's industrial fisheries sector and its GDP, but this strategy has not tackled the increasing problems of poverty and food insecurity among local communities; and (2) that proponents of welfare interventions have provided storage facilities but local communities are unable to maintain these facilities. This study concludes that understanding local circumstances is key to developing the types of wealth creation and welfare provision strategies for dealing with poverty and hunger alleviation that will work for these local communities.

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