THE 6 POLICY PRINCIPLES
Co-management is described as the participation of the community stakeholders jointly with the Government in legal, co-shared responsibility for the sustainable management, protection and conservation jurisdiction of a designated natural resource. Whether the resource, be it fisheries, forestry, wildlife, water, or others, the principles of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) is the same and can be clustered into 6 key policy requirements.
A Legally Constituted Group/Society/CBO
The collective group of licensed stakeholders (i.e. fishers, forest users, hunters, etc.) forms a legal entity a CBO, that can sue and be sued, that both have a Constitution that outlines its defined membership, its committees, roles, functions, finance management and benefit-sharing. Is legally endorsed/registered by the government body administering the natural resource or is a CBO/NGO registered under the society act that has clear lines of collaboration with local administration structures.
A defined boundary of jurisdiction
The CBO has a clearly defined boundary of the co-management area (CMA) that is demarcated and has GPS coordinates long lines that falls under either their exclusive traditional use or legal rights to resource ownership and stewardship.
A Resource assessment
A science based study, linked to local state/county statistics (e.g. frame surveys and catch assessment) providing info-graphic data of the state of the resource, its anthropogenic pressures, its productive potential and current use level. It is a natural assets inventory of the area that forms the basis for a co-management plan and as a baseline for decision based monitoring of trends in the CMA.
A Co-management Plan
Based on the assessment, the CBO has a clearly described plan of action outlining their intent and approach to managing the resource within their CMA jurisdiction, outlining closed community conservation areas (CCA), or temporary closed areas or seasons, setting takeoff rates and fish size limits, restriction on gear types and numbers, stakeholder roles and responsibilities, monitoring and data collection for informed management decisions.
Within the governing resource sector legal framework, the CBO, based on its management plan makes legal provision for protection of its rights and its planned activities, allowing it to police its members and exclude non-members, and penalise defaulters. To confiscate illegal gears and to collect revenue, fees and fines.
To ensure security of tenure, irrevocable legal rights are afforded the CBO enshrined in the governing legislation and are officially gazetted as having exclusive user rights to the CMA, including tenure of fish landing sites (FLS).