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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 297-309

Conserving Poverty: Destructive Fishing Gear Use in a Tanzanian Marine Protected Area

Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Justin Raycraft
Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, QC
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_18_53

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Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork, this paper attends to the persistent use of Destructive Fishing Gear (DFG) in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in southeastern Tanzania. Based on participant observation, document analysis, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions conducted with villagers, I argue that the MPA has failed to eliminate the use of DFG because of its inability to address the historically-embedded political, economic, and sociocultural dimensions of DFG use in the inshore fishery. I contend that pre-existing and conservation-induced conditions of poverty drive the continued use of DFG inside the MPA. Such circumstances are framed by colonial and post-independence state-level development policies. They are also textured by breakdowns in customary marine tenure practices, changing beliefs about which types of fishing gear villagers consider to be traditional, and community-defined moral rights to fish for the fulfilment of basic material needs. I maintain that MPAs must take into account the anthropological complexities of poverty if they are to be effective.

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