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Open AccessArticle

Governance and Power Dynamics in a Small-Scale Hilsa Shad (Tenualosa ilisha) Fishery: A Case Study from Bangladesh

Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Science (DENVI), Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Department of Geosciences and Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
WorldFish, Bangladesh, and South Asia Office, Dhaka 1213, Bangladesh
Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Department for Water, Environment, Civil Engineering and Safety, University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal, D-39114 Magdeburg, Germany
Department of Coastal and Marine Fisheries, Sylhet Agricultural University, Sylhet 3100, Bangladesh
Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St.John’s, NL A1B 3X9, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5738;
Received: 10 May 2020 / Revised: 11 July 2020 / Accepted: 15 July 2020 / Published: 16 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
This paper considers the hilsa shad (Tenualosa ilisha) fishery of southern Bangladesh as a case study regarding governance and power dynamics at play in a small-scale fishery, and the relevance of these for the sustainable management of coastal fisheries. Qualitative methods, involving in-depth individual interviews (n = 128) and focus group discussions (n = 8) with key stakeholders in the hilsa fishery, were used to capture multiple perspectives on governance from those in different positions in the relative power structures studied, while facilitating insightful discussions and reflections. The analysis here is based on a power cube framework along three power dimensions (levels, spaces, and forms) in Bangladesh’s hilsa fishery. The study displays an imbalance in the present hilsa governance structure, with some stakeholders exercising more power than others, sidelining small-scale fishers, and encouraging increasing illegal fishing levels that ultimately harm both the fisheries and those dependent on them. To overcome this, we propose a co-management system that can play a vital role in equalizing power asymmetry among hilsa fishery stakeholders and ensure effective hilsa fishery governance. Our results suggest that recognizing analyzed power dynamics has substantial implications for the planning and implementation of such co-management and the long-term sustainability of the hilsa fishery. View Full-Text
Keywords: small-scale fishery; hilsa fishery; governance; power cube; power asymmetry; co-management small-scale fishery; hilsa fishery; governance; power cube; power asymmetry; co-management
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Mozumder, M.M.H.; Pyhälä, A.; Wahab, M.A.; Sarkki, S.; Schneider, P.; Islam, M.M. Governance and Power Dynamics in a Small-Scale Hilsa Shad (Tenualosa ilisha) Fishery: A Case Study from Bangladesh. Sustainability 2020, 12, 5738.

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