Christine Etiegni

PhD candidate


Christine Etiegni  graduated on 28 January 2022. Find the link to the thesis here.

Christine graduated from Unesco-IHE,  Institute for Water Education, in Delft, the Netherlands, in April, 2008. Her MSc degree was on Environmental Science, specializing in planning and management and her research topic was "Enforcement and Compliance: Exploring the Missing Link in the Case of Lake Victoria Fisheries (Kenya). Currently, Ms. Etiegni is a PhD research fellow at IHE Delft, Institute for Water Education. She is a member of the Water Science and Engineering Department under the Aquatic Ecosystem Chair group. Her research topic is on participatory fisheries governance in Lake Victoria (Kenya). Ms. Etiegni works with the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy in Kenya with experience spanning 22 years as a fisheries officer involved in fisheries resource governance, fish farming extension and fish quality assurance. She is also interested in gender issues especially in the fisheries sector. Currently, she works as an Assistant Director of Fisheries in Kisumu County, one of the Counties riparian to Lake Victoria on the Kenyan side.


Fisheries Governance and Institutions: Policy Challenges and Emerging Issue within Lake Victoria (Kenya) Fish Chain

Research Summary

Collaborative management (co-management) of natural resources has been advanced as a better way of managing natural resources in the world. This follows the failure of centralized and market based management approaches. Multiple conditions for ensuring success of co-management at national and community level have been identified. These include group homogeneity, participation by those affected, empowerment, accountability, defined membership and support from the government.

While this approach to natural resource management has been welcomed in many parts of the world, there is growing criticism about this approach to management. Co-management has been found to be ineffective in improving natural resource management and community livelihoods, with most critiques highlighting the wrong assumptions made concerning communities, issues of lack of democracy, inadequate capacity, poor representation of resource users, corruption and lack of downward accountability. In some instances, co-management marginalizes poor stakeholders by giving power to local elites and in some cases it also re-enforces state control.

Lake Victoria (Kenya) fisheries still faces many challenges including illegal fishing despite reforms in fisheries governance system that now involves fisher folk in fisheries management decision making. This research analyses institutions used for fisheries governance in Lake Victoria (Kenya) to better understand why sustainable and equitable fisheries has not been achieved in Lake Victoria (Kenya) despite the shift in governance approach from top-down to (participatory) co-management. In Lake Victoria (Kenya), co-management has been promoted as the better approach to fisheries resource management through the formation of Beach Management Units (BMUs), which are mainly community organizations through which fisher folk participate in fisheries management decision making.

A tenet of co-management is that it provides for sustainable and equitable management of natural resources through decentralized and participatory governance since more space is provided for resource users’ participation in natural resource management decision making. This research, however, shows that more than just participation of resource users in needed for sustainable and equitable use of fisheries resources.  More is needed in the understanding of who participates, how they participate and why they participate for meaningful participation and better co-management outcomes.



Etiegni, C. A., M. Kooy, and K. Irvine. (2019). "Promoting Social Accountability for Equitable Fisheries Within Beach Management Units in Lake Victoria (Kenya)."  Conservation and Society 17 (1):63-72. doi: 10.4103/cs.cs_18_10.

Irvine, K., Etiegni, C. A., and Weyl O. L. F. (2018). Prognosis for long-term sustainable fisheries in the African Great Lakes. Fisheries Management and Ecology. doi:10.1111/fme.12282

Etiegni, C. A., Irvine, K., & Kooy, M. (2016). Playing by whose rules? Community norms and fisheries rules in selected beaches within Lake Victoria (Kenya) co-management. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1-19. doi: 10.1007/s10668-016-9799-2

Etiegni, C. A., Ostrovskaya, E., Leentvaar, J., & Eizinga, F. (2011). Mitigation of illegal fishing activities: enhancing compliance with fisheries regulation in Lake Victoria (Kenya). Regional Environmental Change, 11(2), 323-334. doi: 10.1007/s10113-010-0134-4

Etiegni C. A., and Kundu R. (2011). The Role of Aquaculture in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In: Aquaculture Development in Kenya: Towards food security , poverty alleviation and wealth creation. Samaki News Vol. VII. No. 1 October, 2011, pp 47-48.

Kundu R. and Etiegni C. A. (2011). Aquaculture development in Kenya: Can GIS provide the solution? In: Aquaculture Development in Kenya: Towards food security, poverty alleviation and wealth creation. Samaki News Vol. VII. No. 1 October, 2011, pp21-22.


Other information

Funding Source: Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP).

Employer: State Department of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Kenya.





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