Les Kaufman, a Faculty Research Fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and a Professor in the Department of Biology, co-authored a recent paper on the growing risk of conflict within fisheries systems, specifically in the Lake Victoria basin. The paper, titled “Armed conflict and fisheries in the Lake Victoria basin,” was published in the journal Ecology and Society.
Rising demand for fisheries products and declining fish stocks are contributing to an increase in fisheries conflict, which is exacerbated by the strong links between fisheries and food security in the developing world. In the Lake Victoria basin, which is one of the most densely populated regions of Africa, undernourishment is prevalent and major civil conflicts have occurred in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.
In this paper, the authors explore possible links between armed conflict — and, as a result, a large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) — in Uganda and increases in fishing effort in Lake Victoria between 1997 and 2010. While acknowledging that any correlation-based relationship between armed conflict and fisheries in the Lake Victoria basin is still inconclusive, they suggest that “armed conflicts that occur away from fishing grounds may increase fish catch as a result of displaced population and greater fishing effort.”
Link to read the paper: https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol24/iss1/art25/
The paper is, in part, a product of the Pardee Center’s research program on Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS), which Prof. Kaufman leads. The CHANS project investigates how governance, social, and economic systems are intricately connected to natural systems, and the trade-offs that confront those making resource management decisions. Specifically, this work explores the relationship between biodiversity and human well being, food-energy-water systems dynamics, and recovery of coral reef systems. The research encompasses four geographic areas: Cambodia (Tonle Sap and the Mekong Delta), East Africa (Lake Victoria), South Florida and Belize (the tropical west Atlantic and Caribbean Basin), and the Gulf of Maine.