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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Community-Level Marine Resource Management and the Spirit Realm in Coastal Kenya
Author:Glaesel, H.
Periodical:Women in Natural Resources
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Resources - marine
Spirit - ancestral
Resources - management of
Abstract:Regulations are set by fishing community leaders in coastal Kenya to maintain social control and access to critical community resources through mediation with the spirit world. Although fishing regulations set by these leaders (elders) may result in conservation effect, indigenous conservation originated in practices that focused on satisfying human needs and reducing anxieties about society. It did not originate from altruistic concern for the environment. Concern for conserving plants. animals. and habitats stemmed from beliefs that each could house spirits whose placation was crucial to the well being of society. As catches have declined, temporarily and over the longer term, younger Kenyans' faith in their elders' ability to commune with sea spirits has waned and elders' authority has been challenged, leading to inter-generational conflicts. In addition, traditional beliefs have gradually been eroded in the face of pressures to adopt conventional Islamic practices. For example, in recent decades, increasing literacy among younger generations of Muslims, their distress over low and declining catches, and elders' seeming inability to correct the situation has led to efforts, especially by youths, to separate practices concerning the spirit realm into those clearly acceptable in Islam as described in the Koran, and those of more "pagan" origins. These inter-generational conflicts have fractured local fishing communities. and decreased their ability to deter non-locals and users of environmentally destructive fishing techniques from entering the fishery. (Journal Abstract).