Co-management of mussel resources : the case studies of Sokhulu and Coffee Bay projects in South Africa.
In this thesis, the researcher has attempted to analyze the full complexities of employing the co-management system in conservation of brown mussels (Perna perna) through the use of the case study areas, namely: Sokhulu in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape (EC) Provinces of South Africa. This study is a comparative approach of 2 coastal areas, Sokhulu, in the northern part of KZN and Coffee Bay near the Wild Coast. Communities currently involved in brown mussel resource management in Sokhulu are part of the joint resource management team. The project, started in 1995 by Dr. Harris of KZN Nature Conservation Services (KZN NCS), has proven to be successful in its mission of ensuring wise use of the brown mussel resources. The Coffee Bay project, which was started in 2000, has no local resource management structures yet in place. The research information was gathered with the assistance of household questionnaire; open-ended interviews; literature review; visual review, and commentaries. Experiences drawn from Sokhulu mussel project in KZN have indicated a need for the establishment of a mussel co-management structure at Coffee Bay for the conservation of the resource, and the well-being of the community. Some recommendations for implementation of a co-management system at Coffee Bay have been made. The recommendations are in line with the efficient conservation strategies and utilization of brown mussel resources and blend the needs of the community of Coffee Bay, sound resource use principles provided by the resource managers, and practical management requirements. The study does not present statistically significant conclusions hence it has been highlighted that there is a need for follow-up studies with respect to co-management concept if one is to understand more fully the processes involved.