Voodoo versus fishing committees: The role of traditional and contemporary institutions in fisheries management

Elena Briones Alonso, Romain Houssa, Marijke Verpoorten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We study the co-existence of two community-based institutions for fisheries management in Benin: a traditional institution embedded in the Voodoo religion and a recent secular institution in the form of fishing committees. Using household survey data on fishing activities, we find that rules of both institutions have a statistically significant but small impact on the use of unsustainable fishing gear. We further find that Voodoo fishers who break the traditional Voodoo-based rule follow the fishing committee rule to the same extent as other fishers. This finding is consistent with a possible transition from the traditional Voodoo-based institution to the secular fishing committee institution. More research is needed to fully assess the effectiveness of, and interactions between, the two institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016



  • Benin
  • Community-based natural resource management
  • Fisheries
  • Institutions
  • Religion
  • Voodoo

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