An analysis of actors' perceptions of Maio island's (Cape Verde) marine governance
This paper compares the perceptions of various actors who come from Maio island's (Cape Verde) small-scale fishing community or are working on or studying its marine management. The research analyses environmental governance perceptions (desired governance) in relation to official (de jure) governance and effective (de facto) governance. It uses the Actor in 4 Dimensions method (including adapted individual interviews on Maio's social-ecological system) to produce graphical environmental footprints that portray a diversity of actors' and groups' perceptions. Footprint results show a clear general tendency for a strong prominence of the “cooperation” (social profile) and “cohabitation” (environmental profile) dimensions, compared with the much lighter stamps of their opposite “conflict” and “domination” dimensions. It appears that although most actors wish to preserve Maio's marine environment, some hope for more economic development while others wish to preserve their island's renowned quiet. Also, many actors feel that despite being included in some territorial discussions, they are not in a position to decide on policies that strongly affect them such as fishing agreements and tourism development. This perceived inability to influence island and community development combined with larger-scale policies that override local interests to various extents are both influenced by path dependence. A redirection of policies and actions in favor of island communities' subsistence and autonomy (empowerment and extensive participative governance) could reverse the harmful “external forces cascade” effects solely if power delegation is accompanied by sufficient economic and human means and is not impaired by larger-scale policies and activities.