Conservation Fishing in Lake Victoria: Can Losers be Guardians of Fisheries Resources?

Thaddeus S Mutarubukwa, Cosmas H Sokoni


This paper analyzes the way in which the Lakeside communities which are victims of
the transformed fishing industry in Lake Victoria, can also be guardians of the fisheries
resources. The study was conducted in Kishanje and Rubafu villages in Bukoba Rural
District. The data was collected from 232 individual respondents and two focus group
discussions each comprised 10 participants. The results indicated that community
members in the Lakeside communities perceived illegal fishing as non-existing
phenomenon among them. What they see is their traditional way of fishing and the
ongoing conservation campaigns are instituted to infringe upon their life system and
alienate them from their bounty Mother Nature. They recognized the fisheries
resources management measures as the means to safeguard the interest of the
investors. From this understanding, the study revealed that the community members
including the leaders entrusted to reinforce the resources management measures
were not in a position to stand against illegal fishing as it was intended by the
government. This study, therefore, concludes that, the losers cannot be guardians of
fisheries resources, unless their socioeconomic needs are taken as part and parcel in
the fisheries resources management plan.

Key Words: Illegal fishing, Participatory resources management, Conservation fishing

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