Dynamics of the Fishing Industry and Socio-economic Changes in Lake Victoria Zone, Tanzania, 1920s–2010

Iddy R. Magoti


This article uses a historical approach to analyze the dynamics of the fishing industry in the Lake Victoria Zone (LVZ). The article shows that major changes in the fishing industry occurred after the introduction of the Nile perch in Lake Victoria, especially after the mid-1970s. The changes had both positive and negative effects on the people living in the Lake Victoria Zone. One of the positive effects was an increase in people’s incomes and the negative effects included overemphasis on commercial fishing at the expense of the previous home-based type of finishing and decrease in the number of fish species. Another negative effect was the development of new human behavioural patterns, in particular a sexual behaviour locally known as ‘chomolea’. The article concludes that the fishing industry in the Lake Victoria Zone changed from a small-scale family and communal industry to a large-scale privately owned industry. It also emphasizes that the government failed to intervene in the challenges arising from this transformation so that the fishing communities could continue enjoying and benefitting from the fish resources in the lake.


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