New article on Community Cohesion in Lake Victoria fisheries

Dr Fiona Nunan has an article in Society and Natural Resources, with an associated piece in The Conversation Africa, examining how social and economic ties secure livelihoods and support fisheries management

The fisheries of Lake Victoria support the livelihoods of many millions of people in the countries bordering the lake – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Yet, concerns are widespread that fish stocks and catches of the key commercial fishery of Nile perch are declining, associated with overfishing, use of illegal gears and methods, and pollution. Governments and fisherfolk have been working together through fisheries co-management since the late 1990s in an attempt to address these issues, but this has not yet led to more sustainable use.  

A new article from Leverhulme Trust funded research, Networking for fisheries co-management on Lake Victoria, East Africa, investigated the nature and implications of the personal networks of fisherfolk as it is believed that social networks influence knowledge and behaviour, with implications for fishing practices and management.

In Community Cohesion: Social and Economic Ties in the Personal Networks of Fisherfolk, the characteristics of the personal networks of boat crew, boat owners and fish processors/traders are determined in terms of the occupation, location, gender and other characteristics. Personal networks were mapped according to who the respondent had discussed fisheries issues with in the last two weeks. It was found that the networks are critical for gaining access to credit and employment, maintaining reliable and skilled labour, and sustaining access to markets. People turn to each other when in need of resources and advice, whether in relation to fisheries, running their business or for personal matters. 

An associated piece in The Conversation, A close up look at the social networks of Lake Victoria’s fisherfolk, provides a summary of the findings and implications for policy and practice.