How local communities access, utilise and evaluate inland fisheries, and their influence on fishery conservation status in northern Zimbabwe
Keywords:wetlands valuation, ecosystem services, inland fisheries, community access, conservation priorities, Mushumbi Pools
The conservation status of inland fishery resources is vulnerable worldwide, and this threatens the livelihoods of fishing-dependent communities. This case study aimed to: (i) establish the use and perception of fisheries and ecosystem services by locals, (ii) undertake a monetary valuation of the fisheries, (iii) determine the potential threats to the fisheries, and (iv) examine the social drivers and barriers for citizen science involvement. Lastly, (v) we evaluated how the above factors affected the conservation of fisheries at Mushumbi Pools, Zimbabwe. A cross-sectional survey of 69 households was conducted. Results of the study showed that locals utilised 17 fish species for social, economic, cultural and religious purposes. Locals attach high intrinsic socio-economic value to the fisheries resources and wetland ecosystem services provided by the Mushumbi Pools. Despite the sustained income from fisheries, the local market in Mushumbi Pools is actually undervaluing fisheries resources, as the fish prices in the area are very low compared to standard market prices countrywide. A larger proportion of the respondents (65%) cited poor land-tilling practices, heavy application of agropesticides and use of unsustainable fish harvesting methods as the main threats to fish diversity in Mushumbi Pools. Relaxed fishing concessions for women and children in specific fishing zones were key drivers for community participation in fisheries conservation. However, strict enforcement of fishing bans in breeding and nursery zones and restricted access to some parts of the Mushumbi Pools were the main barriers for local involvement in the conservation of fisheries resources. Without the fishing community’s participation there is no guaranteed sustainability of the fishery resources in the pools. Legitimising community access, ensuring fair valuation and utility rights is a key driver for successful management of inland fisheries resources in Sub-Saharan Africa.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Beaven Utete, Olga Laiza Kupika, Precious Mahlatini, Tapiwa Nyachowe
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The content of this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence. Users are permitted to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal under the terms of this Licence, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, provided the source is attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors.