The challenges experienced by small-scale fishing communities of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

09 November 2020

Small-scale fisheries play a significant role in enhancing livelihoods, creating employment and contributing to food security especially in developing countries. Rural fishing communities are highly dependent on natural resources, which are climate sensitive. Many research efforts have been made to understand the impacts of climate change on fisheries and fishing economies. However, little attention has been given to understand the challenges experienced by small-scale fishing communities in developing countries in Africa. This article assesses non-climate change and climate change-induced challenges according to the experiences of the gillnet small-scale fishers of Sanyathi fishing basin of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe. The study used a qualitative research design, and data were collected using semi-structured in-depth interviews with fishers. Thematic content analysis was used to analyse interview transcripts. The study results showed that declining fish catches is one of the major challenges experienced by fishers. The main themes that emanated as the challenges faced by fishers are food insecurity, wildlife attacks, lack of access to information systems, lack of fishing equipment, the existence of the predator crayfish, poor lake co-management and shrinking fishing boundaries. Overall, the study found that fish production is negatively affected by several political, economic and environmental factors; therefore, development through the public and private organisations should incorporate small-scale fishers in policy formulation to positively enhance livelihoods and food security.