Funding: WWF Norway
Partners: Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, NNF, WWF 
Project dates: January 2010 to December 2012

The fish resources of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers and associated Caprivi floodplains are both a vital component of the livelihoods of the floodplain inhabitants and a major angling tourist attraction. Fish is thus a major contributor to food security and the local economy.

Improved communications in the area and consequent increased commercialisation of the fishery was identified as a major threat to rural livelihoods and to aquatic biodiversity through over-exploitation of the larger fish species that are most valuable for both food and for angling tourism. Concerns were expressed by the local fishing communities and by the tourist organisations that the fishery was in serious decline as a result of widespread use of illegal and destructive fishing methods, and the results of monitoring programmes carried out since 1997 by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources confirmed over-exploitation of the large tilapiine cichlid species.
The Zambezi/Chobe fisheries project was thus conceived as a way of empowering the local communities to manage the resources in a sustainable way through the formation of local management committees and devolution of responsibility for management, as envisaged in the Namibian constitution and the Inland Fisheries White Paper. The project set out to facilitate management of the fisheries by developing a system of integrated co-management and, because the Zambezi fishery is a shared resource with Zambia, harmonisation of activities and cooperation in surveys and monitoring. It has always been acknowledged that this type of activity requires a long term commitment. After the first phase of the project ended in December 2009, the second phase ran from January 2010 to December 2012. Management of the project was shared between Mr D. Tweddle as Project Executant and Dr C. Hay as Project Co-executant.
Project outputs
  • Output 1: Cross-border collaboration achieved in management of the fisheries resources.
  • Output 2: Management plan for the fisheries developed during Project Phase 1 successfully implemented (in collaboration with neighbouring countries) for the benefit of the communities.
  • Output 3: Fish Protection Areas established and fully functional in targeted pilot communities.
  • Output 4: Tourist angling lodges operating in agreement with local fishing/conservancy committees.
  • Output 5: Capacity built in research and monitoring of fish resource.
  • Output 6: Collaboration in next phase of NNF fish ranching project.
For more information: download one of the project reports above.