Collaborative Research on subsistence Fisheries on Caprivi Floodplains
The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) Zambezi/Chobe Transboundary Fisheries Project in Caprivi was undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The project’s main goal was to support fisheries co-management through empowerment of communities, but such a target could not be achieved without comprehensive knowledge of the status of the fish resources. The project’s leaders adopted a two-pronged approach. Through their extensive regional and international contacts, they identified other sources of funding, postgraduate students, and supervising scientists, for clearly-identified research projects that would address the data gaps. The project then provided practical support and guidance to those projects.

Secondly, as part of the project itself, they developed a community based data collection survey. While the project ended in 2012, this programme continues. Local community members (including women) were trained by NNF staff to record fisheries dependent data from their areas, two of which are pilot Fish Protection Areas (FPAs). Basic information recorded from the local fishermen was then channelled through to the local MFMR office where data capturing took place. Further data are recorded from the local fish market and also from Lake Liambezi, a major fishery in Caprivi. Training was, and will continue to be, provided to recently recruited MFMR scientists and technicians in data management and analysis, and the data were used to evaluate the state of the fish stock on the Eastern Caprivi floodplains and to further document the harvesting patterns of the subsistence fishery. This information is important as fishermen adapt their harvesting methods according to the availability of preferred fish species, the state of the fish stock and according to market demands.
The use of local fishing community members in data collection is a more efficient and cost-effective way to record data, compared to government staff going out periodically to the floodplains to record catches from the fishermen. It is of course important that high quality data are collected, so NNF staff carried out regular quality checks. This research project provided valuable baseline data and the community based data colelction process used for this research enhanced the sense of ownership of the local community in the planning and implementation of fisheries co-management programmes. Involvement of communities in data collection across a large area is cost-effective, providing valuable data and engagement for co-management of the fish stocks.
Learn more about the new Community-based Fisheries project.
Download research reports from this page. 
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