Investment decisions driver's in a globalized fisheries: markets, post-harvest processes, governance and livelihood dynamics in Lake Victoria, Tanzania

Medard Ntara, M.; Dijk, J.W.M. van; Mwaipopo, R.


Lake Victoria is home to one of Africa’s largest inland fishery with Nile perch as its most valuable export product. Its international trade has prompted increased investment in efficient fishing techniques and technologies, most of which are detrimental to the integrity of the lake’s ecosystem. The export community has gained increased control of production and marketing functions, secured strong domination of the industry as well as marginalized the fishing communities. We draw on field work carried out from 2009-2010 aimed at establishing motives and strategies of fisher’s driving choices in available fishery resources for food security, trade and export. We here examine how local fish markets and market partners, governance processes and local livelihood systems influence investment decisions of individual fishers. We stress that the local fishing community is characterized by complex fishing organizations, with close inter-personal ties, multiple social and economic networks and vulnerability. They use a range of strategies to become involved in capitalized operations and ensure their livelihood goals are met. These livelihood systems are based on a variety of options within the limits of available resources to minimize risk and decrease vulnerability. However, these options are a serious long term threat to the sustainability of the resources and the lives of the people in lake Victoria. Key words: Lake Victoria; investment; markets; livelihood systems