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Title: "The lake is our office" : fisheries resources in rural livelihoods and local governance on the Rufiji River floodplain, Tanzania
Author: Moreau, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 1996
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis provides an analysis of the livelihood role of aquatic resources on an African floodplain, examining the economic, social and historical dimensions of local freshwater fisheries amid growing uncertainty over land and water tenure. The aim is to document who depends most on the resource and how. The contribution is both practical—in demonstrating the value of the current livelihood system to rural inhabitants—and theoretical, in putting forward a more ethnographically informed analysis of livelihoods by examining the social relations and cultural values structuring access to the fishery and market, and management efforts. Fieldwork focused on three villages sharing access to a permanent lake and adjacent wetlands. A structured questionnaire confirmed that half of all households in the area relied on the sector as a key income source. Individuals’ and households’ asset holdings, demographic characteristics, and wealth ranks had limited influence on these participation and reliance patterns, reflecting the ubiquity of fisheries in local livelihoods. A household survey of aquatic resource use across one year showed that people depended on a variety local freshwater fish species as their main animal protein source, with poor households consuming the least. Fishermen surveyed at the fishing camps could be distinguised by their gear choice, with the decision to participate in commercial fishing related more to lifestyle factors than asset holdings. Although a handful of individuals owned the largest commercial nets in the area, they did not monopolise supply, with a commodity chain analysis revealing the regional fish trade to be an equitable and accessible livelihood option. Through interviews and observations at village meetings, the performance of local institutions in managing the lake fishery was revealed to be hampered by unclear borders, petty corruption, and leaders’ limited accountability, the latter due in part to cultural notions of equity and forgiveness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available