La pêche continentale


Livelihoods, decent work & resilience

As part of the preparatory phase of ALCOM's Pilot Project on the Utilization of Small Water Bodies in Botswana, a socio-economic survey was carried out amongst communities living around seven selected dams in south-eastern Botswana. The main aims of the survey were to determine fish consumption patterns and attitudes as well as the types of fishermen and the level of their current activity.

To implement the survey, two interview schedules were used, Survey 1 was designed to gather information of fish consumption patterns and Survey 2 was designed to gather information on fishermen/women.

For Survey 1, a quasi-randomly selected sample of 343 households were interviewed on their fish consumption patterns. These interviews were carried out at households living around all seven dams. For Survey 2, as no information existed on the number of people fishing, anyone seen fishing, or was identified as a fishermen either from Survey 1 or through key informants, was interviewed. In total, 37 fishermen/women were interviewed.

Results from Survey 1 show that approximately 20 % of the households interviewed have eaten fresh fish, albeit very rarely. The most common reason for not eating fresh fish was that it was not available to buy. The main source of fresh fish came from fishermen in the household catching fish in the dam. Tilapia (bream) is the preferred species, although barbel is also eaten.

Households usually fry fish, but many sun-dry fish before cooking either because the taste is preferred or for preservation purposes. Fresh fish is usually not fed to weaning children as it is considered to have too many bones.

The results also reveal that just over 80 % of the total sample eat tinned fish, usually tinned pilchards in chili sauce. Other types of fish such as frozen or salted fish are eaten by a negligible number of the households, because they are not easily available except in the larger supermarkets in main villages (frozen only). Tinned fish (in tomato sauce) is also fed to children as soon as they start weaning.

Households said there were no cultural taboos concerning the consumption of fish, and this was confirmed by the large proportion of households that eat tinned fish.

Just under 20% of interviewed households did not eat fish of any kind. The results suggest that these households are usually characterized by having older household heads with fewer adult members and children.

The results from Survey 2, indicate that most local people presently fishing are mainly children or youths, predominantly male, who fish with hook and line in the summer only. Most were at school or unemployed; only one person claimed to be a full-time fishermen. Tilapia and barbel are the main species caught. The catch is generally taken home and consumed within the household, although some fishermen sell a part of their catch to general customers or expatriates who are fishing or camping along the dam. All were interested in improving their catches, primarily for home consumption.

Seven leisure fishermen were also interviewed all of whom fish in more than one dam. All those interviewed were adult males who usually fished on weekends and holidays, using a rod and reel. They preferred to catch tilapia and gave away any barbel they catch to on-lookers. They never sell fish. They say they are satisfied with the amount they catch.

It is concluded that the survey repudiates earlier assumptions that people in eastern Botswana do not eat fish and suggests that availability and knowledge concerning how to cook fish are the main constraints preventing people from eating more fish. It is also concluded that fish should not be seen as a replacement to any of the traditional sources of protein in a Batswana diet, but should be regarded as an addition to this diet.

It is also concluded that fishing is still considered a part-time activity undertaken by people, mainly boys, who have some spare time to fish. However, the increase in the numbers of people fishing may serve as an indicator that there is a growing realization that fishing can not only provide food, but also some cash as well. It is suggested that the demand for fishing areas by leisure fishermen may be another way in which the community as a whole, living around dams, can earn some income by charging for licenses to fish in the dam.

Finally, it is concluded that although fish consumption per household will remain fairly small relative to the consumption of other animal proteins, preparation demonstrations and tasting sessions are likely to increase the number of households eating fresh fish.