Pilot study on catch assessment surveys by BMUS for sustainable management of Lake Victoria
The need to have a functional CAS system for Lake Victoria fisheries, to monitor changes and have reliable indices of relative abundance for the management of fisheries resources has been realised by all stakeholders interested in the sustainability of the fishery resources. The necessity to restore and strengthen the CAS system was equally expressed and recognised under the LVEMP by World Bank ‘Aide Memoir’ (AIDE MEMOIR RECOMMENDATIONS SECTION 44). Following these concerns, this study with an objective to evaluate the performance, the extent of training needed and the mechanisms to ensure reliable catch statistics are collected by the BMUs was conducted by TAFIRI in collaboration with District Fisheries Officers in three selected beaches in Mwanza Region. This pilot study was conducted for 18 days, six days in each of the beaches (Chole in Misungwi, Ihale in Magu and Kijiweni in Sengerema Districts respectively. Interviews, training and experimental data collection were conducted for two days each in the respective landing sites The interviews gathered information from 90 respondents of age group between 18 to 80 yrs. Their level of education mainly was Primary School Certificate (67%), 23% were Secondary School leavers while 7% were below standard VII and 3% illiterate. About 70% of all the respondents were willing to collect fisheries data on payment of TZS 1000/= to 3000/=. Among the 70 respondents, 26 (35%) were BMU members and 44 (65%) were non-members to BMUs. Training was in two sessions, first session was on ‘the importances of catch statistics and the trends in catch and effort: management perspective and policy and planning for sustainable fisheries. Decline in CPUE as an indicator of overexploitation was emphasized. The effect of uncontrolled effort and impact of illegal gears and practises were detailed covered’. This session created awareness to all age groups of different education levels. The second session was on the data forms to be used. The terms used had to be elaborated and how to record and measure for the different parameters. This appeared to be technical due to the language used in the forms (English). All the trainees in the respective landing sites attended the experimental data collection exercise. Their performance was judged during recording and measuring of fish, their promptness to follow a landing boat and keenness in the whole exercise. BMU membership and being a residence were added qualities. Of the twelve members selected (4 in each of the three landing sites), 5 were BMU members and 7 non-members. Leaders of BMUs and of the village Councils were encouraged to oversee the operations and not to participate in the data collection directly. The non-members to BMU proved to be competent than some of the BMU members. To overcome the main obstacle of limited and unqualified manpower after retrenchment, engaging the landing site communities, in particularly the BMUs, will ensure sustainability in data collection. However, training to create awareness and commitment, has to be conducted A protocol to involve BMUs in CAS is detailed discussed but training before they are assigned any responsibility is crucial. Likewise, it is impossible to expect to get any valuable fisheries data without any investment. The payment of 2000/= or 3000/= Tanzanian Shillings per day has to be considered. More commitment is needed from the sector planners and managers to direct resources to monitoring of the fishery. The Fishery Department have to include CAS budget in her annual budgets to be approved and allocated as a budget line under government funds. However, the currently existing projects as LVEMP, SIDA and IFMP could be consulted to fund the reviving and establishment of a functional CAS system Caution is needed as BMUs may not be willing to portray their beaches to be non-compliant to management regulations and thus illegal gears may not be recorded. Occasional checks by fishery officers are very important. There is also a need for the research institution to conduct independent quarterly surveys to give an independent estimate of the stocks and monitor changes in CPUE and the fishing practises while collecting biological information, which may not be collected by the BMUs.
- Catch-assessment survey by BMUs ...
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