Integrated Management of Zambezi / Chobe River System - Transboundary Fishery Resource, Namibia / Zambia / Botswana: Final Evaluation Report
|Published:||2009 by WWF-Norway|
|Carried out by:||Dennis Tweddle|
The fisheries project area centres on the Caprivi Region in Namibia bordering on Botswana, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The area, includes the Chobe, Kwando/Linyanti and Zambezi rivers and intervening floodplains, and is a potential Ramsar
Wetland Site of International Importance. The Caprivi floodplains are of major global biodiversity importance and the rivers are rich in fish species diversity (> 80 species). A locally threatened fish species, the Caprivi Killifish (Nothobranchius sp.) is found in a small number of rain pools in the Caprivi. A third of the Caprivi floodplain households in Namibia depend primarily on the fishery, and fish are also important in the Zambian economy. Sport fishing is also prevalent.
The shared nature of the transboundary fish resource is complex having multiple users who are responsible to different authorities with different rules, having different capabilities and means of enforcement. There are high incidences of illegal fishing methods and limitations in the countries fisheries legislation, and enforcement of it.
The project aimed to:
• Acquire and document a better understanding of the impact of the new Inland Fisheries Resource Act (Namibia)
on the fisherfolk and on the resource.
• Achieve transboundary collaboration on fisheries management.
• Support the emergence of local level community fishery groups to manage the fishery resource.
• Facilitate development of appropriate fish farming projects in conjunction with MFMR and projects utilising existing
water bodies and local fish species.
• Implement monitoring programmes.
Project Goal: The shared Zambezi/Chobe River fisheries resources managed sustainably, and Project Purpose: Alternative community fishery management practices piloted and tested contributing to a fully integrated management system for fisheries that provides optimal benefits to all stakeholders.
The evaluation was carried out through: review of all available literature; interviews and discussions with relevant stakeholders; observation of fishing activities in Namibian floodplains (the most extensive in the area) and Lake Liambezi; and experience of fisheries and biodiversity throughout the Zambezi River system.
• The project was found to be very relevant, given the increasing pressure on fish and the need for sustainable
management of the resources. However, the project goal is a long-term target that could not be fully achieved through a 3-year project with limited scope, technical input, and funding.
• A second three-year phase was recommended.
• The biological research and market surveys have developed an understanding of the fish ecology and the
subsistence and commercial fisheries of the Chobe-Zambezi system. The project is therefore able to provide good
management guidelines and the framework for a local approach to fisheries management.
• The project assisted in the conservation of the Caprivi population of Nothobranchius kafuensis, and played
a major role in helping to understand and rapidly respond to a fish disease (Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome) outbreak.
The research data showed which species are under pressure from excessive exploitation and thereby indicated where management intervention is necessary.
• The fishery is not so degraded and the people so impoverished that control is impossible.
• The project has carried out a thorough review of the Fisheries Act and Regulations. Emphasis has been placed
on the formation of Community Fisheries Committees. The next step is to assist community fisheries committees and their members to establish local management plans that include fisheries reserves.
• The project has sensitised the Caprivi population about the fishes, fisheries and management through a series of 20 radio programmes. The project worked with the angling community to promote sustainable practices.
• Fishing communities and conservancies’ committees are strongly committed to the project’s aims.
• The project and long-term fisheries management activities following the project can best address poverty levels by
ensuring that fisheries regulations are agreed, implemented and enforced by the fisheries communities.
• Attitudes are slowly changing with a recognition in many quarters that community based natural resource
management (CBNRM), as promoted under this project, has considerable advantages over a top-down enforcement approach.
However, radical changes in fisheries management methods in a rural environment cannot be achieved overnight and
counteracting the present tendency to overexploit the resources will take much longer than the present project.
• The foundations have been laid for community-based management of the fisheries, and if devolution succeeds,
the prospects for sustainability and replicability elsewhere in Zambezi floodplain systems are excellent.
• The involved governments have recognised the need for improved management while the larger more valuable species are still present. However, transboundary collaboration was not achieved as much as required. This needs to be addressed in the 2nd phase.
• By implementing a community-based approach to management of the fishery, the project has a long-term potential
to contribute to conservation goals at all levels from local to global.
• The project experienced difficulties with the complexities of stakeholder interests. The greatest difficulties have
been with relations between the tourist lodges, the Namibian Government enforcement team, and the Regional Council, centred around licensing and enforcement. Other difficulties have arisen because of a perceived weakening of commitment to the project by the Namibian Government due to loss of capacity, and weak involvement of the Zambian Department of Fisheries.
Comments from the organisation, if any:
Following the outcome of the evaluation of this project, WWF-Norway has agreed to support a 2nd phase of this project,
commencing January 2010 until December 2012. The recommendations made in the evaluation for a second phase have
been included in the design of the 2nd phase.