Sustainable Co-Management of Freshwater Fisheries and Local Livelihoods: The Case of Sikunga
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This master's thesis focuses on the case of a recently established fish reserve, called Sikunga Channel Fish Protection Area (FPA), at the upper Zambezi in Namibia. The aim is to investigate the socio-economic significance of fisheries, the impact of the FPA on the local communities and how fisheries co-management is implemented on site. The underlying purpose is to identify room for improvement at Sikunga and make the case for establishing more FPAs elsewhere in the region, thereby supporting efforts by the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF). The research conducted is oriented towards the concept of ecosystem services (ES) and common property theory. A mixed-methods approach was chosen with an emphasis on qualitative fieldwork. The findings show that the role of fisheries as livelihood activity, source of food provision and cultural tradition has declined surprisingly. However, there are notable benefits generated through recreational angling. The impact assessment of the FPA yielded a more ambiguous picture, especially regarding catches and income of fishermen and the local food situation. Nevertheless, the FPA is generally viewed positively by the communities and contributes to local employment. It is emphasised though that it is still early to judge its impact with reasonable certainty. Lastly, enhancing and enforcement are identified as key issues that need to be solved to increase the benefis and acceptance of the FPA and make it self-sustaining in the long run. In addition, enhanced informationsharing, stakeholder communication and cross-border cooperation with Zambian authorities are advocated.