Tana River delta floodplain is maintained through a dynamic balance revolving around frequency, extent, and flooding duration. These seasonal and annual variations in flooding strongly affect the fisheries and livelihoods of the floodplain communities. In the delta, fishing is an important traditional source of livelihood, practiced alongside local agrarian livelihoods such as shifting cultivation and livestock keeping. Fishery utilization and management characteristics in the floodplain lakes of the Tana River delta are not well documented.
This study investigated the characteristics and management of small-scale fisheries in floodplain lakes of the Tana River delta. Information relating to past flooding events, fishery characteristics, and prevailing regulatory regimes, as well as the impacts of seasonal flooding, were collected using field observations, at awareness workshops, and key informant interviews between June and September 2018, which covers a significant flooding period of that year, and in August 2021, a relatively dry period in the delta. Information was collected from communities living around floodplain lakes in Tarassa and Ngao in southern part of the delta and Tamaso and Lango la Simba areas in eastern part of the delta.
Results indicate that fishery resources are more diverse during flooding (new species recruitment, presence of spawning, breeding and foraging sites).
Shrimp fishing, Tanzania @IRD - Stéphanie Duvail
Fishing communities around the villages are also mostly vulnerable to climate change because fishery resource governance is weak, and most households are not involved in management of the resource. Besides, fishers have limited options of livelihoods due to the lack of skills, technologies, and knowledge to undertake climate adaptation related decisions.