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    River fishing in Mozambique

    Do not give me a fish, teach me how to fish

Groups of fishermen along a bend of the Zambezi River
  • In the province of Zambezia, one of the poorest regions of Mozambique, flows the raging Zambezi, the largest river flowing into the Indian Ocean. Here, river and lake fishing is one of the most popular activities and represents the main source of livelihood for most households; yet, because of the lack of means, such practice cannot evolve.

    Project’s objective: to improve the small-scale river fishing sector so that, from an activity of mere subsistence, it can become an important source of income for fishermen, fish traders and their families in the Mopeia and Morrumbala districts.

  • 18 fishing centres involved in the activities

    450 fishermen and traders trained

    4 Fishing Community Councils and 4 Savings and Revolving Loan Fund Groups set up

Alongside subsistence fishing, which is often only enough to guarantee personal or family consumption, small-scale fishing is also being practiced, using inadequate and dangerous boats. The use of relatively inefficient and unsustainable techniques, such as fine-mesh nets, means that smaller fish are also trapped, and this jeopardises the regenerative capacity of river ecosystems.
Fishing for survival is one thing, but the fact is that lives are also put at risk: local people use hollow logs to sail the waters but these narrow, shallow boats are very unstable and often crocodiles and hippos feast on the most unfortunate fishermen.

Typical local boats are made of hollow trunks

Fishing should not be a matter of life and death, yet it is.

Fish trade has also stopped. Small-scale fishermen do not always manage to keep their catch until they get to the shore, but when they do they must contend with the shortage of refrigerators and the distance from the markets; these factors thwart their sea trip and the catch’s integrity.
Much is therefore needed: carpentry workshops to build suitable boats and classes on proper fish storage, but also meetings to raise awareness on the need to use fishing methods that do not destroy the aquatic ecosystem.

Fine-mesh trawl nets also trap smaller fish. This means that there will no longer be any fish for future generations to catch and eat.

Martim , a fisherman from the village of Chimuara

Respecting nature requires the right tools.

Maembo is a carpenter. We have selected him for the workshop on building boats large enough to hold several people, equipment, as well as a cooler box where the catch can be stored. Maembo has become our deputy head carpenter: he goes up and down the Zambezi to explain the building techniques he has learned to groups of fishermen.
Thanks to the Fishing Community Centres we set up, improved or innovative fishing techniques, fish processing and storage can be transmitted to those who do not participate directly in our training.

Without the direct involvement of the beneficiaries, our activities would amount to ineffective teaching.

The activities implemented have already had a tangible impact: thanks to the skills acquired through courses, practical demonstrations and field training, the fishermen and traders we are working with have already increased their profitability. In addition, access to credit through the Savings and Revolving Credit Groups set up allows them to carry on investing in improving and innovating the sector: this, for us, is the practical meaning of ‘impact to change’.
The inclusion of the most vulnerable social groups, namely women and workers from the lower income sector, in the activities supports their economic and social emancipation.
Finally, over time, the outcome of the widespread awareness of the importance of river ecosystem conservation and the risks associated with unsustainable fishing techniques will become apparent.

  • My name is Marco Andreoni, I am 42, I have spent 26 years in Africa, and I am the project manager.
Revolving Credit group of Mopeia

Project’s overview

The project aims to improve the living conditions of fishing communities in the districts of Mopeia and Morrumbala. The interventions aim to:

  • increase the sector’s productivity through:
    training sessions on building better boats and on improving the efficiency of fishing techniques and fish processing; improving conservation systems and strengthening sales networks; improving the sector’s management in community organizations (through Fishing Community Centres and Savings and Rotating Credit Groups);
  • promote a sustainable exploitation of fish resources through: less invasive fishing tools and techniques; drying rooms and smokehouses that reduce the use of coal;
  • raise awareness of the importance of the consumption of quality products through: information material; nutrition education meetings;
  • promote gender equality through access to credit for women working in the sector.

Direct beneficiaries: 4,050 people in 18 Fishing Centres
Indirect beneficiaries: 31,860 between fishermen, traders and their families.

  • Project title
    Promotion of small-scale river fishing in the districts of Mopeia and Morrumbala

    Project manager
    Marco Andreoni, [email protected]

    March 2014 / March 2017

  • Partners
    IDPPE (Instituto Nacional de Desenvolvimento da Pesca de Pequena Escala)

  • Fondo di Beneficenza Intesa Sanpaolo