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Changing Economic Problems for Women in the Nile Perch Fishing Communities on Lake Victoria

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Medard, Modesta; Wilson, Douglas C.
Conference: Voices from the Commons, the Sixth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Berkeley, CA
Conf. Date: June 5-8, 1996
Date: 1996
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2290
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
Lake Victoria
Abstract: "The Nile perch is a large, white, meaty fish that finds a ready international market. An industrial processing and export industry grew up in Kenya and Uganda during the 1980s and in Tanzania in the early 1990s (Reynolds et al. 1992).The fish are exported as frozen fillets from processing plants on the lake shore. The export industry has driven up the price of Nile perch and led to an increase in capital investments in fish harvesting equipment. The demand generated by the filleting plants is huge and growing. The degree to which this demand is felt varies in different parts of the lake. They are swiftly expanding their capacity for collecting fish by boat rather than truck, which deepens their penetration into isolated areas. "For the people living beside Lake Victoria these changes represent a vast alteration in their human ecology. The present paper focuses on one important aspect of this alteration - the impact of these changes on women. It presents a broad sketch of what is happening, rather than an in-depth analysis of changes in a particular village or region. We gathered the data during series of two to three week visits in nine fishing communities on the Tanzanian section of the lake in 1994 and 1995. Besides a formal survey, individual and group interviews were done with local women. We focused the qualitative research on women involved in small businesses."

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