Fishing and poverty levels around Lake Victoria (Kenya)
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Fishing is known to be one of the oldest occupations of mankind and in Lake Victoria (Kenya); it has been largely practiced at artisanal levels. Despite this, poverty amongst the fisher folk remains high. Why the fisher folk remain in perpetual poverty was the key research question for this study. Sampling was conducted on 12 landing beaches between June and August 2004. Data was obtained using survey questionnaires; personal interviews were made using open-ended questions and beach observations. Results from this study indicates that 179 fishers sampled earned an average income of Ksh. 107,063 each in a year with modal income of Ksh. 57,600 while in a day they earned an average income of Ksh. 518 each with modal income of Ksh. 200. Fishers perceived that with the decline of Kenyan economy, income they get from fishing cannot sustain them because of increased daily expenses, exploitations on fish prices, strict laws and regulation as well as decline in fish catches by about 88 %. Fishers live in isolation and far from urban centers but near markets or beaches 55.3% while 35.2% lived in remote areas with primary level of education forming 60.9%. Results indicate that fishers are always vulnerable to diseases like Diarrhea, Amoebae, typhoid, Malaria, cholera and Aids. They own an average of 4.2 acres of land and cultivate only a small portion of their land 41.3%. Majority of fishers are men who are self-employed but always exploited by middlemen on fish prices; they live in isolation in grass-thatched houses and eat three meals a day. Poverty amongst them was due to lack of capability of efficiently participating in the industry.
- Conference Papers