Constraints on the growth of the fishing industry in Western Province, 1924-1964
Kashimani, Mabia Eric
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This dissertation studies the constraints on the growth and development of the fishing industry in Western Province under colonial rule covering the period 1924 - 1964. The focus is the Central Zambezi Floodplain Fishery(CCZFPF). During the colonial period Western Province was transformed into a cheap labour reserve following the dislocation of the area's agriculture and the ban on the sale of cattle from the area as a result of the outbreak of Bovine Pluero-Pneumonia in 1915. Fishing was the only economic activity which would have provided income to the people and provide an alternative to labour migration. The CZFPF though with the potential to develop a viable fishing industry could not do so because of the various constraints which militated against the efforts of fishermen in the area. As a result of these constraints people did not consider fishing as a viable rural economic activity capable of providing income and employment to lots of people. During the colonial period and despite the existence of a money economy, people continued to look at fishing only as a source of subsistence providing a small surplus for sale.In studying the constraints on the growth of the industry, the dissertation examines the impact of the policies of the Colonial Government such as the imposition of tax and its consequence of labour migration on the growth of the industry. In the analysis the study has shown the roles played by the fishery's inaccessibility,low demand for fish within the area, transport problems to market- centres such as Livingstone and the Copperbelt and lack of government assistance to fishermen in retarding the growth of the industry during the period of our study. Poor handling, marketing facilities and persistent low prices of fish forced many fishermen out of fishing to become labour migrants. The aristocracy which was the main authority over the fishery in the same vein posed a serious obstacle to the development of fishing in the area. Tenure in the fishery was a complicated affair. Productive fishing sites were privately owned and jealously guarded. This aspect presented a problem for the growth and development of fishing in the area,as most often, the productive sites were underutilized leading to underproductivity. The Northern Rhodesia Government lamentably failed to provide the necessary infrastructure to link the fishery to the markets on the Copperbelt and the towns on the line of rail to facilitate the transportation of fish from the fishery for sale.