Fishing by the lamp: chisense fishing in Mweru-Luapula fishery, 1975-2010.

Thumbnail Image
Mwaba, Chola
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Zambia
Fishing is an important human activity which has for a long time attracted and supported human settlement. In Mweru-Luapula, fishing was accepted by fishermen as an important source of income after 1920. The quantities of fish caught and sold assumed much importance. Therefore, the exposure of the fishing population to the money economy gradually changed fishing from a subsistence activity to a dependable regular source of income. This development resulted in thousands of tons of fish being caught which in turn led to a noticeable decline in the number of the commercially important fish species in the 1960s forcing people to exploit the formerly unexploited pelagic fish species such as chisense (Microthrissa Moeruensis). The word chisense simply means the small fishes which move in a large shoal as there are drifted by wind. The commercial value of exploitation of chisense became more apparent in the mid-1970s and was made possible by use of light from a lamp. The study demonstrates that chisense fishing on a commercial basis started in 1975 to replace demersal fishing, though the latter type of fishing has continued on a much diminished scale. Fishing by the lamp was identified as one of the advanced and successful means that could be employed to catch and increase landings of pelagic fish species. Abundant catches of chisense led to improved wellbeing of people in the fishery since it could be purchased in smaller quantities especially for poor consumers. The high catch also facilitated all manner of business activities which had not been the case before. The fishery continued to employ more fishers and traders (the majority of whom were women) compared to the traditional bream fishery. The study concludes that between the 1970s and 2010 chisense fishing became an important source of protein for the local and urban inhabitants as well as an important avenue for a continuous flow of money into the Mweru-Luapula fishery. The income realised from chisense fishing greatly contributed to v improved living standards in local communities and in particular, among the fishermen and members of their families.
Fisheries--Mweru, Zambia , Fish (Chisense)-Luapula, Zambia