G. MMOPELWA, B. N. NGWENYA AND B. SAKWAPE, UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA, BOTSWANA
Abstract: Subsistence fishing in the Okavango delta plays a critical safety net function, especially among poor rural households. This study was undertaken to contribute to an understanding of this function. Data was collected from structured interviews of heads of fishing households in two villages in the Okavango Delta. Majority of subsistence fishers were males. The contribution of fish to total food during the high and low fishing season was estimated in the range of 50-75% and 0-25%, respectively. A significant number of households reported that they turn to fishing as a major strategy during livelihood shocks as fish is open access resource and available throughout the year. Bartering and sale of fresh and preserved fish are the means of sustaining households during difficult economic times. This study recommends to government to embrace the contribution of fish in poverty alleviation alongside other social safety net programmes.
Keywords: Subsistence fishing, Safety net, Livelihood food security, Sustainable development, Fisheries, Seasonality