Flood Pulse in a Subtropical Floodplain Fishery and the Consequences for Steady State Management

K. Mosepele (Botswana)


Flood pulse; fisheries management; paradigm shift


This paper integrates biological and social dimensions of the Okavango delta fishery by reviewing all available literature. The main aim of this review is to support development of policy for comprehensive management of the delta’s fishery on the basis of the existing water management regime. Based on the review, it is evident that the flood pulse contributes towards fish production and productivity in the delta. Some research in the delta shows that, typical with other floodplain systems globally; the terrestrial ecosystem is actively subsidizing the aquatic system whereby this energy is eventually channelled into fish biomass. This fish biomass is then exploited by different fisher groups in the delta using a variety of fishing gears. Subsequently, similar to other floodplain fisheries elsewhere, fish is a major livelihood activity in the delta. Management of fisheries resources globally has been based on classical fisheries management approaches. However, the efficacy of these is questionable due to collapses of some world fish stocks. This paper advocates a paradigm shift in fisheries management. A new management paradigm that is holistic in nature, with heavier emphasis on empiricism and less reliance on statistical or mathematical modelling needs to be formulated.

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