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Fish and Fishing in the River Mungonya at Bubango, Kigoma District, Tanzania

Fish and Fishing in the River Mungonya at Bubango, Kigoma District, Tanzania

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Published by Martin Walsh
A paper by Martin Walsh, Laisha Said, Beatrice Marwa, and Keith Banister, describing fish and fishing practices in a village bordering Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.
]Citation: Walsh, M. T., Said, L., Marwa, B. & Banister, K. 1996. Fish and Fishing in the River Mungonya at Bubango, Kigoma District, Tanzania. Paper prepared for the Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project (Pollution Control and Other Measures to Protect Biodiversity in Lake Tanganyika), Dar es Salaam. Kigoma: LTBP.
A paper by Martin Walsh, Laisha Said, Beatrice Marwa, and Keith Banister, describing fish and fishing practices in a village bordering Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.
]Citation: Walsh, M. T., Said, L., Marwa, B. & Banister, K. 1996. Fish and Fishing in the River Mungonya at Bubango, Kigoma District, Tanzania. Paper prepared for the Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project (Pollution Control and Other Measures to Protect Biodiversity in Lake Tanganyika), Dar es Salaam. Kigoma: LTBP.

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Published by: Martin Walsh on Apr 07, 2009
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Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project
Pollution Control and Other Measures to Protect Biodiversityin Lake Tanganyika (RAF/92/G32)
Socio-economic Special Studies - Tanzania
Martin Walsh
Natural Resources Institute, Chatham
Laisha Said
National Environment Management Council, Dar es Salaam
Beatrice Marwa
Department of Fisheries, Kigoma
Keith Banister
Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project, Kigoma
KigomaDecember 1996
FISH AND FISHING IN THE RIVER MUNGONYAAT BUBANGO, KIGOMA DISTRICT, TANZANIA
 
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FISH AND FISHING IN THE RIVER MUNGONYAAT BUBANGO, KIGOMA DISTRICT, TANZANIA
Martin Walsh, Laisha Said, Beatrice Marwa, and Keith Banister
Introduction
The following notes describe the results of a brief investigation into fishing practicesin the River Mungonya at Bubango in Kigoma District. Bubango was first visited byMW and BM on 30 October 1996. The purpose of this visit was to familiariseourselves with the village and its environment as a prelude to planned action researchin the neighbouring village of Mtanga. Both villages border Gombe Stream NationalPark: Mtanga on the lakeshore to its south, and Bubango in the interior to its east. Onthis first unscheduled visit we met with the Secretary of the village Social ServicesCommittee and the Secretary of the local CCM Branch, who kindly took us down tothe River Mungonya, in the valley to the west of the village centre and main road.Following a discussion of the local fish fauna, we made an appointment to return at alater date, in order to collect more information and, hopefully, samples of some of thefish themselves.The second visit to Bubango took place on 3 November 1996, when MW and BMwere joined by LS and KB. While MW and LS interviewed a small group of elders inthe village centre, BM and KB went down to the River Mungonya with localfishermen to collect samples of the fish. In addition to collecting information on fish,fishing practices and background data on the village, this exercise also provided uswith an opportunity to assess the ease of conducting this type of work and the kind of methods which might be employed. Our relative newness in the village andsomewhat informal introduction posed a problem: fish had not been caught inadvance of our visit as requested, the first fisherman who was asked by our hosts toassist in collecting samples refused to do so without payment (we declined to pay),and three of the four elders hastily assembled for interview were clearly impatient tofinish as quickly as possible (one particularly so, when it became clear that we wouldnot be offering them payment either). Nonetheless, a good deal of information wasrecorded and a number of samples collected, and the visit ended on a high note.
Bubango Village
Bubango Village is in Bitale Ward, which in turn is part of Mahembe Division.During our second visit we met the new VEO, who was previously at Mahembe. Thetotal population of the village in 1994 was over 4,500 people, living in sixsub-villages. These include the sub-village of Gwamanga, settled by Rundi (Hutu)refugees in 1972, and which now has 83 households (
kaya
). The rest of the village isdominated by Ha, most of whom are Moslem. There are a small number of Fipa in
 
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the village, who moved from Rukwa Region during the villagisation process in themid-1970s: they do not follow any specialised mode of livelihood. Virtually all of the adult villagers can understand Swahili, though some elderly people (excluding ourinterviewees) do not speak it.As noted above, Bubango borders Gombe Stream National Park. The boundary of thevillage with the park is at the top of the hills on the western side of the Mungonyavalley. The hilltops are covered by grassland, which is their natural vegetation, andnot the result of firing. There are no large animals close to the village centre, althoughbaboons and bush pigs do come down into the Gwamanga area, close to the park boundary. We were told that the village experiences little conflict with the park, inpart because Bubango covers a much larger area of land (and therefore accessibleresources) than the villages which border Gombe on the lakeshore. The positive roleof the TANAPA community outreach programme (SCIP) is also acknowledged: it hashelped to build a dispensary in the village. The fact that a number of villagers areemployed as park staff may also be relevant in this context.Wage employment aside, the principal sources of household income in Bubango arefrom fishing on the lake and farming in the village. A significant proportion of theadult male population of Bubango work as fishermen, and some of them are boatowners. They generally fish from Mtanga and Mwamgongo, and are absent from thevillage while engaged in this activity. During our first visit on 31/10/96, whichfollowed a full moon, many of the fishermen were at home, but planning to return tothe lake the next day (we were therefore unable to interview active lake fishermenduring our second visit on 3/11/96). Cassava, maize and beans are the mainsubsistence crops in the village. The principal cash crop in Bubango is the oil palm,which is said to take 5-7 years to reach maturity if well cared for. There are twoharvesting seasons, March-April and September-November, the latter being the mostimportant. Hybrid oil palms have not yet been introduced to the village, thoughconsiderable interest is expressed in obtaining them (from TACARE, which does notwork in Bubango). The only NGO which has begun to work in the village isCARITAS, focusing upon health and sanitation (our first visit was preceded by aCARITAS evaluation, two days earlier). Some KIDEP work (of unspecified nature)was done in Bubango in the past.Until at least the late 1940s there appears to have been ample natural vegetation coverin Bubango. This attracted Ha settlers from the north and east, who came to Bubangoto clear the forest for cultivation (three of our four elderly interviewees were earlymigrants to the village). One informant, who came to Bubango in 1946, recalled thatthere were still lions and buffalo in the area at this time (these animals have alsodisappeared from Gombe Stream National Park, though leopards are still reported). Itis said that all of the land in Bubango is now owned by local farmers. Farmerswithout access to sufficient land within the village are obliged to move to the east,where land is still available. KIDEA, the Kigoma Development Association, providessome opportunities for buying land in villages to the east (but none borderingBubango), though relatively few farmers from Bubango have done so. Land pressureis clearly growing in the village, though it appears to have not yet reached criticallevels.

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