MagegoDeclining fish stocks and livelihood diversification among fishing households of Mfangano Isl

Chamberlain College of Nursing **We aren't endorsed by this school
Nov 13, 2023
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social resources) and activities required for a means of living, while the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) defines livelihoods as the means, activities, entitlements and assets by which people make a living. Livelihood diversification is neither just a rural nor only a developing country phenomenon. It is also a survival strategy of urban dwellers in developing countries. In diversified households, if one productive activity does not provide enough, or fails completely, there are other sources of livelihood that the household can fall back on. Along the lake shores, diversification has been for distress reasons due to declining fish stocks. In such situations, Ellis (2000) argues that household members are forced to undertake casual or less productive activities with poor prospects. In other words it is a last resort rather than an attractive alternative of survival. Moreover, Davies and Hossain (1997) add that, it may also lead to households adopting a more vulnerable livelihood system than they possessed previously. Ellis (2000) further observes that when analyzing household level strategies it is important to identity the underlying trends and processes. This is because these two aspects may create general conditions that provoke livelihood diversification as a response to survival. However, individuals and households are likely to respond to these underlying changes in different ways depending on the factors that vary between households such as income levels and asset profiles. In addition, Freeman and Ellis (2005) observe that diversification has also been analyzed as a rational response by households to lack of opportunities for specialization and was initially considered not the most desirable option. Recent studies indicate that rather than promoting specialization within existing portfolios, upgrading them to augmenting income could be more realistic and relevant for livelihoods around the lakeshores. Usually households diversify their portfolios depending on their income levels and resource availability. Along the lakeshores, fishing has recently failed to provide a sufficient livelihood for a substantial proportion of rural communities. Consequently livelihoods have become increasingly oriented to non-fishing activities. This has been attributed to severe decline of fisheries resources along the lakeshores. 8
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