This paper is a contribution towards bridging the current gap between fisheries and rural development studies in Malawi. The paper first sets out the policy arena for the management of small-scale fisheries in the context of poverty eradication, it then goes on to identify key policy-related questions with respect to fisheries in Malawi and describes how a livelihoods research study was designed to address these questions. The results of this study provide the main empirical content of the paper; they address the poverty-status of households involved in fishing around Lakes Malawi and Chilwa and describe the strategies these households pursue in putting together a livelihood. The availability of studies of the socio-economy of the Lake Chilwa Plain in the late 1960s (Kalk et al., 1979) allows some analysis of major livelihood changes in southern Malawi over the last 35 years. We also emphasise the impacts on fishing-based livelihoods brought about by the shift, over the last 5 years, from central-government control towards localised fisheries co-management. The paper concludes with policy implications and possible development processes or entry points for intervention in support of sustainable fisheries-based livelihoods.
Allison, E.H.; Mvula, P.M. Fishing Livelihoods and Fisheries Management in Malawi. (2002) 32 pp. [LADDER Working Paper No.22]