By: K. Mosepele, G. Mmopelwa, D. L. Kgathi, O. Setswalo, B. Mosepele
Conflicts among different fisher groups are a global concern, and the Okavango Delta fishery is no exception, which is composed of commercial, subsistence and recreational fishers. Possibly due to conflicting value/use systems, and ill-defined user rights, there have been documented cases of conflict between commercial and recreational fishers, which may affect livelihoods for local fishers. Therefore, this study’s aim was to identify causes of conflict between these groups and to propose management inventions. Primary data collected in three fishing villages showed that lack of access, misconceptions about each other, and overlapping use were identified as some of the major causes of conflict. Subsequently, this paper proposes a spatial and temporal zoning of fishing grounds as a management tool towards conflict resolution. One proposal is that recreational fishers can utilize the main channel, commercial fishers the floodplains and lagoons, while basket fishers can utilize the fringes of floodplains, lagoons and river channel. Moreover, a co-management regime has also been developed in the fishery, upon which a code of conduct was developed to also reduce conflict in the fishery. It is envisaged that this approach will reduce conflict and create an enabling environment for efficient and sustainable fish utilization in the Delta.