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Keywords:

  • Small-scale fishing styles;
  • spatial diversity;
  • Lake Victoria;
  • Uganda;
  • multi-method methodology;
  • socio-cultural perspective

Abstract

This paper discusses spatial patterns in small-scale fishing in Africa. It is located in Lake Victoria where since the 1990s a vibrant Nile perch fishing for overseas export developed. Focusing on a very small area in the Ugandan part of the lake, the paper uncovers a larger diversity in fishermen's responses to the dynamic environment of the Nile perch sector than a widely adopted generic model predicts. To understand this better, the paper looks at the social practices of Nile perch fishermen, uncovering the operation of different, spatially situated, fishing styles. These styles structure the social relations that the fishermen mobilise, the symbolic meanings they attach to their gear, and the values that inspire their decision-making. By thus looking at socio-cultural factors the paper hopes to contribute to an emerging spatial perspective on small-scale fishing in Africa that begins with an interest in actual social practice.