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Seascapes of Kanga, 1965-2010

There is a range of boats used by people on Mafia: small dug-out canoes (mitumbwi), larger canoes with outriggers (ngalawa), small dhows capable of travel to the mainland (mashua). In recent years, some fishermen have acquired outboard motors, instead of relying on sail.


Around the west coast of northern Mafia are seas which can be fished for a wide variety of fin fish, and also for lobster and cray fish, items which were was not valued in the 1960s but which have become to important exports from the island and have enabled some young men to earn a good cash income.

Fishing has remained artisanal, with the use of nets (nyavu), lines (mishipi) and traps (madema or basket traps, and wando which are large staked-out areas). Fishing has increased in economic importance over the years and the catches are now sold mainly to middlemen who take them in iced containers to sell in markets in Dar es Salaam. The importance of exports has meant that it is increasingly difficult for local people to buy fish as it is not often sold in the villages today. Fish is rarely dried as it used to be.

In the new millennium a large commercial prawn farm was set up just south of Kanga village and this has blocked one of the Kanga rivers previously used for fishing. Fishermen can now sell their fish to the company which owns the prawn farm, but most prefer to take the catch directly to Dar.

I have followed the fortunes of one fishing cooperative called ‘Ogopa Jibu’ in Kanga village over the last decade from the time when they fished with a large canoe (ngalawa) to their recent purchase of a small dhow (mashua) and outboard motor. This group appears in the 2003 film ‘Life on Mafia Island’, and in the sequences of photos for 2002, 2004 and 2010.

New sources of income from the sea include rafts for attracting pearl oysters, and a cooperative scheme for farming fish in ponds dug in the salt flats.

1965-7


1976


1985


1994


2002


2004


2010


Main changes: Main changes: Fishing has remained artisanal, but is increasingly done for sale to middlemen who take the fish to sell in markets in Dar es Salaam in iced containers. The importance of exports has meant that it is increasingly difficult for local people to buy fish as it is not often sold in the villages today. Fish is rarely dried as it used to be.

I have followed the fortunes of one fishing cooperative called Ogopa Jibu in Kanga village over the last decade from the time when they fished with a large ngalawa to their recent purchase of a mashua and outboard motor. This group appears in the 2003 film ‘Life on Mafia Island’, and in this sequence of photos for 2002, 2010 and 2010.