Mozambique: interim evaluation of Nampula artisanal fisheries project

Community organisations and empowerment

The below picture shows Marisa at a well built by the project in Moma equipped with a water pump. The surroundings of the well are very clean and tidy and the buckets properly lined. A five-member committee that has been elected at a community meeting where all families sharing the well were present, looks after the well and takes care of its operation and maintenance on a daily basis. Each family contributes Mt 1,000 per month to the well maintenance fund. The committee was elected before the well was constructed and the committee in collaboration with the Project decided siting of the well. This was based on their intimate experience and knowledge of the local conditions and water availability of the terrain. Marisa told the completion evaluation mission that the well and water pump has had an important impact on her and her family's overall livelihood.

A total of 122 such water committees have been formed in 42 fishing communities, who manage and maintain the 122 wells that have been constructed or rehabilitated by the Project. Beneficiaries actively participate in the management committee deliberations and contribute to the pump maintenance expenses readily and willingly. Four other community committees, Micro-project committees elected in a similar fashion as the water committees have been active in contributing to the construction of health centers and schools. These committees not only were involved in the planning of each micro-project and work closely with the Project and the contractor in the implementation but also contribute 25% of the total project costs in the form of labour and local materials. In addition, the Project promoted the formation of 14 local Fisheries Resource Management and Co-management Committees of boat and fishing-net owners, which in close collaboration with the Fisheries Administration are fighting to impose discipline in the fishing effort by and within the fishing communities aiming at a sustainable exploitation of the country's valuable marine resources.

The Nampula project facilitated the formation of community committees and organisations through: (i) focusing on the creation of enabling conditions, such as access to credit and savings facilities, linking fishing and other economic activities with markets through private traders and micro-enterprises, etc. that enhanced the capacity of beneficiaries to improve their household income, and (ii) creating conditions for the satisfaction of the communities basic needs: water supply, primary health and sanitary care and education, in compliance with the ideals of sustainable human development.

The experience shows that community development is a slow and complex process and emphasis need to be given to understanding the complex socio-political fabric of the communities in the project area. In the initial stages of group formation, there is an important stage of learning and adaptation that may be negatively affected by over ambitious targets, lack of transparency or establishment of unrealistic expectations. The members of all committees have received training by the project extension staff, who continues to act on an advisory capacity to the committees. The early involvement of the project beneficiaries, from planning to implementation of each micro-project catalysed a sense of belonging and ownership and provided a firm basis for sustainable participatory development. NAFP has progressively empowered the communities by promoting their awareness of development prospects and by building capacities and skills that are necessary to ensure their effective participation, at present and future, in decision-making processes that affect their well being. The established institutional dialogue and linkages between committees and fishermen associations and formal management bodies, including the Fisheries Administration has been an important part of the empowerment of stakeholders and may provide a model to be replicated in other communities and geographical areas of the country.


  • New associations and organisations require a significant amount of assistance with the bureaucratic process of formalisation and registration. Institutional support and training to such bodies is perceived important to not only the development of capacity but also the establishment of realistic aims and objectives.
  • No implementation of any participatory activity is commenced prior to ensuring that all and every step of each phase from planning to implementation has been understood and endorsed by the community.
  • Enhancement of participation and ownership of project activities by beneficiaries requires training, strong communication links and dialogue amongst extension staff, credit agency, the target communities and other institutions in the sector. The necessity of training the extensionists in effective communication skills and in improving the competence and overall capacity of the extension service becomes more than apparent.


  • The empowerment process still requires formalisation, legal status and recognition by the authorities. There is need to improve the institutional and legal framework for the establishment of co-management organisations, including definition of competence and authority.

Participatory adaptive research, extension and marketing

‘Before project start, we did not know about trammel nets for fishing shrimps. Through the project, experienced fishermen came all the way from India to Mozambique, who in co-operation with IDPPE extensionists introduced to us this new technology. Using trammel nets we have improved our shrimp catches'. Saide is from Moma village, Northeastern Mozambique and has been fisherman for all his life. Using the traditional nets he could hardly catch any shrimp. Now, Saide catches between 20-30 kg of good quality shrimp per day, which adds materially to his daily income. The below picture shows Indian fisherman Anthony to demonstrate to Saide the use of trammel nets.

The Project in partnership with fishermen has tested at various fishing centers different types of fishing gear with the main purpose to find efficient and low cost fishing technologies appropriate for the various commercial species found in the project area. The Project tested also various approaches to fish processing and preservation in order to solve physical problems in fish handling, collection and delivery system, all to encourage fishermen to adopt sustainable fishing practices and promote efficiency in fish production.

The participatory adaptive trials benefited from fishermen's knowledge and needs, and contributed to increased awareness of artisanal fishery development potential and constraints. It provided vital feedback in technology design in response to their suggestions. Before the end of the participatory trial, participating fishermen knew the results/benefits and spread the word amongst their community fellow men several of whom absorbed positive experience. Several examples from the project's evaluation may appropriately illustrate the above. The use of trammel nets for shrimp harvesting in the experimentation exercises was successful and many fishermen adopted the technology. Likewise, a number of fishermen took up gill nets, long-lines and trammel nets as appropriate to best suit their fishing effort. These nets do not catch the same type of fish nor the same size and amount of pelagic as the beach seines. Demersals are an additional catch type with the new fishing methods, which in most cases fetch higher prices and target the 5-10% high income class of urban markets in Nampula. Furthermore, a number of fish processors in Moma and Angoche have shown a positive appreciation of the upgraded smoking kiln, as modified by the project based on the ‘chorkor' method, which is a low cost smoker, with higher production capacity, better efficiency in wood consumption and easier working conditions.

With the integration of local fishing communities into research and technology development, the NAFP has validated both the relevance of adaptive experimentation approach and the fast dissemination and adoption of generated technological innovation. Participating fishermen have contributed not only to a more efficient and cost effective research but relieved strain from the extension workers and contributed, also, to the dissemination of research results. However, the process of dissemination and the adoption rates of research results by beneficiaries could be improved, and the strengthening of the extension service as a whole including the development of technical extension messages in the project area requires more attention.

Experience shows that the development and successful introduction of fisheries technologies and fishing practices is dependent on many factors beyond the technology itself, including access to inputs and financial services, the market opportunities for new products, processing and storage techniques.

With regard to market development, the Project has been successful in facilitating and influencing positively the availability of fishing gear in the project area not through its direct importation but through influencing the duties and tariff levels and through linking the private sector marketing networks with the fishing communities. Experience shows also that the establishment and maintenance of a market information system to support associated project activities (especially fisheries technology and processing) is relevant and useful, but its sustainable development needs still to be perfected. The encouragement of the Fishermen Associations to get involved in marketing activities including the supply of fishing gear and other inputs as well as the marketing of fish and fish products and gradually the development of shore marketing infrastructure will be an appropriate step towards enhancing sustainability of fishing operations.



  • The process of the dissemination of research results in the project area and the strengthening of the extension service as a whole including the development of technical extension messages should be given further attention and support.
  • Future project designs incorporate more active policy and planning roles for articulation with the Government including support for further improvement of the macro-economic framework for the trading of fishery outputs and inputs (taxes, tariffs protection levels and imports) and the building of effective linkages between fishermen and the private sector either directly through project initiatives or/and indirectly through NGOs.
  • The Project promotes market development initiatives including, for instance, the establishment of shore infrastructure, landing facilities, auction halls, market information and provision of credit for the development of ice making and cold storage facilities by the private sector.
  • The Project provides institutional support to build capacity of Fishermen Associations to get involved in trade and marketing activities.

Co-management of marine resources and sustainability

‘We were using mosquito nets for years. We thought we had good catches although they contained many low value juveniles and very small fish. We did not know that by catching the juveniles and the very small fish we were in reality damaging our future fish harvests and incomes'. ‘Trawlers was another of our big problems. They came and destroyed our nets and we got nothing. We could not get any compensation'. Fishermen Abaca and Abdalla from the coastal village of Larde started understanding the dangers from the use of mosquito nets when they joined the co-management committees of fisheries resources. Now they use 12-mm mesh size in their beach seine nets and catch mostly marketable fish with out harming marine resource sustainability. With the legal dispensation to extend the trawler exclusion zone from 1-3 nautical miles from the shore, achieved by the Project, Abaca and Abdalla are helping the Fisheries Administration to reduce encroachment.

The Project has made inroads into the marine resource management issue and has demonstrated that by working together in a co-management partnership with the fishing communities, the fisheries institutions and the Fisheries Administration it is possible to lay the foundation for a long-term sustainable exploitation of the valuable natural marine resource to the benefit of the artisanal, semi-industrial and industrial fisheries. The resource management issue involves development of strategies for fisheries resources research, improvement of fisheries statistics, monitoring and surveillance activities and the development of institutional arrangements to translate the resource management information into operational management action. By creating awareness of fisheries management issues and acceptance of the need for the imposition of discipline in the fishing effort by and within the communities, the Project has shown how to develop fisheries management mechanisms and implement them in close collaboration with the fishermen, the Fisheries Institutions and the Maritime Administration.

Surveillance and policing by the Ministry of Fisheries alone could not be sufficient to impose regulation of management of the fish resources and achieve discipline of fishermen. It requires the active participation of the fishermen themselves and their organisations. The Fisheries Administration acknowledged the importance of this and made good use of the Resource Management/Co-management Committees to create awareness in fisheries management issues and develop a Co-management framework for a judicious and sustainable use of the local marine resources. The fishermen and their committees/associations agreed to co-operate and undertake a role in the management of the marine resource when they realised that such actions were serving directly their own interests. They would not undertake them for the interest of the state or because the law required so.

The participatory research trials on different types of fishing gear and practices that IDPPE conducted in partnership with the fishermen convinced the latter that the tested gear can improve fishing effort by catching fish of higher quality that would assure favourable economic returns through higher prices and less risk to the resource base. The NAFP has helped also by providing incentives to borrowers i.e. credit to purchase trammel nets, purse seines, drift nets/gill nets and long-lines for open sea fishing and thus improve efficiency of fish production.

The presence of trawlers close to the shore inevitably leads to conflicts because of the destruction of fishing gear, particularly gill nets and long lines. It also harms the substrate and fish stocks to the detriment of the sustainable use of the resource. The co-management committees are now fighting along side with the Fisheries Administration to control encroachment and enforce the 3 nautical mile trawler exclusion zone from the coast, because it gives them wider territory for fishing activities, and reduces coastal harvesting pressure. The establishment of the Artisanal Fishermen's Association of Moma and the Artisanal Fishermen's Association of Angoche has enhanced further empowerment of the fishermen and the co-management arrangement of fishing initiatives and programmes.

The Co-management Committees provide a forum where the fishermen discuss regulation issues with the fisheries institutions and the Marine Administration and reach a consensus on the measures to be taken. Subjects that are being discussed and dealt with by the marine co-management committees include: sensitisation of fishermen on protected species; regulation of the intensity of fishing activity including definition of allowable number of fishing units for migrant fishermen, length of fishing period, mesh size for fishing nets, control of exploitation based on projections of thresholds for amount of catch related to number of fishermen; prohibition of underwater spear fishing and of toxic substances and explosives to harvest fish; delineation of areas of local jurisdiction; conflict resolution between artisanal fishermen and between artisanal and semi/industrial fishermen; confiscation of prohibited fishing gear; and management of licences for fishing gear.

The project has helped the Fisheries Research Institute (IIP) to establish a successful monitoring system for the collection of data from the many artisanal fishery centres in the area. A total of 250 aquatic species have been encountered in the catches. Three studies have commenced and others will be undertaken in order to assess biological parameters of all commercial species including maturity size, reproduction periods, spawning and migratory cycles and estimate the volume of the resource. The knowledge of the characteristics of the resource is needed to guide development actions and resource management measures that would safeguard the long-term sustainability of the country fishery resources. As a result of these studies it was made possible for the Project to achieve the legal dispensation of mosquito nets and extension of the trawler exclusion zone 3 nautical miles from the coast. The establishment and successful development of the fisheries data collection system is now being replicated in other parts of the country through a programme supported by French Co-operation.



  • The established institutional dialogue and the creation of a favourable environment for artisanal fisheries constitute a very sound activity in the process of regulation through empowerment of both the fishermen organisations and the fisheries institutions.
  • The Project continues its efforts towards local authorities to accelerate legal recognition of the co-management organisations and associations including definition of competence and relevant powers.
  • The development and establishment of a fisheries data collection system was successful and the model is now being applied in other parts of the country though a programme supported by French Co-operation. The stock assessment studies will be better served if the study area presently concentrated along the narrow northern coast of the Sofala Bank is extended further southwards to cover both Zambezia and Sofala areas of the Bank.

Artisanal fisheries project to sub-sector investment programme

Momade is from Angoche town and has a boat but his fishing gear was very old and he could neither buy a new one nor buy material to repair it. Supply in his area was non-existent and prevailing prices were very high. Even if he had the money, purchases could be made only in Nacala, some 250-km away. Through the Project, supplies of fishing gear and spare parts for boat rehabilitation are now stored in Angoche and sold at lower prices than before due to competition and lowering of taxes and tariffs. Momade received a loan through FFPI (Small Industry Development Fund) and has replaced the old gear. His fish catches increased and his income improved.

The NAFP has evolved along its life, both in terms of its component structure and the profile of activities within specific components. This process approach to planning has allowed the project to adapt in keeping with both accumulated experience and changing economic and social conditions. In terms of the general approach, the NAFP has repeatedly validated the effectiveness of the integrated cross-sectoral methodology by targeting concurrently technical, commercial, social and institutional components.

The Project directed institutional targeting towards strengthening the capacity and promotion of the formation of community-based organisations as a medium for self-mobilisation for development purposes. The Project has been instrumental for the formation of 142 community organisations (14 Resource and Co-management Committees, 2 Fishermen Associations, 122 Water Committees and 4 Micro-project Committees) with an estimated 950 members, who actively participate in project activities aiming at improving the living conditions of the communities in the project areas. The project has targeted directly the poorest in the communities through the FFPI credit scheme and the CARE/CRER (Rural Enterprise) micro credit programme by organising 131 savings and credit groups in the poorest strata including women. Experience shows that the micro-finance programme is a very appropriate way of addressing the financial needs of the poorest target group. The stamp-based scheme has been better in targeting women as well as establishing a simpler and more comprehensible system. The Project maintains regular co-ordination meetings with CRER and FFPI to further improve targeting of the poorest members of the communities.

The Project directed functional targeting towards removing single or multiple critical constraints to artisanal fisheries development namely the supply of inputs, provision of credit and the development of infrastructure. The project has targeted through formal credit small- and large-scale traders to improve marketing and the accessibility of fishing equipment and other inputs in the area. The Project has been able to access the whole target group through the Rural Infrastructure Rehabilitation component and the micro projects of the Community Development Fund. Especially, the Water Supply and Road Rehabilitation schemes have contributed significantly to raising the standard of living in the targeted communities. Road rehabilitation has also benefited many more people who live outside the project area. Developing infrastructure implies that the whole of the population in the targeted areas is benefiting from the project inputs.

The third ingredient is the primacy of market linkages between the fishermen and the private sector input distribution and marketing fish and fish products. The establishment and maintenance of a market information system to support associated project activities (especially fisheries technology and processing) has been proven to be relevant and useful. The Project has also benefited traders living outside the project area, who now use the rehabilitated roads to market their goods in the fishing communities and buy fish to sell in the interior parts of the country. Sustainable methods for information collection have still to be perfected. The Project tapped in a rather systematic way local knowledge and experience and blended with ‘modern' technical knowledge suitable to the context and environment in which the fishing communities live and operate.

Through judicious application of targeting modalities, the project has not only been able to spur the fishermen motivation to development and expand their fishing activities but also to promote an integrated, wider development within the fishery sector. The experience here illustrates that development investments would have a far more reaching effect and impact, if the strategies shift from a narrow project area focus to a wider sectoral integrated programme approach. Such a shift of the artisanal sub-sector investment programme is consistent with current concerns in IFAD with a shift in development planning towards a wider programme approach.



  • The NAFP has repeatedly validated the effectiveness of the integrated cross-sectoral methodology by targeting concurrently technical, commercial, social and institutional components. Future development interventions should shift from a narrow project focus to a wider sectoral integrated programme approach. Individual projects would address specific objectives within the larger programme.
  • IFAD supported projects based on the general programme approach should make best use of the accumulated experience from the NAFP and include in the process stakeholder participation and empowerment.

Women's empowerment

Anchita is from Angoche town. She is rather shy, has 5 children and has always lived in poverty. She hardly made any savings in her life. Anchita told the Evaluation Mission that she joined a savings club about 18 months ago, very reluctantly in the beginning, and learned gradually how friends could get together and use savings to finance small generating activities. She borrowed from her group and started a micro-business trading small domestic items such as soap, cooking oil, matches etc. and cakes, which she prepares herself. Anchita is now in a position to send her children to school and buy books for them.

A serious attempt has been made by the Project to empower women by integration into community committees and other project activities. In each of the 122 water committees formed by the Project in the 42 communities, at least 2 members are women. In fact, in many committees more than 2 women were elected, who assume any duty including that of controller, mechanic, collector or cleaner. Similarly, women participate in the micro-project committees for schools and health posts and participate actively along with men in fulfilling the duties expected of the committees. In the past, it has been assumed that the responsibility for decision on borehole siting and management of the wells was that of adult males. However, field survey has indicated that children and women were often primarily responsible for issues to do with water in the family. This implies that it is not always precise to say that programmes have followed a participatory approach because adult males were consulted in community meetings. This meant that children and women most implicated in decisions about water have often been excluded from deliberations. The Nampula project recognised this weakness and ensured that participation involved the full range of opinions and input and represented a truly participatory approach.

Women were, also, able to join credit and savings associations and have been active particularly in savings. In fact, 75% of the membership of the 55 savings clubs is made of women. Women members of the groups were able to save and borrow in order to buy food commodities for trade within the communities. Active participation including women in these committees is a clear manifestation of a sense of ownership of the social services. The NAFP created community awareness on development prospects through women empowerment and developed skills necessary to ensure that women in fishing communities effectively participate in decision-making processes that affect their well being. In a society traditionally dominated by men where women have no voice, the participation of women in water committees together with men is considered a very important and potentially far reaching project achievement.


  • To further alleviate social and economic constraints encountered by women, there is need to carry out a gender study to review current demand for services to the women in fishermen communities, assess the availability of these services from existing institutions and NGOs and develop a programme to meet local needs including initiatives in adult education and vocational training for undertaking income generating activities.
  • Strategies to accelerate women empowerment process should include building awareness of the economic and social benefits accruing from women participation in income-generating activities, including access to employment opportunities and credit facilities as well as satisfying basic needs, health, education, etc.


This completion point reflects an understanding among the core partners in the evaluation process of the Nampula Artisanal Fisheries Project (NAFP) to adopt and use the lessons learned and recommendations from this evaluation exercise, not only in the implementation of the NAFP, but also in designing new projects and programmes aimed towards ameliorating the overall livelihood of artisanal fisheries communities. The core partners included the Institute for the Development of Small-Scale Fisheries (IDPPE), Fisheries Research Institute (IIP), Small Industry Development Fund (FFPI), CARE and IFAD (represented by the Africa II Division and the Office of Evaluation and Studies).