Fishers' perceptions of occupational hazards in the Okavango delta, Botswana
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
MetadataShow full item record
The fishing industry remains one of the most hazardous industries in the world, with fatality rates said to be higher than the national averages of all occupational fatalities. Different researchers disagree over whether fishermen as a whole tend to be risk loving or risk averse. However, due to many factors surrounding the fishing industry, fishermen are continuously faced with making decisions where financial gain or loss is uncertain. Fishing in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, is not only a source of income but also a means of social cohesion. The dissertation identified possible occupational hazards, determined the influence of fishers’ socio-economic characteristics on their perceptions of occupational hazards and analysed the psychosocial factors influencing fishers’ perceptions about fishing occupational hazards. It also determined the role which culture plays on how fishers perceive occupational hazards. The study used both open ended and close ended interview schedules to collect qualitative and quantitative data from 44 artisanal fishers from 3 villages along the Okavango panhandle to determine factors influencing fisher’s perception of occupational hazards. Findings show that most fishers are males (84.1%) and singles (68.2%), who had evenly distributed ages and more than half of them had never been to school. Most (77%) stayed in large families of more than 5 people. A large number (61.4%) of them had at one point or another experienced injuries, most (36.3%) of which are bone pricks and for which most (85.1%) fishers sought medical attention. Though most (77%) of the fishers believed that licensing is important to regulate fishing activities, more than half (54.5%) of them believed that safety adherence regulations would be an unnecessary hindrance to their source of livelihood. Fishing is part of their culture, which teaches them sustainable management practices. Most (97.7) are of the opinion that a fisher should be strong and brave and hence be willing to risk their lives for their families. They believe fishing is dangerous but could be as dangerous as any occupation. The fishers were of the opinion that there was need for safety training in the fishing occupation, whether from other fishers or the government. Most (63.5%) fishers opined that being cautious or not on the job would not make any difference to the enhancement of personal safety and as such most (61.3%) of them were willing to risk their lives for their families. Most (93.2%) fishers, however, indicated that apart from knowing how to take precautionary measures against hazards, they also had the ability to promptly deal with consequences of such hazards lest their families lose their source of livelihood. Pearson product-moment correlation analyses show that at p≤0.01 level of significance, there was a positive correlation existing between fatalism and risk acceptance. Conversely, negative correlations existed between fishers’ age and government support; as well as fatalism and risk acceptance at 95 percent confidence level. Chi Square analysis at p≤0.01 revealed strong associations between fishers’ perceptions and marital status; fishing experience in years; monthly income; number of dependents; access to fishing information; and risk acceptance.
- Research articles (ORI)