A gendered analysis of fisherfolk migration on Lake Victoria, East Africa

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Little evidence is available on the gendered dimensions of fisherfolk migration beyond the view that it is mainly male fishers who migrate. This article investigates how the gendered experience of fisherfolk migration influences societal change in the fishing communities of Lake Victoria, East Africa. It draws on primary data from several studies, supplemented by secondary sources, to report on the gendered experience of fisherfolk migration and implications of this for fishing households and communities. Lake Victoria is bordered by three countries, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and about 50% of boat crew move between landing sites over the course of a year. Movement into and around the fisheries over time has led to a situation of dynamic social norms and practices, abandoning more traditional norms such as those associated with women’s domestic rather than economic roles and contributing to the practice of transactional sex for access to fish. Fishing communities are also affected by changing population size, as limited provision of public services and development is attributed to local government perceptions of fluctuations in population resulting from the migration of male fishers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-358
Number of pages17
JournalAfrican Identities
Issue number3
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust [RPG-2013-375].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Fisherfolk migration
  • Lake Victoria
  • gender analysis
  • women and fisheries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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