Manhice, H., Pedersen, J.S.T. & Santos, F.D. (2022) Holes in the policy net: an analysis of sustainable food production in artisanal fishing communities and policy challenges to ensure long-term food security in Sofala Bank, Mozambique. Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security (ed. by Leal Filho, W., Kovaleva, M. and Popkova, E.). World Sustainability Series. Springer. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-98617-9_21.
Climate change impacts and industrial fishing put pressure on local communities globally. Mozambique is projected to become one of the most vulnerable countries globally to resource scarcity and climate-related disasters, making food security a future policy focus. This chapter presents a marine biological & anthropological analysis investigating future food security in the rural coastal communities in Sofala Bank, Mozambique. We show that fishery and agriculture are primary sources of food for artisanal river fishers, and shrimp is the most valuable resource. The current fishery management strategy of abandoning specific nets and a prohibition period does not work efficiently. Artisanal Fishers break the law to survive. Current policies are ineffective because they don’t consider the rural fishing communities’ life practices and don’t address their daily need for food and subsistence income. When implemented adequately, we find that policies can address and avoid urgent ecological crises of overexploitation-in the industrial open sea and artisanal river fishing. A policy change is proposed, addressing the interconnectedness between the fishing sectors, e.g., compensating for the benefits in open sea fishing provided by a prohibition period for artisanal river fishing. It implies strengthening the responsibilities of NGOs and donors. Additionally, we suggest focusing on sustainable and complementary fishery and agricultural practices, including cultivating a climate change-resilient crop traditionally (and still) used in Mozambique and South-Eastern Africa-the sisal plant.