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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 330-344

Sustainable Development? Controversies over Prawn Farming on Mafia Island, Tanzania

Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Correspondence Address:
Pat Caplan
Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.197607

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Date of Web Publication5-Jan-2017


The world market for crustaceans has increased exponentially in recent years and so too have the number of production sites. However, the growth of this industry has not been without controversy, particularly regarding its environmental effects. In 2002, a large company based in Kenya applied to locate a prawn farm on Mafia Island, Tanzania, close to the Rufiji Delta. This scheme raised very differing views among various 'stakeholders': villagers living around the proposed site, the Mafia District Councillors (madiwan), government officials at varying levels, local and national activists (some in NGOs), the prawn farming company, and the experts whom they hired to produce environmental impact reports. There were opposing discourses around the rights of locals as citizens to retain control of 'their' resources, on the one hand, versus the needs of 'development' and the creation of jobs, on the other. There were also fierce debates about the importance and meaning of environment and sustainability, and the perceived role of corruption. This paper, based on fieldwork in 2002 and 2004, explores these complex debates and the ways in which the decision was finally made to allow the prawn farm to go ahead. It reveals the means by which the legal rights of citizens at the local level may be trumped by pressures emanating from those coming from above and outside who wield greater power.

Keywords: Prawn farming, sustainable development, environment, citizens' rights, Mafia Island, Tanzania, social anthropology, participant observation, decision-making

How to cite this article:
Caplan P. Sustainable Development? Controversies over Prawn Farming on Mafia Island, Tanzania. Conservat Soc 2016;14:330-44

How to cite this URL:
Caplan P. Sustainable Development? Controversies over Prawn Farming on Mafia Island, Tanzania. Conservat Soc [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Jul 2];14:330-44. Available from: http://www.conservationandsociety.org/text.asp?2016/14/4/330/197607

   Introduction Top

This article [1] explores a number of complex debates around the broad issue of aquaculture and sustainable development; such as land rights (including common land), environmental issues, democracy, and consultation; it also considers the broader issue of who benefits from large development projects of this kind and how decisions to ban or allow them are made. At the same time, it is also about a commercial enterprise presenting itself as a form of development likely to benefit many people and one which moreover takes full account of environmental considerations.

A number of anthropologists have critiqued discourses around development and environment. Some have taken issue with the very concept of 'development', whether in terms of 'developmentalism' (Escobar 1995), aid projects (Mosse 2005), or the mismatch between the views of local people and outsiders (Walley 2004). Others have questioned the notion of 'environmentalism', showing that this is not solely the territory of natural scientists but contains ideologies, laws, and policies which are both socially and culturally constructed (Milton 1993). They have argued, as well, that indigenous knowledge also needs recognition (Sillitoe et al. 2002).

Another long-standing set of debates concerns the loss of 'the commons', a topic considered in work on ownership and appropriation by Strang and Busse (2011). As these and other anthropologists have shown, it is impossible to ignore the workings of power in its many tangible and intangible forms. This is particularly true of the work of Brian Morris, who has drawn attention to such matters many times in both his writing and his teaching, perhaps most notably in his recent book on pioneers of ecological humanism (2012) but even before that in his collection of early essays on ecology and anarchism (1996). In his introduction to the latter volume, Morris states that the collection 'defends and supports three inter-linked theoretical perspectives and social movements – radical humanism, social ecology, and socialist anarchism' (Morris 1996: 5). Morris sees the first of these as arising from a radical version of the Enlightenment tradition, which also includes an ecological world view. For him, then, ecology is social and thus, of necessity, also political.

In this paper, I make use of similar premises by presenting the case study of a proposed prawn farm on Mafia Island, Tanzania, showing that an understanding of decision-making in the sphere of what Mukhopadhyay (2016) has recently termed 'prawn politics' requires analysis of varying discourses around key terms such as 'environment', 'development' and 'sustainability'. Each of these concepts may be presented as being neutral, yet they may mask or 'disguise' power relations which include the right to define them and the validity of the premises which underlie such definitions. Such power relations also ensure that some are likely to benefit more than others from the contexts in which they are used. Here a place-based study is particularly useful not only in allowing us to identify specificities which illuminate the workings of a particular situation, but also enable us to extract from it data which may be used for comparative purposes and help formulate both policies and theories.

In the remainder of this paper, I write about what was happening around the prawn farm project at a particular historical moment in 2002 and 2004, which includes the periods when I was on Mafia and able to collect the most data. My focus is on the way in which this proposal was presented and how it was received locally, as well as on the reasons for the very varying views of 'stakeholders'. The central question is why, in spite of local opposition, the prawn farm project went ahead, in other words the emphasis in this paper is on the processes of decision-making and its relation to power. I do not attempt to comment on what happened after that period, since I was not there to do the research. Another study by an American Ph.D. student of geography was carried out slightly later in 2007-2008 (Beymer-Farris 2011) and her work continues the story of the prawn farm which was by then in operation [2].

In the next section of the paper, I discuss the setting and the methods while the third section gives more detail on the background which is necessary to understand the history of the beginnings of the prawn farm. It starts by considering briefly the history of fishing on Mafia Island, then turns to the specifics of the prawn farm, first discussing the abortive plan to site a large prawn farm in the nearby Rufiji Delta, and then to consider the subsequent proposal for a prawn farm on Mafia. In section 4, there is a consideration of the views of different stakeholders, and an analysis of the reasons why such views were held. The narrative continues with a discussion of findings from research in 2004 and a report on a brief visit in 2010. In the final section of the paper, I summarise the arguments and draw some conclusions.

   Methods Top

Mafia Island lies off the Rufiji Delta in southern Tanzania ([Figure 1]). Its southern half was planted with coconuts by Arab settlers in the nineteenth century and it is still characterised by dispersed settlements. In the northern half there are six nucleated villages (referred to locally as the miji sita – six towns), each surrounded by a belt of bush land, where people make a living from cultivation of subsistence crops such as rice, cash crops in the form of coconuts and cashew nuts, and from fishing.
Figure 1: Location of Mafia Island in relation to the coast of Tanzania

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Mafia's infrastructure is poor, with most settlements lacking electricity or running water; there are few roads, many of which are impassable in the rainy season, and links with the mainland and with the city of Dar es Salaam are either by vessels such as large dhows (majahazi) or small dhows (mashua), or else by air which is unaffordable for most people.

I have been carrying out anthropological research on Mafia Island, an administrative District in the Coast Region of southern Tanzania, since 1965, using such techniques as participant observation, interviews, censuses, life histories, voice recordings, and filming. Repeated visits over several decades mean that I am well known to many Mafians, especially those living in the northern villages of the island where most of my fieldwork has been conducted.

In my visits in 2002 and 2004 I was focussing on the topic of local conceptions of modernities, using semi-structured interviews and participant observation, supported by funding from the Leverhulme and Nuffield Foundations. In 2002, research was carried out not only in Kanga village, the focus of much of my previous research, but also in other northern villages of the island and in the District Capital Kilindoni, seat of the local government. In 2004, part of my time was spent in Utende and on Chole Island, in order to carry out work on a development consultancy, and the remainder in Kanga village and in Kilindoni. A further short visit in 2010, when my time was primarily spent in Kanga village and Kilindoni, as well as in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, was to collect material for a historical biography (Caplan 2014, 2016).

During my fieldwork in 2002, I encountered the proposal to site a prawn farm at Jimbo village in the north of the island not far from where much of my research has been conducted over the last five decades ([Figure 2]). While the prawn farm was not the principal focus of my research, I decided to investigate it further, interviewing a large number of 'stakeholders' such as company officials, government officials, villagers living near to the proposed site, experts at the Mafia Island Marine Park, and elected officials at the village and island level [3]. In addition, I was able to obtain copies of a number of documents, many of which are referred to below [4].
Figure 2: Map of Mafia Island, Tanzania

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   Background Top

Fishing on Mafia Island, Tanzania

As in most parts of the East Coast of Africa, Mafia people living near the sea have long fished both for food and for products to sell locally and further afield. When I first began to carry out research in the north of Mafia Island in the 1960s, most fish were caught by one or two men using a dug-out canoe (ngalawa) and were either consumed by their families or sold in the villages, where fish constituted the main ingredient for the curries (mchuzi) eaten with staples like rice, cassava or sweet potatoes. Fisherman focused on fin-fish and cephalopods such as octopus (pweza), and rarely caught crustaceans, which they did not eat [5]. Some of the fish was dried or smoked and taken directly by small dhows (mashua) to the markets in Dar es Salaam.

From the 1970s onwards, fishing became increasingly important to the local economy of the island, and began to include crustaceans. On a research visit to the north of the island in the 1980s, I found that many young men were diving for lobsters, which they sold to itinerant traders. This was a valuable new source of cash income for them, enabling the purchase of consumer goods such as radios, watches and bicycles, and changing the balance of resources between the generations.

At the same time, world markets for all kinds of fish were growing and the prices were rising, both nationally and internationally. In the north of the island a few of the wealthier men acquired outboard motors and refrigerated boxes for their boats which enabled them to take fresh catches quickly to Dar es Salaam and sell them there. It was noticeably harder for local people to buy their daily supplies of fish, a situation which remained on-going at the time of each of my visits in the decades between the 1980s and my last visit in 2010.

In many areas on the East Coast, some men became full-time fishermen and would go further afield to look for their catches. For Mafia, fishermen coming from outside the island who used destructive methods involving explosives began to constitute a considerable problem. The need to prevent this practice, among other reasons, led to the setting up in 1995 of the Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP [6]), funded by the WWF [7] and Norad [8].

MIMP had fast patrol boats which could catch or deter fishermen using unlawful methods which included not only the use of explosives but also nets with a small mesh which caught young fish. MIMP also designated certain areas as being out of bounds for fishing, and other areas to which entry was only allowed for limited periods of the year (zoning). The aim was to ensure that the artisanal fishing industry was sustainable in the long term by allowing the fish to reproduce in sufficient numbers to support the present levels of catch.

The Fish Factory on Mafia Island

During the 1960s and 1970s, there had been a small factory in the Mafia District capital Kilindoni, known as Hellas, which bought octopus from local fishermen and processed it for export. However, fishermen in the north of the island did not usually sell to Hellas, because it was too difficult to take their catches to Kilindoni over a bad road with few vehicles and they got better prices by taking them directly by boat to the Dar es Salaam markets. By 2002, this factory had been bought by a new Kenya-based company, TANPESCA [9], which considerably enlarged and modernised the plant. TANPESCA had its own boats but in addition started purchasing all kinds of fin-fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans from local fishermen, either in exchange for improved fishing gear (e.g. better nets and outboard motors) or for cash. On my research visit of that year, I asked some of the fishermen in the northern villages whether they now sold to the new company. Some said that they did so, although they complained about how difficult it was to transport their fish to the District capital over a road which remained in poor condition. A few who had traded previously with Hellas complained about the fact that TANPESCA did not always pay on the spot, as Hellas had done: 'they always tell us to come back later for the money', and all complained about what they regarded as the low prices paid.

I visited the brand-new factory in July of 2002 and, after donning protective clothing, was shown around by some of the senior employees. I was told that the company was particularly interested in shrimp, octopus, crab, squid, and lobster; all of which they processed on the spot for export. The processed 'material', as it was referred to, went in their refrigerated ship to Dar es Salaam and was then put into container ships bound mainly for Europe. About half of the catch to be processed was bought from local fishermen, and half came from the company's own fishing vessels which worked off the Tanzanian coast focussing particularly on prawns.

At the time of my visit, the factory was employing 200 people, both full and part-time; about a third of them were from outside of Mafia, including most of the senior management who were mainly from India. I was told that most of the ordinary employees were hired on a casual labour basis. I interviewed one local woman whom I knew from the north of Mafia, who now worked in the processing plant. She told me that she did long shifts for very low rates of pay and only worked when there was material available for processing.

We grade lobsters, prawns, crayfish and octopus. The grade depends on both size and weight. The shifts are from 7.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. with a one-hour break for lunch. The night shift is from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. with no break. We get around TZS 1500/- per shift. The minimum wage is T. Sh. 50,000 per month currently, so we may just about get that, but for the hours we work it is very low. So yes, the pay is poor, but what else is there for us to do - a lot of people work there, both men and women. And we are hired as casual labourers (kibarua), even though some of us have been there for more than three months [and under Tanzanian law should have had their posts regularised].

Prawn Farming

The world market for crustaceans, particularly prawn/shrimp [10], has increased exponentially in recent years and so too has the number of sites of their production, especially in Asia (Rajak 2003)[11]. However, the growth of this industry has not been without controversy, particularly regarding its environmental and social effects. In India, for example, the Supreme Court banned intensive prawn farming because of its environmental damage (http://base.d-p-h.info/en/fiches/premierdph/fiche-premierdph-4040.html) while in Bangladesh there are reports of people having been killed in clashes linked to prawn production (Guardian Weekly, 8 May 2003), as well as suffering increasing poverty for the same reason (Le Monde Diplomatique 6 August 2005 pp 6-7).

Newspapers and magazines in the West regularly ask 'Is it OK to eat tiger prawns?' (e.g. Guardian 19 June 2003) to which the reply, in an expose by the Daily Mail of the Thai prawn trade in 2013, was 'You'll go right off them after we tell you what they are fed on' (Wicken 2013). Arguments are not only about consumer safety but violations of the human rights of workers. There are a number of international NGOs (non-governmental organisations) which have also been highly critical of the prawn trade for environmental reasons, including the Environmental Justice Foundation (http://ejfoundation.org/search/node/shrimp%20farming; see also report 2003) and the Mangrove Action Project (http://mangroveactionproject.org/); while a 2011 article in The Ecologist by Tom Levitt called for a boycott of tropical prawns to stop both pollution and violations of human rights in Bangladesh.

Given the apparently limitless demand for its products (Dent n.d.)[12], prawn farming, under the right conditions, can be extremely profitable. A 2002 article on the website Africabiz/BusinessAfrica.net (http://africabiz.org, accessed 14/10/02) was entitled 'The Blue Gold':

All over the Africa (sic) continent, there is no aqua culture business on an industrialist (sic) basis to produce fish, shrimps and prawns for local consumption. This is really astonishing when one knows that aqua culture – if [it is a] well planned and organised [is an] industry which offers very high returns in a very short space of time.

After giving some figures, the article concludes: 'One can see that the time for earning back the initial investment is 2-3 years if the project is implemented [so as] to reach the maximum yield of 500 metric tons output per year.'

In short, then, a perusal of available literature suggests that on the one hand, big profits can be made from prawn farming but on the other, there are considerable environmental and other risks. This is borne out by academic studies. Stonich and Bailey (2000), using an approach from political ecology, show how new global alliances have emerged to oppose shrimp/prawn farming. Most recently Mukhopadhyay's book (2016) on the Indian Sundarbans analyses its prawn trade and what he terms its 'prawn politics', revealing not only the links between traders, owners of prawn farms and politicians, but also the problematic environmental effects of this trade.

The abandoned Rufiji Delta prawn farm plan

In the 1990s, there was an abortive plan by an international company to set up what was said to be the world's largest prawn farm in the Rufiji Delta (Primavera 1998; Environmental Justice Foundation 2003; Martinez-Alier 2001). This plan, initially agreed to by the Tanzanian government authorities, raised considerable hostility from local people, from the Tanzanian media, and from two Tanzanian NGOs: the Journalists' Environmental Team (JET) and the Lawyers' Environmental Action Team (LEAT). International NGOs also became involved [13] and the project was eventually abandoned [14]. Part of the reason for the hostility to it was the knowledge that this industry had wreaked considerable environmental destruction in Asia (Quarto 2003). After a number of years facing campaigns to stop the prawn farm plan, the company concerned, which had accrued considerable debts, sold its ships and pulled out [15]. However, given the profitability of prawn farming, it was scarcely surprising that the Rufiji project was not the end of the story of prawn farming in Tanzania.

A proposal for a prawn farm on Mafia Island

At the beginning of 2002, a company called Alphakrust Ltd, linked to the aforementioned TANPESCA Company [16], applied to the government authorities on Mafia Island for land to set up a 100-hectare shrimp farm on an inter-tidal salt flat (jangwa) in Jimbo village in northern Mafia, an area which lies outside of the Marine Park boundaries. This scheme raised very differing reactions among various 'stakeholders': villagers living around the proposed site, the Mafia District Councillors (madiwan), government officials at varying levels, local and national activists, NGOs, the prawn farming company and the experts whom they hired to produce environmental impact reports.

In particular, there were opposing discourses around the rights of locals as citizens to retain control of 'their' resources, on the one hand, versus the needs of 'development' and the creation of jobs, on the other. There were also fierce debates about the importance and meaning of environment and sustainability, and the perceived role of corruption. In the next section I consider in turn each of these categories of interested parties.

   Arguments for and Against the Prawn Farm in 2002 Top

The company's arguments

In a covering letter sent with its initial application to the local authorities in January 2002 (Alphakrust 2002a), the company cited the benefits of prawn farming:

Better utilisation of unproductive and marginally productive coastal lands, intertidal areas, swamps, brackish water...[thereby] augmenting production for export and foreign exchange earning, support to [the] food security system, establishment of industries, generation of employment and improving socio-economic conditions…This project is estimated to serve almost every Jimbo resident by providing self-employment to the villagers, since we plan to educate them [in prawn farming] and finally offer free [prawn] seeds for them… Also the District as a whole will be benefiting from the extra income generating from the product [by] collecting levy for the exported product.

In the application itself, the company anticipated some of the potential problems (Alphakrust 2002a):

  1. 'Ecological imbalance connected with destruction of vegetation'It was argued that this problem arises when there is complete removal of vegetation such as mangroves. It was admitted that 'in most sites, cutting of mangroves cannot be avoided' however 'in such cases destruction should not be more than 50%'.

  2. 'Environmental problems arising from effluents from the ponds'.The company recognised that in both intensive and semi-intensive farming, there was a high risk of pollution of the surrounding area because of water containing effluent and fertiliser discharging from the ponds. However, it argued that it would use semi-intensive culture with a lower stocking density, and would also provide a well-designed effluent treatment system to minimise this risk.

  3. 'There would be a change in the land use patterns if waste water from the ponds were pumped onto adjoining agricultural land'.The company argued that this problem would only arise if the waste water were to mix with pesticides, as happens elsewhere, but that as local agriculture is non-intensive and does not use pesticides, it should not be a problem.

All in all, it was claimed that this project was part of the aquaculture which Tanzania wished to promote, that it would be appropriate for the company to receive subsidies from the government, that at least 50% of mangroves would be preserved, but that there should be no encouragement of intensive prawn farming without a well-designed EIP (Environmental Impact Plan).

In a second document, a technical feasibility study (Alphakrust 2002b), the company argued as follows:

  • The world demand for shrimps/prawns is increasing
  • The company could profit from the experiences and mistakes made by Asian countries
  • The East Coast of Africa, and Mafia in particular, had 'huge potential as an ideal place for farming Black Tiger Shrimps in the African continent' (Alphakrust 2002: 3)
  • The site selected at Jimbo village was ideal in terms of temperature, rainfall and the pristine quality and calmness of the sea
  • They would begin with a pilot project and would utilise the relevant Codes of Conduct [17] for responsible aquaculture.
  • One of the technicians from Kerala, India told me:

    In Kerala many families depend on prawn farming, and our plan is not only to have a large farm but also many small ones. Mafia has to develop - there is nothing here now. This is going to bring development on a large scale. The [TANPESCA] factory already provides work for many people and the prawn farm will provide much more. There has been a lot of politics involved in this, and one scheme has already foundered, but a lot of money has been spent on this and we are determined to succeed. I have heard there is a bit of local opposition but that is because people don't understand. Contrary to rumour, we are not going to cut mangroves either. I am an experienced technician. I have worked in many places and know what I am doing. We want it to be eco-friendly.

In August 2002, I attended a company planning meeting in Dar es Salaam which included senior staff from its headquarters in Nairobi, and at which the following points were made by various people present:

  • The company had already spent six months talking to people in Tanzania, but they couldn't deal with each individual's concerns
  • Tanpesca had already made a big difference on Mafia and done a fantastic job – it was spending TZS. 8-10 million per week buying fish and already employed one hundred people
  • There would be jobs for 200 people from this project
  • Every kilo of prawns would give a levy of TZS 200/- to the District Council – a lot of money for them
  • We visited the site in Jimbo and they [local people] seemed quite happy.

Another employee pointed out that the Mafia scheme was part of a larger plan which would involve other areas of the coast with material coming from Rufiji, Mafia and further afield. The company saw these projects as part of development: 'We don't want to use force, we want to help, especially in health and education. We are making desks for schools, we've already sent them footballs.'

A representative of management said:

This area [Mafia] shouldn't be called backward, because there is plenty here. If you look at the economy you see agricultural products [like coconuts and cashew nuts] going down in price, but fish has come up [in price] and provides an income... If we can make this technology work by teaching people [how] to set up artisanal units of 1-2 hectares [18], using the natural resources and the manpower they already have, it could spread development widely.

In short, then, the company used the argument that their project would produce economic development for the island and benefit its inhabitants. In so doing, they used such language as 'unproductive' or 'marginally productive' to describe the existing salt flat at Jimbo, implying that it had little value and hence its use for a prawn farm would render it more productive. As will be seen, this representation of the jangwa environment was certainly not that of the villagers, whose place-based local knowledge saw it instead as a very productive and significant space. Further, in its reports, the company describes catches of fish and other marine products as 'material', in other words as commodities to be processed, packaged and sold [19].

Supporters of the project: the views of government officials

An important factor here is the neoliberal climate in Tanzania, which took root in the 1980s and as a result of which the official policy has increasingly been to welcome outside investment as a way of developing the country. Permission for large projects of this kind is initially sought at the top state level, not at the local level and it is thus very difficult for local officials, even if they disagree with a particular project, to oppose it if it has already been agreed in principle by ministries in Dar es Salaam.

At the District level, most government officials, the majority of whom are posted in from outside of the island, recognise the poverty of Mafia, which is extreme even by Tanzanian standards, and bemoan its lack of 'progress'. Senior District officials are given targets to meet, and it was clear at this time early in the new millennium that some of them saw the proposed prawn farm, along with the linked enhancement of the TANPESCA factory, as a major way of 'bringing development' to the island quickly. They talked, for example, of the jetty construction which had been promised by TANPESCA/Alphakrust and which would mean that large vessels could dock at the District capital Kilindoni, instead of having to anchor at sea [20].

In an article in the newspaper Mtanzania dated June 14, 2002, the then District Commissioner (DC) was reported as saying:

Since the opening of the fish processing factory which happened a few months ago on the island of Mafia, in the Coast Region, the inhabitants have gained between 5 and 8 million shillings a day [21]... [the then DC] said that this factory, which was started by a local company called TANPESCA, would enable the people of this island, who number around 50,000, to pull themselves out of poverty.

The DC said that besides this [expenditure] the company had loaned to local fishermen nets worth T. Sh. 44 million. The DC of Mafia said that the purpose of this loan was to enable the fishermen to fish knowing that they would be able to sell to this factory, which had thus improved the economy of the island (Mtanzania June 14, 2002:5)

Senior government officials in the District capital were thus taken aback by the strength of local opposition, which came both from the villagers and from some of the elected Mafia District Council members. An employee of the Marine Park told me:

Recently, World Environment Day was held in one of the northern villages. Their District Council representative stood up and said 'bad things' [i.e., he criticised the proposed prawn farm plan]. The DC was very angry with him, but also with his own officers for not having warned him that this issue would become so controversial.

Some government officials felt that they should have been better briefed about the pros and cons of prawn farming so that they would be in a position to deal with this situation.

It should not, however, be thought that all government officials, whether at District level or higher up, held the same views. Some of those to whom I spoke privately, especially those who had held their posts since the time of ujamaa[22] when government policies were very different, admitted considerable misgivings. But at the top, there continued to be optimism that this project would produce jobs and revenue for the District.

Opposition from local villagers

Local villagers were mainly opposed to the plan, and they were supported by people from all over the north of the island who used the path through the Jimbo salt-flat to travel on foot or by bicycle to Kirongwe, the central village on the island where they might hope to get a lift in a vehicle to the District capital. The villagers sought further information from MIMP (Mafia Island Marine Park) and then complained to the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), which responded by suspending the project pending further investigations.

I asked one of the District Councillors from the north of the island how much power the village had in a matter like this:

In theory a lot – they are supposed to agree to any plans before they can happen. But in practice it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes there are conflicts – for example if an investor comes along and the central government wants that investment, but local people may not want it. The prawn farm is a good example.

A villager from Mrali village in the north of the island came to see me on June 29, 2002 when I was staying in Kanga village. He wanted both to explain the matter to me and see if I had any further information:

The 'big people' of the District agreed to the sale of the salt-flat (jangwa) of Jimbo, but the local people did not. Whose property is it anyway? It is village property. We have many uses for it: crabs for eating, mangrove poles for building, for example. We need it. And we have not had it [the plan] properly explained to us – they have not been open with us. We have been told that we should not impede development and investment. But maybe we should join the people of Jibondo Island [23] [in resisting]!

It could be a good idea, it could bring work and business. But their way of going about things (utaratibu wao) has been terrible. They have used force. They have only dealt with big people outside, not with the villagers. We have been told nothing. So there hasn't yet been any agreement.

We continued our discussion and the topic of the Marine Park came up. Like many islanders he expressed scepticism about its benefits. I asked if he had read the MIMP's latest management plan (Board of Trustees, Marine Park and Reserves 2000): 'No, of course not, they don't show things like that to us. Or they are written only in English which we can't read.' I showed him my copy of the plan in Swahili and offered to lend it to him. He accepted my offer, but remarked 'How is it that someone like you who doesn't live here, can get a copy while we residents do not?' We both knew the answer to this rhetorical question.

Local people objected to the prawn farm plan because they saw immediately that the benefits they obtained from the salt-flat (access for boats and people, the collection of items like crabs and whelks) would be threatened. Unlike the prawn farm developers, they did not consider this land to be 'unproductive' or 'marginally productive' but important for all the northern villagers for a variety of reasons. Some were also aware of what had happened in the Rufiji Delta and the reasons for the abandoning of the earlier plan, including the destruction of mangrove trees, which increased their concerns.

Opposition from a local NGO

Activists in a local NGO called CHAMAMA (Changia cha Maendeleo Mafia – Society for the Development of Mafia) were against the project both because they feared that it would cause environmental damage and because local people had not been properly consulted. The then Secretary of the NGO, Mikidadi Juma [24], was blamed for some unfavourable reports which appeared in the Dar es Salaam newspapers and he told me: 'I was called in by the District Commissioner and put in the hot seat (kiti moto)'. I asked the Secretary if it wasn't good news that the farm was to be semi-intensive, not intensive, and he replied:

I doubt it. When a man comes to propose marriage, he says he will look after the woman nicely, but after a month you may find that he hits her, cuts her nose, does not buy her clothes. She does not eat or sleep well. It's exactly the same with this. They will say whatever is needed to get what they want.

The views of MIMP

In an interview with an employee of MIMP, I asked about the prawn farm and was told:

The DC tried to steam-roller the project through. He told people at a meeting in Jimbo that permission had already been granted and that anyone who opposed would be locked up… So the villagers who were opposed to the project started asking us (MIMP) for help. Their Councillor came to us for advice. As it happens, a new set of mariculture guidelines had just been issued [by the Tanzanian government], but it was only available in English. However, it seems clear that this project does not conform to these guidelines. The villagers [of Jimbo] wrote to the National Environmental Management Council and the letter was signed by many of them.

TANPESCA took over from Hellas, but much depends on the interests of such companies. The large-scale exploitation [of fishing] through factories can be problematic. So here on Mafia, we are rich yet so poor. Half of the fish sold in Dar es Salaam comes from Mafia, and much is from the MIMP area. People do need a market for their resources. But we need to make sure that people themselves are benefiting and not just the middlemen. We're happy to have a market [which buys fish], but it depends on what kind of market. Hellas only bought octopus but TANPESCA buys prawns, lobsters, everything. This encourages more fishing and more outsiders, so it could get too big. And this matter is very political - there are outside investors involved.

When I went to talk to another MIMP employee, he repeated the story about the failure of the plans for prawn farming in Rufiji, which he said had happened because of local opposition and which he saw as being reincarnated on Mafia:

The Jimbo villagers were told by the leaders that it '[the prawn farm] would be economically viable, and the District Council and the Coast Region [25] earmarked land. However, legally, if they (developers) want more than a certain amount, they have to go to the local people and ask if they agree. At first people did agree, but then they refused for a number of reasons. One was that we had sent them the guidelines and told them that an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) was needed. Another was that they heard that the Rufiji people had refused to have a prawn farm and they thought there must be a good reason. Thirdly, people don't know what compensation they will get [for loss of their land rights] and they want to know. Yet this project got political support because there are different schools of thought on the matter.

The MIMP staff were concerned that, in spite of the fact that the prawn farm would lie well outside the Marine Park limits, it might well impact on the latter. They were also concerned about the potential ecological effects of the project and so told local people that it was essential to have a proper EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment).

The views of the Mafia District Council

As the District Commissioner had told the press, the District Council stood to gain considerable financial benefit from the proposed prawn farm, and it was mainly for this reason that the majority of the Councillors supported it, until they learned of the strength of feeling on the part of the villagers in Jimbo and other neighbouring northern villages. The same Councillor to whom I had spoken earlier explained what had happened:

Originally the village leaders in Jimbo had agreed to the prawn farming plan. But then a meeting of the whole village refused, and a letter was sent to NEMC (National Environmental Management Council), which suspended the project. The DC was furious, but sent the matter to be discussed by the District Land Committee. There one of the District Councillors asked a lot of questions, especially about profit and loss on this scheme, for which he was labelled a troublemaker. You see, there are laws which give local powers in theory [26], but in practice they do not.

Later I discussed the matter with the Councillor who had asked many questions. He told me that he had been put under enormous pressure to agree with his fellow Councillors to allow the scheme to go ahead: 'But I am a believing Muslim and my faith helps me to stick to what I think is right.'

However, some others outside of the District Council said that what had really counted was the buying of votes. Several people told me that they had heard rumours that the Councillors had been offered huge bribes: 'even a house in Dar'. So the public perception was that the matter was largely decided in terms of personal interest, even as the rhetoric was about sustainable development and how it might best be achieved.

The prawn farm project as it was presented to them was undoubtedly attractive to many Mafia Island Councillors because it promised to increase considerably the District's revenue. However, some remained sceptical and initially refused to agree to the plan. Eventually they were persuaded, by whatever means, to agree to it.

The views of the consultants

As a result of the temporary halting of the project by NEMC, it was realised that a proper environmental impact assessment (EIA) should first be carried out. The company appointed a team of consultants [27] who came from Dar es Salaam and spent several days on the island before writing first an Interim 'Scoping' Report and subsequently a full-scale Environmental Impact Assessment (ENATA [28] 2003), as a result of which the Company obtained a 'conditional environmental clearance certificate'.

As it happened in late July 2002, I was staying for a couple of days in the same hotel in the District capital as the consultants, so was able to ask them about the EIA. They told me:

We are going to Jimbo today to hear what the people have to say. We are only expecting about 20 villagers, just the main representatives, not the whole village. We expect it to be tough and that we will have to 'educate' the people. We think there should be a vote.

I pointed out that people were not going to be happy since they had already been told that they would be locked up if they did not agree. The consultants concurred that there had been faults (makosa) in the way this had been handled. I asked if the DC or company representatives were going to the meeting: 'No, that would not be right'.

When the consultants returned in the evening, I asked how the Jimbo meeting had gone and was told:

It was much better than we expected. [Local] People had got upset because site surveys took place without being explained to them and they thought the whole project was already under way. We listened to everything they had to say. Now they understand better, they are happier. But they do need more education.

I tried to point out that they should have been consulted from the start but they replied that this was the fault of the District authorities:

It [lack of consultation] is against the law. The law says that local people must be consulted. So investors send things to the District authorities, and they [in turn] are supposed to be responsible for taking it to the village. This did not happen. Now we are doing an environmental impact assessment.

When I asked the DC for his views on the prawn farm consultants, he replied briefly: 'They came to educate the people (kuelimisha watu) about the benefits - now they [villagers] are happy and they have agreed.' In fact, as will be seen, matters were far from being that simple.

It should not be imagined that all of the consultants shared exactly the same views. On the first of August 2002, the day after the Jimbo meeting on which several of them had reported so favourably, I had breakfast alone with a member of the team. I asked him for his views of what happened the previous day and they turned out to be quite the opposite from what his colleagues had previously reported:

The people did not want anyone from either the District Office or from the TANPESCA company to come to the meeting so they stayed away. They [villagers] did not want their enemies there. There were about 20 people from all the neighbouring villages: Jojo, Mrali, Banja, Kirongwe Jimbo, Kidika, Kanga. They said they did not want this project at all. They do not want to lose the salt-flat because there are so many economic activities going on there. They asked why outsiders like Indians [29] should come here - why can't they do this in India? They said that their previous experience suggests that they will not benefit at all.

We are only desk officers. We see all this stuff, but if our superiors have already agreed it, there is little we can do. The President is very keen on investors - he is telling everyone 'Come here '[to Tanzania], it is virgin territory'. Also there are so many investors, it is difficult to keep track and to follow up. In a situation like this, there are also many conflicts of interest. Really every project like this should have a proper assessment.

I asked what would happen to the EIA and their report. He said that they would write an interim report which would come back for discussions, and that the final report would be a public document, so the villagers would get a copy. 'But they won't be able to read it, will they, since it will be written in English?' 'Yes, that is a problem, we thought of writing an Appendix in Swahili.' I asked him whether he thought that the District would benefit. 'Yes, they will get revenue from such projects - they would be able to do a lot'.

In the subsequent EIA document, it was stated that the purpose of the exercise was to 'communicate to all the various stakeholders who will make decisions about the proposed project, namely project developers and the investors, regulators and planners…' (ENATA 2003: 3) It was explained that Mafia was chosen because of its ideal environmental conditions, the support of the local [District] authorities, and the conducive investment climate in Tanzania.

The EIA Report recognised that various socio-economic, ecological, cultural and environmental issues were raised by this proposal. Potential disadvantages of the scheme which had been brought up by local people [30] were also recognised. These included permanent loss of a source of whelks and bivalves (tondo and chaza) and of some mangroves, the closure of public footpaths and access to the local 'harbour' (bandari) at Panyani, the risk of further deterioration of the road from Kilindoni to Kirongwe as a result of the heavy plant which would need to traverse it in the course of the construction of the farm, the further stretching of social services, including health services, and the social and cultural impact of the arrival of a large number of non-Mafian workers.

The Report argued, however, that the losses to be incurred by local people would be far outweighed by the gains, both locally and nationally, in terms of employment, income, and the possibility of artisanal prawn farming becoming a major source of livelihood in the area. It also included a mitigation plan to lessen some of the negative impacts of the prawn farm, including careful monitoring of the environment at regular intervals, some additional health services to be provided by the investor and outside worker's to be 'sensitised' to local customs.

In short, then, the project was presented by the developers as having many benefits to the island and its inhabitants and the concerns of local people were largely dismissed. However, after complaints by the latter to the National Environmental Council (NEMC) the company brought in 'experts' to carry out an EIA which was used to further support its case. Local concerns were to be addressed in a variety of ways, which included making newcomers aware of local customs and 'educating' local people about the benefits of the prawn farm. Nonetheless, although it would appear from their reports that the team of consultants presented a united front, this may have masked differing opinions, some of which were not publicly voiced because of the power relations involved.

The anthropologist's report to COSTECH

In my final report to COSTECH [31] on my 2002 research (Caplan 2003), I noted that there remained a number of issues which had not been addressed in the EIA interim Report:

  • The proposal that there should be some material benefits to the local community was not spelled out (other than a mention of some footballs and desks already provided)
  • The promise of providing alternative paths was somewhat vague since they were to be provided only 'when and where possible'
  • The promise to observe the weight limits of road bridges did not get over the problem of likely further deterioration of an already bad road and who was to pay for its repair
  • There was no mention of a mechanism by which local people could have their concerns addressed on a regular basis; as first the construction and then operation of the farm proceeded.

Most importantly, the question of the monitoring of the project focussed largely upon the environment, while its impact on local economic and social life received much less mention. The EIA had proposed that there should be an on-going environmental management team consisting of project employees, members of the District Council, NEMC, and representatives of the Departments of Forestry and Fisheries and of the Marine Park, but there was no mention of including local villagers. Furthermore, it was the EIA's suggestion that the economic and cultural impact of the prawn farm should be reviewed only every two years, not annually.

When I left the island in August 2002, it looked as though the project would get through all its hurdles, although a civil servant with whom I travelled on the plane to Dar es Salaam told me that the company had only been granted half of the land they had asked for – 'that was the compromise'.

The following year I was sent a copy of the final report (ENATA 2003), which was a lengthy document of over 100 pages plus annexures. It included lists of people present at meetings and issues raised at such meetings, including the many complaints I have already mentioned. In short, the company could claim, with some justification, that it had consulted thoroughly.

   Two Years Later – 2004 – Controversy Continued Top

When I returned to Mafia Island two years later, official permission had finally been given to the prawn farm which was due to start its operations shortly and the government officials on the island were optimistic about its contribution to development. I had the following conversation with a senior government official:

There was an EIA which was looked at by a committee and all the sectors. They all came round and had a look – they were satisfied. They will continue to monitor things on behalf of the locals, the District and the nation.

Q. What about the locals?

Yes, there are still problems – they don't always understand. You have to go in at ground level (in English). Some agree, some don't. But now that [Tanpesca] factory is helping a lot.

Q. So what will the District get out of it?

All sorts of benefits at all levels. They [the company] will pay taxes, for example.

But those who had been opposed remained unconvinced, for example the District Councillor who had held out for so long:

As far as I know, the plan is going ahead in September. I haven't been to look at it recently, but they have been given the go-ahead. They used a mixture of force (nguvu) and cunning (ujanja). People are still not very happy about it – as you may have heard the Jimbo village Chair's house was set on fire because he had supported the plan. And as you know the District Council was split on the issue.

Villagers in the north remained sceptical or opposed, like a man from Kanga village who remarked:

Lots of people will be displaced – how will they live? It'll be almost the whole of Jimbo village, because of all the land the company will need to build houses etc. for workers. They won't build them on the salt flat will they? They'll want village land, so even if people get paid for their land what will they do? Where will they go?

Another told me that he had heard that the company wanted to use chemicals to stop mangroves growing: 'That's what Jimbo people don't want. Even the [neighbouring] Kanga people feel the same.'

I visited the Tanpesca factory again and was shown around: here is an extract from my subsequent write-up:

We go into the new office building …where I sign the visitors' book and then don boots, mask, hat and overalls… They have done a lot of building since my previous visit – added a storey to the factory building and expanded the old rooms, freezers etc. It is all very high tech, with lots of imported machinery and materials. There are huge generators – the person showing me around says that the new one could provide enough electricity for the whole of Mafia. It is very clear that millions of pounds are being spent in expectation of the prawn farm taking off in a big way. The new cold room can hold 300 tonnes of prawns.

The factory has 150 permanent employees on the books, and also employs casual labour. The cleaning is meticulous. The workers have to shower and change before they go into the factory. They wear clean clothes – overalls, hats, masks, boots. At present the laundry is done manually, but soon they will have machines.

The contrast between the high quality offices, the high tech factory, and the outside world of Kilindoni is striking. They are cut off by gates, fences and guards. Inside is cleanliness and order, with constant electricity from their own generator, water supplies from the borehole, their own wireless system for communication.

When in Dar es Salaam I talked to the leader of the consultancy team, who was very sanguine about the project's progress and the degree of monitoring:

It is planned to start the project full scale on September 1. At present they are preparing the Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan …which will be looked at by the Marine and Botany departments at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), by MIMP, and by the National Environmental Monitoring Council (NEMC), which is also the coordinator... At present the company has Conditional Permission for two years, during which time they are monitored and they have to report to MIMP and NEMC who will check if they are following the guidelines… after which a report (see Njau 2004) goes to NEMC and a management plan for the rest of the project time has to be done.

I asked him whether he thought that the concerns of local people had been allayed. Our discussion had been in Kiswahili up to this point but he switched to English [32] in his reply:

Yes, I think we addressed all the feelings of locals in this respect. NEMC went to Mafia – they were satisfied, and the government was also satisfied.. The District government [Council] is also looking forward because they will get a lot from taxes on property, VAT (value-added tax) and so on. The company will import vehicles and have to pay (the District Council) for licences... And people will get employment.

In short, then, views on the prawn farm and its desirability remained polarised: the company and local government officials remained in favour, while people living in the north of the island continued to be very concerned about what would happen and how their lives and livelihoods would be affected. Those in favour often argued that local people 'did not understand properly' or that 'things had to be explained to them'. There was little awareness of or respect for villagers' local knowledge or much validity given to their concerns. Villagers on the other hand maintained that they had never been consulted properly and that much of the information they needed was not available to them, like the Mrali man who had borrowed my copy of the MIMP plan. They saw the plan as having been agreed in advance by 'the big people' and that their voices, as 'little people' would not be heard.

   A Visit in 2010 Top

My last visit to the island in 2010 was short, and I did not have the opportunity to do much further research on prawn farming [33], being preoccupied with other work (see Caplan 2014, 2016). I did however hear about it from several friends, who reported that there had been two deaths from electrocution at the prawn farm and that people were also dissatisfied with the company both because many of their original fears had been realised and because of the company's inadequate response to their complaints. It was perhaps for this reason that the original plan to expand production through artisanal prawn farming had not gone ahead.

As usual on my visits, I also spent a day with fishermen friends in Kanga whose group I had been observing for many years [34]. 'We have something new to show you today', I was told. We set off from Kanga in their mashua (small dhow) on our usual route; this involved sailing around the neighbouring village of Banja which, at high tide, forms an island. However, we soon came to a large barrier and had to turn back ([Figure 3]). The captain told me 'We can't go around Banja now, because the channel through to Kirongwe has been blocked by the prawn farm'. A photo on the website of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) also graphically shows the extent of the prawn farm: http://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/farmed-shrimp.
Figure 3: Barrier created by the prawn farm on Mafia Island

Click here to view

   Conclusion Top

As Aisher and Damodaran point out in their introduction to this special issue, 'All conservation programmes are necessarily projects in politics and governance'. This case study has been about how a government decision was made to permit a particular kind of project, in spite of the fact that there was considerable concern voiced about the social and environmental consequences of such an appropriation of 'the commons'. The Mafia case reveals how a neoliberal policy, which encompasses particular views of what constitutes 'development', inevitably facilitates particular kinds of outcome in a variety of ways, including inequalities in negotiations, perceived lack of consultation, failure to give information in the appropriate language, a degree of exploitation of legal loopholes and possibly corruption [35].

The plan to farm prawns commercially on Mafia Island raises a number of important issues. The first is the level of consultation with local people which, as has been shown, was deemed by them to be insufficient. This situation was not helped by the relative lack of information available to other local stakeholders [36], including even government officials and District Councillors who were supposed to pass on information from both the higher government authorities and the company to local people. In particular the paucity of information in Swahili was a major problem.

Local people remained concerned about their loss of common rights in the jangwa land which was used for loading and unloading boats, contained an important public footpath, and provided foodstuffs like crabs. Some also foresaw further loss of village land as much would be required for company buildings and workers' houses. Villagers were also worried about the potential impact on the wider environment, both in the short and long term, of cutting mangroves, about pollution from effluents, and use of chemicals. The prawn farm was only scheduled to have a life of a couple of decades, and even if the requirement to return the land to its original form was enforced, it would not be possible to reinstate all the mangroves which would have been cut. Although they were promised much in the form of jobs and help to local institutions like schools, they remained sceptical.

On the other hand, local people from the north of the island were viewed by the company and by government officials as 'ignorant', in need of education and acting against their own self-interest. They were berated for their opposition to what was clearly seen as a benefit leading to 'development'. Yet while Mafia villagers may be regarded by some as backward and ignorant, they were well aware that their neighbours in the Rufiji had seen off a large prawn farming project, and that there had been good reasons for their resistance. But virtually all the Mafia villagers to whom I spoke were convinced that the decision had already been made at the top and that their voices would count for very little. In short, they were well aware of the realities of the imbalance of power in such situations – power was held by big people (companies, government officials), not by little people like themselves.

Aspects of this case study could be replicated many times over in various parts of the world, including for example the question of 'land grabbing' in many parts of Africa [37]. A commercial scheme like prawn farming by a multinational company is presented as bringing development and benefits to local people. Claims are made that it can be done in an ecologically friendly way and this is backed up by local scientific experts drawn from universities. Government officials are under pressure from their superiors, who have already made the decisions in principle on the basis of current government policy – in this case, of neoliberalism [38]. Local people recognise that there may be a loss of their resources, but although they may have the right to be consulted, such consultations may change little. Nonetheless, people may well resist, as did the Rufiji villagers, and use whatever means are open to them.

A place-based version of conservation in a case like this one allows for a high degree of specificity and depth of analysis. As the District Councillor noted, in the end the prawn farm got permission through a mixture of power (nguvu) and cunning (ujanja). The word nguvu in Swahili encompasses many meanings: strength, force, authority, importance, while ujanja may be glossed as clever (in a cunning way), craftiness, deceit, fraud, slyness. Power comes from the company's ability to use existing government policies to their advantage, in which they are supported by local officials keen to comply for their own reasons. But it also uses ujanja to circumvent the rights of citizens through utilisation of vehicles like Environment Impact Assessments, written by experts, to argue that their project is environmentally friendly. Ujanja makes use of many discourses including environmentalism and development; it also makes strategic use of gifts or the promise of gifts. The latter range from desks and footballs for local schools to the houses in Dar es Salaam rumoured to have persuaded some Councillors to vote for the project, or the promise of jobs and helping local people to set up their own artisanal prawn farms. Such gifts may be tokenistic at best, or they may never be delivered. Thus it is clear that in this case, as in others, there is a gap between theory, in the form of laws which give the villagers the right to be consulted, and practice, in which local views are trumped by other considerations.

   Acknowledgements Top

I am grateful to the following people for reading drafts and offering useful comments: Lionel Caplan, Janet Bujra, Pauline von Hellerman, Ahmad Kipacha, Alex Aisher, Jason Rubens the two anonymous reviewers. Also to Kjell Havenik for useful documents on the Rufiji prawn farm proposal.

   Notes Top

  1. A preliminary version of this paper was given at the University of Cape Town in 2004 and the topic of prawn farming is also discussed in my report to COSTECH 2003.
  2. At her request, I have not cited any part of this thesis, which is available on https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/26379/Beymer-Farris_Betsy.pdf?sequence=1
  3. All interviews with Tanzanians were carried out in Kiswahili, unless otherwise stated.
  4. It should be noted that anthropological ethics demand that informants or participants have their anonymity respected: the current ASA Code of Ethics states that 'informants and other research participants should have the right to remain anonymous and to have their rights to privacy and confidentiality respected' (see ASA Ethical Guidelines p. 4, section 5 on http://www.theasa.org/ethics/Ethical_guidelines.pdf) and hence most of the people quoted in this paper are not identified by name.
  5. There is some controversy about whether Muslims are permitted to eat crustaceans such as lobsters or prawns/shrimp. A recent perusal of web sites which offer advice to practising Muslims suggests that three of the four schools of law allow consumption of any creature from the sea, but the Hanafi school categorises shrimp and prawn as insects, which are haram (unlawful). See for example https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080619051807AAlLUc2, 020714.
  6. I never heard any discussion on Mafia about this issue, but, even though the majority of residents follow the Shafei school of law (which permits such consumption), they do not eat crustaceans. In fact, on several occasions in the 1960s, I was given lobster caught inadvertently by local fishermen because they had no use for it.
  7. As the work of Walley (2004) and Levine (2015) demonstrates, the setting up of MIMP was not a panacea for all of these problems.
  8. WWF: the Worldwide Fund for Nature Conservation, previously known as the World Wildlife Fund.
  9. Norwegian state development agency – as a nation with a large fishing industry of its own, Norway has made significant contributions to development projects in Tanzania which involve fishing.
  10. TANPESCA is part of the Alpha group of companies.
  11. See http://www.alphaafrica.com/Home-Page/About-Alpha-Group/Our-Companies/Products-Division/Tanzania/Tanpesca-Ltd.
  12. The Alpha group is a southern-owned transnational company, just as is the CP Group based in Thailand but also operating in Vietnam and India which is also heavily engaged in prawn farming (Rajak 2003. Appendix 1. Pp. 48).
  13. These terms are used interchangeably in popular parlance, although technically prawns are larger than shrimps. Although there are many types, it is usually the large Tiger Prawn (penaeus monodon) which is preferred for consumption in the West and in South-east Asia.
  14. See global map on http://www.theglobaleducationproject.org/earth/fisheries-and-aquaculture.php.
  15. See Dent, Felix n.d. available on http://fenacam.com.br/pdf/fenacam2014/carcinicultura/3-uma-visao-global-da-producao,-demanda-e-comercializacao-do-camarao-_-felix-dent.pdf. Accessed 7 July 2016.
  16. One of these was the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) which funded a workshop organised by the Journalist Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET). See JET 1997.
  17. There is a large body of literature on the Rufiji project. See Mangrove Action Project 1997; Shrimp Sentinel Online 1998; World Rainforest Movement Bulletins 1998, 2001; Lissu 1999; Ringia and Porter 1999; LEAT 2002; Stedman-Edwards n.d., Kibassa 2002; www.ippmedia.com 2003.
  18. The owner of the company, Reginald John Nolan, left Tanzania for Ireland. A report on www.ippmedia.com of June 11, 2003 stated : 'Nolan is on the run from justice... after defaulting on credit extended to his company known as African Fishing Company Ltd.'
  19. Both were owned by the multinational Alpha Group.
  20. FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries includes a section on aquaculture. See www.fao.org/fi/agreem/condecond/ficond.asp. Accessed on April 7, 2003.
  21. In Asia, much of the prawn farming is done by small artisanal units linked to much bigger companies. The latter prefer such an arrangement because in that way, production risks are not borne by the company. See Rajak 2003: 47.
  22. It is perhaps not surprising then to find that eyestalk ablation of female prawns is practiced in almost all commercial prawn farming in order to stimulate the development of mature ovaries and spawning. See for example www.aquaculture.ugent.be/Education/coursematerial/online%20courses/shrimp-cd/product/eyestalk.htmhttp://www.aquaculture.ugent.be/Education/coursematerial/online%20courses/shrimp-cd/product/eyestalk.htm. Accessed on July 7, 2016.
  23. The jetty was completed in 2013 and officially opened by the President of Tanzania on October 3. See http://issamichuzi.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/jk-afungua-gati-la-mafia-leo.html. Also on http://lukemusicfactory.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/rais-kikwete-afungua-gati-la-mafia.html. Accessed 8 July 2016. The President also officially opened the new enlarged airport on the island. See http://eddymoblaze.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/uwanja-wa-ndege-wa-mafia-wazinduliwa-na.html. Accessed on July 8, 2016.
  24. It will be noted that a company representative quoted this as a weekly, not daily figure in the meeting I attended (see previous page).
  25. Ujamaa – the term coined by President Nyerere for 'African socialism', which was the dominant policy in Tanzania from the time of independence until the 1980s when Nyerere left office.
  26. The fishermen on Jibondo Island off the south of Mafia had several run-ins with the Marine Park officials and even the police as a result of some of them being accused of fishing in areas which were off-limits under MIMP rules. This situation is also discussed by Bryceson et al. 2006 pp. 47-8.
  27. For the biography of the late Mikidadi Juma which includes his views on the proposed prawn farm see Caplan 2014 and Caplan 2016.
  28. Tanzania is divided into a number of administrative Regions. Mafia District lies in the Coast Region.
  29. He is referring to the Village Land Act 1999. See Wily 2003.
  30. The consultants included Tanzanian academics and senior government officials. In theory, such consultants are independent, but they are paid for by the company.
  31. ENATA is the Environmental Association of Tanzania which was formally registered as a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) on 17th August 1992. See http://enataltd.co.tz/.
  32. The owners of the companies were Kenyan Asians but many of the senior employees were from the Indian sub-continent.
  33. Meetings were held with local residents, with District Officials, District Councillors, and MIMP staff. The Report acknowledges frankly that the developer's proposals were well-received by senior government officials at the District level, had mixed responses at the District Council level, and met with scepticism at the village level (ENATA 2003: 36).
  34. COSTECH is the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology – the government body which grants research visas to foreign nationals like myself and to which final reports on the research are made.
  35. Educated Tanzanians, who are fluent in English, often switch between that language and Kiswahili in conversations between themselves. In this particular case, I consider that he preferred to use English in the statement which follows because that is the lingua franca of 'development'; it is also the language of power.
  36. As already mentioned, further work on the prawn farm was carried out by an American geographer with fieldwork in 2007-2008. See Beymer-Farris 2011 and Beymer-Farris et al. 2012.
  37. This fishing group appears in the film 'Life on Mafia Island, Tanzania' Caplan, Pat and Carrie Clanton 2003.
  38. Benjaminsen and Bryceson (2012) even suggest that wildlife and marine conservation in Tanzania may themselves lead to forms of 'green' or blue grabbing'.
  39. This situation is not, of course, confined to Mafia. See Lissu 1999 and Ringia and Porter 1999 for critiques of Tanzania more generally.
  40. The journal Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) produced a special edition on this topic in 2011, Vol. 39, no.128.
  41. Neoliberalism may be viewed as a radical form of laissez-faire capitalism associated particularly with the economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, and the policies introduced by such leaders as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. See for example Saad Filho and Johnston 2004, Harvey 2005.


   References Top

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


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