Climate change vulnerability and adaptation responses of fish dependent communities in the Albertine and Victoria Drainage Basins in Uganda
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Changing climate and weather patterns will have severe negative impacts on all sectors of the economy including fisheries. Appropriate knowledge and adaptation responses are therefore needed unfortunately in Uganda, knowledge on climate change adaptation for communities dependent on capture fisheries is very limited. This study assessed the climate change vulnerability and adaptation responses of fish dependent communities in the Albertine (Lakes Albert, George, Edward) and Victoria (Lake Victoria) drainage basins in Uganda. Fish dependent communities in the Albertine drainage basin were found to be more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change compared to their counter parts in the Victoria drainage basin. Their vulnerability was attributed to low level of education (50% of the respondents in the Albertine never went beyond primary school), lack of fixed assets (81% had no fixed assets) and large household sizes (the average household size was 7 members per household).The main hazards that hit the fishing villages were drought, floods and strong winds, leading to decrease in the quantity of fish catch, loss of livelihood assets (fishing nets, lamps, boats) and loss of fishing days, among others. While majority of the respondents in the Victoria drainage basin preferred to abandon fishing for other non fish related jobs and doing nothing, majority of respondents in the Albertine drainage basin preferred borrowing money from colleagues and relatives and salt mining, for the case of those living near the salty Lake Katwe. Different socioeconomic factors influenced the choice of adaptation responses at the household level. Respondents who were less educated, large households, respondents who had no alternative sources of income, those who had no assets, and those who lived far away from social services were considered more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and vice versa. Key words: Climate Change, Vulnerability, Adaptation Responses, Fish dependent communities, Uganda.