Through a consulting firm in the UK, I was teamed with a Zambian Socio Economist, Alphart Lungu, and a fisheries expert in the shape of Professor Ian Cowx of Hull University in the UK.
Like many jobs, my main role was to assimilate the existing geographical data and maps of the area, and provide a bunch of options on where the boundary of the fisheries management area or FMA was to be, and then help map the various jurisdictions (districts, chiefdoms, reserved lands) and any other potentially important factors such as industrial sites, commercial farming and the like to assist the fisheries management plan.
My first week was spent in central Lusaka. We stayed at the Protea Hotel on Cairo Road, the main strip of the city centre on a road optimistically named to be a British highway from Cape Town to Cairo…. but in reality ended up just being a mile or two long before heading off on rather ropy roads. We spent that first week visiting a bunch of government departments to obtain the data, and heading down to the leafy village of Chilanga about 20km south of the city where the Department of Fisheries had its headquarters. I had some frustrating meetings and some good ones there; for a price I got topographical maps from the Lands and Surveys Department, but it took a lot of bureaucracy to obtain the good data from the Zambian Wildlife Authority or ZAWA who look after the reserved land, despite them being neighbours of the Fisheries Department in Chilanga and were once part of the same unit!
I had most of my data at the end of the first week, and Ian and Alphart were planning to head off into the field to talk to communities and fishing associations. I could have stayed in Lusaka and made my maps, but I was missing some important information about where fish nurseries existed and Ian wanted me along to show suggestions of where the FMA should exist to communities and see what they thought. On the Saturday morning we were supposed to leave, Alphart and I were down at a local printers getting copies of my draft maps printed out; with a junior printer who had great difficulty using the equipment in her shop. We eventually got a reasonable number printed off – not all the ones I had wanted but we had run out of time; and we picked Ian up from the hotel and headed south out of Lusaka.