International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Working in Harmony with Nature: Physical and Mental Cultural Ecology as Motivators of inland Fishers in Bambalang, North West Cameroon
Fomba Emmanuel Mbebeb, Forgako Elizabeth Gakuna, Kinge Marinoel Ngwenyi

Emerging debates on work and nature interface have recognized cultural ecology as an adaptive mechanism capable of energizing work behaviors, and driving a sustainable future for fisheries. Cultural ecology has been positioned as a utilitarian facility capable of ensuring adaptability to occupational demands while preserving aquatic and marine resources. The paper submits that inland fishers integrate cultural patterning into mainstream fishery operations, which simultaneously acting as catalyst to eco-sensitive work behaviour. Despite the economic benefits, the paper equally laments that certain exploitative practices are fraught with predatory attitudes and behavior due to non-reverence of nature. Building on existing models of man-ecology interface, the study investigated whether material and mental cultural ecology has any relationship with occupational drives of inland fishers. Participants constituted 130 fishers (35.7% females, 64.3% males) in Bamabalang, North West Cameroon, and a structured instrument was used to collect information. Descriptive statistics and regression were used for data analysis. According to results, physical ecology (β = 0.34.4, t=41.142, P< 0.01) and mental ecology (β = 0.337, t=4.045, P< 0.01) were reported as determinants of occupational motivation of fishers. Results suggest that though cultural technologies are seemingly invisible in the operations of fishers, they should be captured and integrated into conventional adaptive modes to ensure productivity and marine ecosystem. Discussion is centered on current participatory fishery management system having homegrown eco-values, and challenges in bridging between economic and ecological interest. While advocating sustainability benefits of ecosystem-based fisheries management, the paper suggests further research areas on fatalistic beliefs and relationships with risk taking behaviour, safety and health of inland fishers.

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