Naturalizing Trout? Fish Farming in German Southwest Africa


  • Martin Kalb Bridgewater College, USA


Efforts to naturalize trout in German Southwest Africa capture German ambitions within its first and only settler colony. Despite numerous setbacks given an arid landscape, high temperatures, and difficult logistics, German colonialists tried to introduce fish farming. Artificial pools and ponds, originally constructed to sustain cattle farming and agriculture, gave some the idea to introduce carp, tench, and eventually trout. Only over time, and after several setbacks, did German colonialists rethink their ambitions, ultimately acknowledging the environmental circumstances were not suitable for the naturalization of these German fish.

Author Biography

Martin Kalb, Bridgewater College, USA

Martin Kalb is Assistant Professor of History at Bridgewater College, a small liberal arts college in Virginia. He received his M.A. at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (2007) and his Ph.D. at Northern Arizona University (2011). His research focuses on Germany and its empires, with an emphasis on youth cultures and environmental history. He has published articles on these topics, and a monograph titled Coming of Age: Constructing and Controlling Youth in Munich, 1942–1973 (Berghahn, 2016). He is currently completing research around environmental dynamics in German Southwest Africa.