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Lake Victoria Fish Demise Calls for Intervention

UGANDA - The dwindling Nile Perch stocks in Lake Victoria, a major foreign earner in recent years, is a source of worry among fishermen and international traders in Uganda.

Executive Secretary of Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO) Mr Dick Nyeko told Ephraim Kasozi of the Daily Monitor that the reduction of Nile Perch was due to illegal fishing practices like that of immature fish.

Uganda has healthy fisheries industry with stocks of Dagaa (mukene). It has increased stocks of haplochromise (Nkejje). It also has a localised stable fishing of tilapia.

However, the Nile perch stocks have shown declining trends since 1999 to 2008 where stocks have declined from 1.9 million tonnes to 320,000 tonnes. The Nile Perch fishery needs urgent intervention by the government because the stocks are below sustainable yields as established by scientific reference points.

Mr Dick Nyeko told the news agency that at this point in time, the impacts are not yet seen because more boats and fishermen are fishing and taking out Nile perch but it would reach a point where the stocks will collapse and it would be uneconomical to fish. There could be loss livelihood too, along the value chain. That means an upstream (catching/harvesting sector) through dealers, additional processors, industrial processors and exporters.