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Uganda's Declining Fish Stocks Spell Disaster

UGANDA - Declining fish stocks seem set to cause havoc in Uganda. It is estimated that there are up to 1.5 million people whose livelihoods depend upon what may soon become a none-existent industry.

According to the Daily Monitor, the fish are the number two export-earning commodity for Uganda after coffee. Recent reports have projected fish stocks to drop in value to a mere $80 million this year from its peak of $148 million in 2005.

The stunning revelation points to fishing pressure, burgeoning demand for fish, locally and internationally and over exploitation of the lakes, as the cause of scarcity of fish, widely consumed.

Fish have been on the decline and there is fear the trend may continue. Fish export earnings for 2007 dropped by $19.4 million to $117.3 million from the previous year, reports the Daily Monitor.

Increasing costs of production, the strong shilling and high freight charges have further dealt a blow to the sector leading to the closure of five fish exporting firms.