Uganda more than any country is much interested in information on fisheries
The minister of state for fisheries, Christopher Kibanzanga, has called for more research in fisheries to boost fish production in Uganda.
Currently, Uganda produces 550,000 tons of fish annually, but says this can be increased further with research.
Kibazanga said this during 44th International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centres (IAMSLIC) conference that opened on Monday in Entebbe.
He challenged the researchers to always provide timely information to address various challenges facing society.
“Our world is dominated by young people who have lost the culture of reading and those who accept anything they call information. Therefore Scientists and researchers ought to be very fast in addressing issues of correct, timely and relevant information to address this challenge” Kibanzanga said.
He revealed that Uganda more than any country is much interested in information on fisheries which should be provided by scientist. Kibanzanga noted that the Fisheries sector can employ 4,000,000 people if more developed.
“We have the largest fresh water body (Victoria) in the world, the second longest river in the world, and more than 66 lakes in the country, which are huge potentials for fish production” Kibanzanga said.
He urged scientists from the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and specifically the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI) to develop methods
of farming the Nile Perch out of the capture waters and makes it an aquaculture commodity so that more farmers can farm it because it has a good market share globally.
This will also reduce the pressure on the open water some of which are trans-boundary like Lake Victoria and River Nile.
The minister also asked scientists to share information about the environment to help Ugandans take care of the environment as well.
Ambrose Agona the Director General of NARO informed delegates at the Conference that NARO have been implementing a research and development agenda to generate and disseminate technological solutions that address issues of food and nutritional security.
He revealed that the last ten 10 years alone, NARO has generated and disseminated over 800 technologies whereby over 500 were in crops, 80 in livestock, 65 in fisheries and aquaculture, 31 in forestry, 11 in agro-machinery, 20 in climate change and sustainable land management, and 35 in value addition aspects.
“A quick example and perhaps specific to fisheries is the fast-growing Nile tilapia fish species that NARO has developed is a strain of Nile tilapia that grows at a rate of 2.47 grams per day way better for food security compared to 0.52 g/day for the earlier strain.” Agona said.
Currently the seed (fry) of this fish type has been distributed to 10 hatchery operators for multiplication, in 8 districts, to supply over 7,000 fish farmers in the country.
In her Keynote address titled the management and use of Information in a Changing Environment, Professor Maria G.N Musoke urged Library and Information managers to be more vigilant in understanding the needs of information users in order to serve them better.
“Quality access to information will make Librarians more relevant to the users. We have to be more relevant to the institutions we serve”. She added that “Communities require information because their actions affect the rivers, lakes and seas that Scientists are protecting”.
IAMSLIC convenes more than 385 aquatic and marine information centres worldwide whose managers meet annually to plan and review programs. This was started in 1975.
NARO through NaFIRRI Information and Data Centre is a member of IAMSLIC and the host for the 44th Conference in Uganda under the theme “Transforming the Global Information landscape”.
The conference was attended by delegates from Uganda, Malawi, Philippines, USA, Germany, Morocco, Mauritania, Benin, Namibia,
NaFIRRI was chosen to host the 44th conference, which marks the second time it is hosted on the African continent.
The first on the continent was hosted by Marine Sciences in Zanzibar-Tanzania in 2011. Host centres benefit by sharing information on latest Libraries and other aquatic and marine information.