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Nile Perch stocks dwindle

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th January 2007 03:00 AM

UGANDA’S fish exports are threatened by indiscriminate fishing of Nile Perch from Lake Victoria. The fish stock has declined to less than 50% in 2005 from 90% in the 1980s.

UGANDA’S fish exports are threatened by indiscriminate fishing of Nile Perch from Lake Victoria. The fish stock has declined to less than 50% in 2005 from 90% in the 1980s.

By Macrines Nyapendi

UGANDA’S fish exports are threatened by indiscriminate fishing of Nile Perch from Lake Victoria.

According to research by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, the decline of Nile Perch stocks is a threat to the fishing industry.

The commissioner for fisheries, Dick Nyeko, said Nile Perch’s population in Lake Victoria had declined to less than 50% in 2005 from 90% in the 1980s.

Lake Victoria, with an area of 68,800 square kilometres is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest in the world. The lake is shared amongst the three East African countries. Uganda owns 43%, Tanzania 51% and Kenya 6%.

The report says the fall in stocks has pushed up prices. It, however, noted that the decline in Nile Perch stocks had resulted into the re-emergence of indigenous species that had become extinct after the introduction of Nile Perch.

Nile Perch was introduced into Lake Victoria in the 1950s from the River Nile and was named Victoria Perch. The purpose was to control the 350 native species. Unfortunately, the predator nearly wiped out all the other species.

“These species have resurfaced due to a decline in the Nile Perch’s population. A kilogramme costs sh4,000 at the landing sites, while a whole Nile Perch costs $4 (sh7,120) per kilogramme,” Nyeko said.
He said the fisheries department had contained indiscriminate fishing by putting patrol boats all over the lake.

The low catches were also attributed to Lake Victoria’s dropping water levels.
In 2000, there were 650,000 Nile Perch in the lake, but the number dropped to about 540,000 in a year, of which 95% was below the recommended 50cm catch size.

Uganda earned over $143m (sh254.5b) from 28,000 metric tonnes of fish and fisheries products in 2005.

Nile Perch stocks dwindle

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