Declining Fish Species

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Declining fish species: A case of Lake Victoria

Declining fish species in Lake Victoria, the largest fresh water lake in Africa has been widely recorded. This paper examines the factors that have led to the decline of fish species in Lake Victoria. It looks at the introduction of the Nile Perch, pollution, a lack of harmonised fishing laws among East African states, the role of the fishing communities, corruption, population growth, illegal fishing and commercialisation of fishing as factors that have led to the decline in fish species in Lake Victoria. The information in this paper is from published literature.

Keywords: Lake Victoria, Nile Perch, Pollution, corruption, pollution growth

Lake Victoria is the largest
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Introduction of the Nile Perch
No specific date has been recorded for when the Nile perch, a large fish that reach over 2 meters long, was introduced into Lake Victoria. According to Pringle, (2004), the fish was introduced into the lake from Lakes Albert and Turkana in the 1950s and 1960s by the Uganda Game and Fisheries Department as part of an effort to improve sport fishing on the one hand and to compensate for depleting commercial fisheries on the other.
Kariuki (2012) states that the introduction of Nile perch in Lake Victoria in the 1950’s stimulated the development of the fisheries sector, which expanded rapidly throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda poured large sums of money into the now lucrative industry that also creating employment opportunities both indirectly and directly for the communities around the lake. The demand for Nile perch saw catches increase from 4439 tons in 1980 to 338,115 tons in 1990
However, Balirwa (2003), found out that the decline in fish species in Lake Victoria coincided with the dramatic increase in the stock of the Nile Perch in the 1980s. (Odada et al., 2006) states that the predatory nature of the Nile perch was responsible for the disappearance of about 50% of the indigenous species as the different species battled for space and food in the
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The situation has led to increased exploitation (Njiru, Nzungi, Getabu, Wakwabi, Othina, Jembe and Wekesa, 2007). In the year 2000, a survey by the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation showed the extent at which fishing pressure was being exerted on the lake. A total of 1,493 landing sites were reported around Lake Victoria. 129,328 fishermen using 42,548 fishing crafts including variety of fishing gears such as beach seines, scoop nets, cast nets and mosquito nets were reported (Ogello et al, 2013)

Expansions of towns around the lake and population boom through rural to urban migrations also created enormous demand for Lake Victoria fisheries leading to declines of fish supply (Balirwa, 1998).
Kariuki (2012) in his research states that the Nile Perch besides any other species is the most exploited species and its sustainability hangs in balance.
Lake Victoria supports the most productive freshwater fishery in the world with an annual fish yields exceeding 300,000 tons, worth US$600 million annually (Kayombo and

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