The Nile Perch: Friend or Foe for Lake Victoria
An alien species is a species introduced outside its normal distribution. It is clear that alien species can be both beneficial, for example the honey bee, pollinating many of the countries important crops and fruit. However it is more frequently seen that alien species have a negative effect on the habitat. The alien species under discussion in this essay is the Nile Perch. The Nile Perch is seen throughout much of the Afrotropic ecozone, as well as being native to the Nile, Senegal, Congo, Volta, Niger, Lake Turkana, and Lake Chad. The Nile Perch was introduced manually into Lake Victoria in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Lake Victoria covers a total of 69,000 square kilometres, shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The Lake contains one of the most varied and endangered ecosystems. The Nile perch was initially introduced into Lake Victoria for commercial fishing purposes, where it then reproduced rapidly and spread throughout several aquatic environments in Africa. This essay deals with both the positive and negative effects of the introduction of the Nile Perch and debates the final question was it ultimately beneficial or damaging to the ecosystem as a whole.
Why the Nile Perch was added to Lake Victoria:
Lake Victoria contains an ecosystem of high interest to many ecologists over the world with many studying the cichlids (fish species found within the lake) for their unique evolutionary capabilities.