WorldFish initiative to boost sustainable aquaculture in Lake Victoria
The initiative will range from enhanced capacity in species identification, breeding and administration of the regulatory framework to a system for assessing and certifying private hatcheries.
WorldFish strengthened its research partnership with the Lake Victoria Fishing Organization (LVFO) to guide the development of sustainable aquaculture in East Africa. The new agreement marks a step towards competitive, gender-equitable and sustainable commercial aquaculture and fisheries management in the Lake Victoria Basin. The research will focus on improving sustainability and bio-security of aquaculture production systems, management of aquatic genetic resources and access to commercial networks for aquaculture related businesses, as well as supporting skills development in local workers for aquaculture-related businesses.
Bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the world’s second-largest freshwater lake directly supports food, nutrition and economic security for around two million people. Small fish species, a major part of fish caught from the lake, are also highly significant for nutrition throughout the region. However, over the last decade, commercial fish stocks have plummeted due to overfishing, invasive species, pollution and changing climatic conditions, among other factors. The catch and biomass of commercial species in the lake, in particular Nile perch and Nile tilapia, have declined, contributing to reductions in per capita fish consumption in the region. In response, the East African Community (EAC) is making efforts to improve the management of aquatic resources and promote sustainable aquaculture, to create new jobs and boost livelihoods.
Research aimed at boosting aquatic food availability through the development of environmentally-friendly and equitable aquaculture models will be undertaken through the EU-funded EAC project for promoting aquaculture in the Lake Victoria Basin (TRUE-FISH Project). WorldFish will technically assist the LVFO, a specialized institution of the EAC, in strengthening aquatic animal health conditions, fish breeding and the zoning of Lake Victoria for the protection of biodiversity. The research generated will be used to advise on the adoption and implementation of regional and national policies, regulations and associated implementation guidelines regarding the management of aquaculture development and biodiversity and genetics. The efforts will also see the development, organization and delivery of context-specific aquaculture production and business training for local workers, especially women and youth.
“Through WorldFish’s research and capacity development, the aquaculture sub-sector in the EAC will benefit especially on building capacity to ensure the effective utilization of quality fish genetics for increased productivity and biodiversity protection. The capacity-building initiative will range from enhanced capacity in species identification, breeding and administration of the regulatory framework to a system for assessing and certifying private hatcheries,” said Shigalla Mahongo, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) executive secretary.