How Kenya, UG and TZ can increase Lake Victoria’s productivity

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Lake Victoria’s fisheries support more than 3 million livelihoods and bring in US$500 million in revenues annually.

Nile Perch is the main fish caught in Lake Victoria. Fish maw - the air sack that aids the Nile Perch in floating and a Chinese delicacy - has been a major export source. Statistics from the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture indicate an increase in fish maw exports earning from US$27m in 2015, to US$31m in 2016, US$48m in 2017 and US$52m in 2018. These earnings exclude the earnings from Nile Perch and its eggs.

However, the lake has been invaded by water hyacinth - the floating, green mats of waxy leaves with purple blossoms - depriving the waters below of oxygen which makes it hard for aquatic life to survive.

That, plus overfishing which occurs when fishermen use undersized nets that catch fish before they reach maturity, rapid population growth, and pollution by wastewater, agro-pesticides and fertilisers threaten the future of fishing in Lake Victoria.

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