Livelihood Support Option for the Fisherfolk in Lake-Victoria basin

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Lake Victoria is an international waterbody that offers the riparian communities a large number of extremely important environmental services. Over the past three decades or so, the lake has come under increasing and considerable pressure from a variety of interlinked human activities such as overfishing, species introductions, industrial pollution, eutrophication, and sedimentation. In this paper we examine the root causes for overfishing and pollution in Lake Victoria and give possible policy options that can help remediate or mitigate the environmental degradation.

Lake Victoria contribute significantly to poverty reduction and food security. They are a source of dietary proteins and water, it provide revenue through fish harvest, export and tourism, and are used as avenues for transport. The lake also provide water for irrigation, agriculture and hydropower projects.

During this century,African lakes have experienced declines in fish catches, reduction in fish species diversityand deterioration in water quality. Much effort has already been put in mitigating these threats but there is still need to strengthen these efforts The Lake basin is estimated to have a population of 30 m people which isgrowing at > 3% per annum. Lake Victoria had a native fishery of tilapiine species which collapsed. Lake Victoria supports the most productive freshwater fishery in the world with annual fish yields in excess of 500,000 tons worth USD 600 million annually.

The lake’s fisheries are dominated by two introduced species Nile perch Lates niloticus and Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus and one native cyprinid Rastrineobola argentea. Nile perch is the basis of a lucrative export industry supporting about 30 fish processing factories in the three countries.

Other economic activities in the lake basin include agriculture, floriculture, hydropower generation and transport. Three major cities (Kampala, Kisumu and Mwanza).