Managing Nile perch using slot size: is it possible?
The fishery of Lake Victoria became a major commercial fishery with the introduction of Nile perch in 1950s and 1960s. Biological and population characteristics point to a fishery under intense fishing pressure attributed to increased capacity and use of illegal fishing gears. Studies conducted between 1998 to 2000 suggested capture of fish between slot size of 50 to 85 cm TL to sustain the fishery. Samples from Kenya and Uganda factories in 2008 showed that 50% and 71% of individuals processed were below the slot size respectively. This study revealed that fish below and above the slot has continued being caught and processed. This confirms that the slot size is hardly adhered to by both the fishers and the processors. The paper explores why the slot size has not been a successful tool in management of Nile perch and suggests strategies to sustain the fishery.
Key words: Lake Victoria, Nile perch, exploitation, management, slot size.*Paper presented to the Lake Victoria Stakeholder’s Conference, Kampala, 27-30 October 2008