Status of the Major Commercial Fish Stocks and Proposed Species-specific Management Plans for Lake Victoria
The fishery of Lake Victoria is dominated by four species, the introduced Nile perch (Lates niloticus) and Nile tilapia, (Oreochromis niloticus), the native dagaa, (Rastrineobola argentea) and haplochromines. Recently, there has been a concern about the state of these fish stocks and their current status is reviewed by examining trends in biomass, catch, catch per unit efforts and biological indicators. The Cadima model was used to predict the MSY of Nile perch and dagaa and the Nile perch was shown to be under intense fishing pressure. The biomass has considerably reduced with catches being higher than the predicted MSY. In contrast, the dagaa fishery was well below the predicted MSY and there is still scope for expansion. The fishery for Nile tilapia is also under pressure as a result of increased fishing effort and illegality, but little is known about the haplochromines. The current status of the fisheries threatens the benefits which the lake has been providing for decades and it is recommended that management options outlined in this paper are implemented to avoid the collapse of the fisheries.
Keywords: Lake Victoria, biomass, Nile perch, Rastrineobola, recovery plan, species specific management plan
*Paper presented to the Lake Victoria Stakeholder’s Conference, Kampala, 27-30 October 2008