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Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences

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The past, present and projected scenarios in the Lake Albert and Albert Nile fisheries: Implications for sustainable management

D Mbabazi, A Taabu-Munyaho, LI Muhoozi, H Nakiyende, S Bassa, E Muhunuza, E Muhumuza, R Amiina, JS Balirwa

Abstract


Lake Albert is one of the largest lakes in Uganda that still supports a multi-species fishery which as a result of variable adult sizes of the species, causes management challenges especially in relation to gear mesh size enforcement. Prior to the 1980s, commercial species were 17 largesized fishes especially Githarinus, Citharinus, Distichodus, niloticus and Lates spp that were confined to inshore habitats of the lake and were thus rapidly over fished. Frame and catch assessment surveys conducted in this study revealed a >80% dominance of small size fish species (Neobola_bredoi and Brycinus nurse) and a 40 60% decrease in the contribution of the large commercial species. Sustainability of small size fish species is uncertain due to seasonal fluctuations and low beach value. At about 150,000 tons of fish recorded from Lake Albert and Albert Nile, the beach value was estimated at 55.3 million USD. Despite the noted decline in catches of the large sized fishes their contribution was more than 50% of total beach value. Therefore, management measures should couple value addition for the small sized species and maintain effort regulation targeting recovery of the large previously commercial species

Key words: CPUE, fishing effort, multi-species fishery, pelagic species




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