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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Say Goodbye to Nile Perch in Lake Victoria

Nile Perch in Lake Victoria seem to be on the way out. Say goodbye whilst you can:

...the FAO Globefish report says exports of fish fillets from Tanzania's side of Lake Victoria are reported to be at risk as a result of the sharp decline in fish stocks, which fell by 7,000 tonnes between 2004 and 2005.


The strange thing is that Nile Perch were introduced to Lake Victoria in the 1950s. That introduction meant the end for many native species swimming around the lake:

"Both the fisheries and the lake are sick and need recovery. The lake has suffered a serious depletion of many other species of fish leaving only the Nile Perch (emputa) to be the only bull in the kraal," he [Prof. Okedi] said.

Lake Victoria boasted of a rich fish biodiversity of 400-500 species, however, Okedi says after 40 years, only 200 species remain.

Okedi blames the decline to the introduction of emputa in Lake Victoria, which has seen indigenous species reduce.

"One of the main concerns today is about the alarming rapid disappearance of fish species from Lake Victoria and the decimation of its biodiversity," Okedi said.

He said discharge of large quantities of chemicals in the lake from tea, sugar cane, coffee and flower farms and factories, and human waste has had a devastating effect on the health of lake.

"Phosphorous and nitrogen (is food) for the water hyacinth, which has had devastating effect on the socio- economic activity on Lake Victoria due to its rapid spread and complete coverage of watercourses," he said.


So, after eating its way through the native species of Lake Victoria, the Nile Perch is, in its turn, being fished to extinction.

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