New Vision (Kampala)

23 September 2008

Uganda: Scientists Artificially Breed Fish

Kampala — Fisheries researchers have successfully bred three fish species in captivity, which are threatened by extinction in local lakes and rivers.

The fish, labeo victorianus, commonly called ningu, barbus altianaris (kisinja) and the male African cat fish are threatened by extinction because of water pollution by factories, farming along the shores and capturing of immature fish.

The introduction of exotic fish species like the Nile Perch, which is a predator, also threatened their existence.

"The ningu and kisinja breed in fast-flowing waters. During the rainy season, they tend to move to swamps to breed," said Godfrey Kityo, a researcher at the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute. However, fishermen lay traps, capturing the fish before they lay eggs.

Kityo displayed the fish species at the recent farmers' show in Jinja.

He said studies have enabled researchers to simulate the same favourable conditions which the fish need to reproduce in their natural habitats.

The scientists are now considering introducing them into satellite lakes and promoting them among fish farmers countrywide.

Kityo said they have successfully managed to induce the fish to produce eggs which can be reared by fish farmers.

When the environment is not favourable, they will not lay eggs, but with our new techniques, we are able to induce them to lay eggs under the same conditions they would require in their natural habitats," he said.

A hormone which triggers the process, has been identified in the fish's pituitary gland and is injected into its body to speed up the process.

The eggs are squeezed out and fertilised artificially using 'semen' extracted from the males.

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