25 March 2010

Kenya: Sharp Drop in Lake Victoria Fish

Nairobi — A fish shortage is looming in Lake Victoria. Scientists and Fisheries Development Ministry officials say the Nile perch population is dwindling at an alarming rate.

Fisheries minister Paul Otuoma told a workshop in Kisumu that stocks had declined from 1.9 million tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes between 1991 and 2001 and to 544,000 tonnes in 2005.

He said surveys carried out in 2008 showed a further drop to 299,000 tonnes. The decline is caused by increased exploitation and use of illegal fishing methods.

"The number of fishermen increased from 153,066 in 2004 to 199,242 in 2008," said Dr Otuoma.

The decline in stocks is attributed to a resurgence in cross-border conflicts such as the dispute over the ownership of Migingo Island, loss of income by fishermen, employees and traders.

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