Uganda has registered an increase in the biomass of the Nile perch in Lake Victoria, a rise attributed to the different government interventions to illegal fishing.
According to a recent survey done by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), and the National Fisheries Research Institute(NFRI), the biomass of Nile Perch has shown a 30 percent increase in the year 2017.
Fish lovers can now enjoy the succulent white flesh of Nile Perch from Lake Victoria as the stocks recover since the Uganda People’s Defence Forces under the Fisheries Protection Unit began policing the water ten months ago to control illegal fishing.
Anthony Taabu, a researcher from the NFRI while speaking to the press at Uganda Media Centre noted that currently, the Nile perch biomass stands at 1.12million tones in 2017 from 0.85million tones in 2016.
“Despite the increase, the current Nile perch in Lake Victoria isn’t ready for consumption because its less then the 50cm-85cm, its recommended harvest size, they are just one-year-old,” Taabu said.
Fishing exportation stands second after coffee in the high export earners with 1.13 million USD earned annually from over 17,000 metric tones exported.
Despite the increase in Nile perch, the Mukene biomass (silver fish) has drastically reduced by 50 percent in the two years from 1.39 metric tones to the current 0.7metric tones that is in Lake Victoria despite hopes by the ministry for the specie to recover since it has a high regeneration rate.
Tilapia is one of the highly consumed delicacy in Uganda but just like Mukene, the specie presence has also reduced.
“We just need to minimize inshore fishing and illegal use of fish finders, the proportion of immature Mukene is high in shallow inshore, while mature Mukene is concentrated in open waters.”