Apr 1, 1994
Environmental Biology of Fishes
SynopsisThe introduction of the Nile perch into Lake Victoria has dramatically altered the fishery in that lake and contributed to the decline of the fishery for indigenous tilapias. One sector of the fishery in Lake Victoria has benefitted from the Nile perch introduction, although catches have declined in recent years. Inefficient enforcement of fisheries regulations has had a detrimental effect on indigenous species but may also have contributed to the recent decline in Nile perch catches. Fisheries development plans have tended to favour capital-intensive fisheries and to ignore small scale subsistence fisheries. A case study at Wichlum Beach on the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria has revealed the efficiency of traditional fishing and fish drying methods as well as the high ecological costs of the practice of kiln-drying Nile perch. Forty-five tons of firewood are used per month at Wichlum Beach alone for kiln-drying perch. The increased economic viability of the fishery has attracted professionals into the industry and resulted in the development of an export-oriented trade. The Yala Swamp adjacent to Lake Victoria has been extensively drained as part of a large land reclamation scheme and more draining is planned. Increased environmental awareness in Kenya, and Kenya's membership in the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, has resulted in a critical review of these plans.