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Climate Changes Takes Toll on Fish Habitats

Dr. Ogutu Ohwayo, a Climate change research scientist at NaFIRRI says this has affected the fish breeding grounds in the lakes and other water bodies.
Fish Cages on Lake Victoria

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Scientists at the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute – NaFIRRI say there is new evidence showing that Ugandan lakes are warming faster than projected in previous studies. Studies expanding on the 2014 findings by the same institute suggest that most of the Lake waters could evaporate by more than one third in 30 years.

While there is wide national recognition that uncontrolled exploitation of Fisheries and water resources must be reduced drastically, climate experts say greater attention must be devoted to developing strategies to adapt rapidly to the warming water bodies in Uganda. Findings from Lake Kawi in Northeastern Uganda and Wamala in central Uganda show that the water temperatures have increased by between 0.02 to 0.03° C in the last 15 years.

The high temperatures have increased the rate of water evaporation from Uganda\'s water bodies and effectively reduced the water levels in Lakes and amount of oxygen. Dr. Ogutu Ohwayo, a Climate change research scientist at NaFIRRI says this has affected the fish breeding grounds in the lakes and other water bodies. 

He says there is need to develop new measures to curb the destructive impact of climate change, which has already taken a huge toll on the fishing industry.

//Cue in “the mitigation measures…”

Cue out “…to be addressed.”//

Thousands of fishing communities across the country are already experiencing the impact of climate change resulting from the extreme weather conditions. Dr. Ogutu Ohwayo advises fishing communities in drought prune areas and heavy rains to adjust between fishing and planting crops to allow the water bodies to regenerate.

Dr. Stephen Kiwemba, Jinja District Production Officer says they have embarked on promoting cage fish farming as one of the ways of overcoming the effects of climate change on the industry.

//Cue in “the district has…”

Cue out “…is almost profit.”//

Prof. Zerubabel Mijumbi Nyiira, the Fisheries state minister says his ministry has put in place measures to revamp and sustain fish stocks in Uganda\'s water bodies through public awareness and education amidst the changing climate. He says the ministry has put in place controls and surveillance on fishing place to improve adherence to the laws and regulations governing the sector.

Prof. Zerubabel Mijumbi Nyiira also believes that if adopted, cage fishing will enable fishing communities to protecting breeding grounds for some period to enable the stocks to multiply.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics fish contributes 2.5% to the National Gross domestic product and 12.5% of the agriculture National Gross domestic product.

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