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Nile Perch Stocks in Lake Victoria Increase by 31 Percent

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According to Dr. Rukunya, the country was losing about US$ 52 million approximately Shillings 182 Billion of fish exports annually due to illegal fishing activities.
Fisherman docks at Kagwara Langing Site.

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Nile Perch stocks in Lake Victoria have increased by 31 percent, according to Dr. Edward Rukunya, the Director Fisheries Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries- MAAIF.  

This comes after close to three years since Uganda People’s Defense Force- UPDF commenced operations against illegal fishing in the Lake Victoria.

 

Nile Perch, which was introduced in the lake in the 1950s, reduced from 1.6 million tons in 2000 to 1.1 million tons in 2015 because of illegal fishing practices. 

Data from the Directorate of Fisheries Resources also shows that the total fish captured in Uganda fell by 14.6% from 461,730 tons in 2015 to 394, 224 tons in 2016 as a result of the reduced catch of Nile Perch.

On the export front, fish volumes to the international market decreased from 18,785 tons in 2015 to 16,168 tons in 2016, with the majority of the volumes destined to the European Union. 

Consequently, there was a decline in export earnings from US$134.791 million approximately UGX 483 Billion to US$113.0 million approximately UGX 407 Billion during the same period under review. 

This prompted the deployment of soldiers on the lake in 2017. Dr. Rukunya said that the increase in fish stocks has revived six fish factories in the country. Without divulging details of the factories, he noted that the increase in the Nile Perch will go a long way in improving earnings of both fishermen and the country.  

According to Dr. Rukunya, the country was losing about US$ 52 million approximately Shillings 182 Billion of fish exports annually due to illegal fishing activities.     

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On Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni praised UPDF for the operations against illegal fishing, which has enabled the fish, grow. While showing a photo of 87 Kilogram Nile Perch caught in Lake Victoria, Museveni said left to grow, Nile Perch can weigh up to 300 kilograms.

Museveni also revealed that the country can earn a minimum of US$156 billion from Nile Perch in a year especially from its bladder, which he notes costs UGX 10 million per kilogram on the international market.

 

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However, media reports indicate resumption of illegal fishing activities on Lake Victoria after notable reduction in the last three years. 

Currently, the UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit is struggling to enforce operations against illegal fishing in Lake Kyoga with little success.

The operations that started in January have since seen several illegal fishing gears confiscated.