The project leader of the GIZ fisheries program, Adolf Gerstl has tasked Ugandans along the shores of Lake Victoria to embrace good fishing practices which will promote fish sustainability.
Speaking at the launch of the 2019 fish festival in Jinja district on Friday, Gerstl said using the recommended fishing gears will protect the available fish species from depletion as only recommended sizes shall surface in the market.
A research conducted by GIZ in 2014 indicates that lake Victoria registered an annual catch of 251,000 tonnes of nile perch valued at USD 545 million. The turnover was achieved by local fisheries groups in the nile perch value chain.
However, another research conducted by the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization – LVFO indicates that open access to fish stocks, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices coupled with lack of implementation of the set laws governing the fisheries sector in the countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania add to pressure on the resource which results into heavy losses on the fish products and income for the local population.
Gerstl further says that government led agencies should sensitize the public on both the nutritional and monitory benefits attached to fish sector so that locals themselves can draft stringent measures against bad fishing practices.
He however, argues that good fishing practices are costly as locals will be blocked from accessing immature and cheap fish, but if observed well, they can in a long run reap more and sustain themselves financially.
Gerstl adds that GIZ has teamed up with different state and private actors in improving the quality of fish products sold on both local and international markets.
Dr. Rhoda Tumwebaze, a researcher at LVFO says that they are pursuing a nile perch fishery management project where both small and medium scale fishermen are encouraged to catch a minimum of 50 cm fish so as to boost their incomes.
She adds that the project if embraced by the target group will protect fish breeding areas from exploitation and in turn increase on the fish catch for the next five years.