To foster new opportunities for nutritious food and local livelihoods, international nonprofit research and innovation institution WorldFish has strengthened its research partnership with specialised institution the Lake Victoria Fishing Organisation (LVFO) to guide the development of sustainable aquaculture in East Africa.
“The new agreement marks a step towards competitive, gender-equitable and sustainable commercial aquaculture and fisheries management in the Lake Victoria basin,” the organisation says.
The research will focus on improving sustainability and biosecurity of aquaculture production systems, the management of aquatic genetic resources and access to commercial networks for aquaculture-related businesses, as well as supporting skills development in local workers for aquaculture-related businesses.
Bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the world’s second-largest freshwater lake directly supports food, nutrition and economic security for about two-million people.
Small fish species, a major part of the fish catch from the lake are also highly significant for nutrition throughout the region. However, over the last decade, commercial fish stocks have plummeted owing to overfishing, invasive species, pollution and changing climatic conditions, besides other factors.
The catch of commercial species in the lake, in particular Nile perch and Nile tilapia, have declined, contributing to reductions in per capita fish consumption in the region.
In response, the East African Community (EAC) − a regional intergovernmental organisation − is taking steps to improve the management of aquatic resources and promote sustainable aquaculture to create new jobs and boost livelihoods.
Research aimed at increasing aquatic food availability through the development of environment-friendly and equitable aquaculture models will be undertaken through the European Union-funded EAC project for promoting aquaculture in the Lake Victoria basin.
WorldFish will technically assist the LVFO in strengthening aquatic animal health conditions, fish breeding and the zoning of Lake Victoria for the protection of biodiversity.
The research generated will be used to advise on the adoption and implementation of regional and national policies, regulations and associated implementation guidelines regarding the management of aquaculture development and biodiversity and genetics.
The efforts will also result in the development, organisation and delivery of context-specific aquaculture production and business training for local workers, especially women and youth.