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Fish numbers drop on rising pollution at Lake Victoria

Fish traders wash their wares at Lake Victoria. PHOTO | barack oduor | NMG
Fish traders wash their wares at Lake Victoria. PHOTO | barack oduor | NMG 

Rising pollution in Lake Victoria has led to a drop in the numbers of the popular Nile Perch and Omena fish, signalling a new threat to food security.

A new report published this week says that Nile Perch population has dropped by up to a quarter while that of Omena has almost halved (49 per cent).

The study titled ‘‘The Lake Wide Hydro-acoustic and Environmental Survey’’ and conducted by Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation, a Jinja-based fish research body, between August and September last year, found that the water is increasingly not supportive of breeding or habitation.

The report says that for fish to thrive, the water must be of good visibility to allow enough sunshine, which enables plants to thrive and provide food for fish. The water must also be free from toxins and have sufficient oxygen.

The Tanzania portion of the lake, which is the largest of the three nations, recorded the highest decline by 33 per cent followed by Kenya (31 per cent) and Uganda at 13 per cent, the report shows.