Decline of fishes threatens Mara region’s economy

By Lake Zone Watch writer

The dramatic decline of fish stocks in Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical fresh water lake, is reported to have led to the closure of fish processing plants in Mara region.

“The fish processing factories – especially for Nile perch now not available in the lake — have been closed because of unsustainable practices, including the daily overfishing and the use of undersized nets that catch fish before they reach maturity,” a local investor in Rorya district in Mara region, Peter Mwera, said in an interview.

In recent years, there has been a decline, and in some cases, an almost total disappearance of many of the native fish species of lakes Victoria and Kyoga in East Africa since the development of the fisheries of these lakes was initiated at the beginning of this century.

Mara Regional Vice-Chairman of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Boniface Ndengo, confirmed the closure of the fish processing factories in the region.

“In Mara region we had four fish processing factories; now three of them have stopped production, and only one is on the brink of death. This is because of the raw material — the fish stocks – has tremendously declined in the lake,” Ndengo, said.

Both Mwera and Ndengo have recommended to the government to come with concrete strategies on patrols in Lake Victoria using high-tech devices in order to reverse the declining fish stocks in Africa’s largest freshwater lake.

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