Foundational Ecological Research Is Key to Understanding Long-Term Impacts of Fisheries Development

Scientists at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute prepare to collect fish for study in Lake Victoria.

Cage aquaculture of tilapia is expanding rapidly in Lake Victoria, but the impacts of this development are difficult to predict. How much pollution will cages produce? Will they interfere with access to fishing grounds by capture fishers? Who will benefit the most: large corporations who can invest in cages or local communities? To help answer these questions, Secure Fisheries’ Sarah Glaser and Paige Roberts joined with the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute of Uganda, the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute, and the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute to conduct foundational fisheries research on the health and diversity of fish populations in near-shore waters. Because cages are built very close to shore, they endanger those fishes that live in shallow waters. The teams conducted coordinated surveys of fish populations and water quality in these areas to produce a baseline for assessing the impacts of cage construction in the future. For more information, see our four part blog series on this NSF-funded project.