Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in Africa, is one of the most vibrant systems on Earth. Secure Fisheries is working to ensure the lake remains a vital source of food and economic security in the face of rapid change.
Shared by Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, the lake’s fisheries are a significant source of employment in the region: nearly 200,000 people fish in the lake, and millions more work in related activities such as fish drying or boat building. Combined, the fisheries in the lake produce $1.2 billion in local revenue each year and account for 30% of protein intake in the region.
Fishing communities around the lake face several challenges, including declining wild fisheries and a large gap between the amount of fish consumed and that recommended by the World Health Organization. Malnutrition rates, especially in women and children, are high in fishing villages. To close this protein gap, approximately 160,000 tons of new fish catch would be required in Uganda alone.
As demand for fish from Lake Victoria increases, there is bound to be conflict over this resource. At Secure Fisheries, we are working with partners in the region and universities in the United States to understand how the lake’s fisheries will change in the future, and how management and community engagement can be leveraged to reduce resource conflict. This work is funded by the National Science Foundation’s program on Coupled Natural and Human Systems.