Several districts around the Tanzanian shores of Lake Victoria severely suffer from overfishing and deteriorating ecosystems in the lake. Local Government Authorities are piloting fish culture techniques and integrate them into district development plans and fisheries investment plans to address this challenge. Supported by UNDP, the programme also includes prior studies to assess the feasibility of planned interventions, the establishment of demonstration sites and the formation of fish farming groups. Learning visits to neighbouring countries, trainings and cost benefit analysis for advocacy purposes allow to further scale up the interventions.
Lake Victoria, the largest lake on the African continent lies between Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. About 35 million people depend on its waters for their livelihood. Initially known as a resource rich home to endemic fish, overfishing in the second half of the 20th century, combined with pollution and the introduction of non-native species has led to a rapid deterioration of its ecosystems.
Based on recommendations from a 2014 UNDP-UN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) study identifying institutional, legal and financial bottlenecks for the implementation of pro-poor environmental sustainability, Bunda District has in 2015 included measures to enhance sustainable fish farming in its district development plan. The District also developed an investment plan outlining how to finance the implementation of the district development plan. This is further informed and buttressed by a recent (2016) PEI commissioned study on the costs benefit analysis (CBA) of the nature-based enterprises that confirmed fish farming as a highly environmentally, socially and economically viable enterprise.
As part of the implementation of the plan, the District has identified local champions such as progressive farmers and the National Service and facilitated the formation of 14 fish farming groups (312 members in total out of which 40% are women) with the aim of strengthening local capacities and enhancing productivity and financing options. Two of the groups have in 2015 applied and received loans of $6,200 combined from Twiga Bancorp to initiate cage fish farming which is a more sustainable fishing option than the current practices.
In March and December 2014, different learning missions took place between institutions from Tanzania and Uganda/Kenya. These knowledge exchanges allowed to study management and technology for fish farming with a specific focus on fish culture techniques between key stakeholders involved in fish farming from Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. This includes district officials as well as local champions and research institutions.
Following these exchanges, the identification of local champions and the formation of the fish farming groups, farmers have been trained on how to operate fish-ponds and use fish rearing techniques. In addition, a demonstration site was established at the National Service, where on-site training is conducted for local fish farmers, women’s groups, and Beach Management Units. The National Service also constructed a hatchery for production of fingerlings, which has reduced the cost and improved the quality and constant supply of fingerlings.
Following the piloting of the sustainable fish farming practices, the government and private sector have taken steps to scale-up cage fish farming in Tanzania. So far, 9 private companies have been licensed to undertake fish cage farming in Lake Victoria and the revised version of the national fisheries policy of 2015 aims to promote a conducive and enabling environment for the fish sector.
Implementation Timeframe: 2014-2016
Provider Countries: Kenya and Uganda
Supported by: UNDP
Implemented by Bunda District Council in collaboration with National Service, private sector, the Economic and Social Research Foundation and the Ministry for Livestock and Fishery
Mr. Ambrose Mugisha
Ms. Kristina Weibel