Fish stocks in Lake Victoria - even more depleted

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Fish stocks in Lake Victoria - even more depleted

 

Fish stocks in Lake Victoria are now even more depleted, according to the preliminary results of a three-year survey into the lake's dwindling fishery.

Until recently, the lake held one of the world's richest lake fish assemblages and was primarily made up of hundreds of species of closely related cichlids called haplochromines. Unfortunately, things started to go downhill in the late 1970s and early 1980s after a superpredator - the Nile perch - was added to "improve" the fishery for the local people.

The lake has now seen the world's largest ever extinction of vertebrate species, and has since started to face new problems, including pollution, algal blooms, invasive plants and now hybridisation in the remaining cichlid species.

According to AllAfrica.com, the surveys were undertaken in 2000, 2002 and 2004 to determine the state of the fishery and try to come up with a plan to help it recover. The study showed that the number of people fishing had increased to 175,890 from 129,305 and that a number of illegal fishing techniques were still in use.