Climate Change Lessens Size of Fish from Uganda's Lakes

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In short
The study, conducted on Lake Wamala in Central Uganda and Lake Kawi in Eastern Uganda shows that climate change has particularly affected the size of Tilapia fish. The Lakes are suspected to have gained higher temperatures which are stressing some of the fish species like Tilapia.

Uganda is experiencing a reduction in the size and quantity of various fish species’ as a result of climate variations and climate change, a study by Makerere University’s Department of Biological Sciences indicates.
 
The study, conducted on Lake Wamala in Central Uganda and Lake Kawi in Eastern Uganda shows that climate change has particularly affected the size of tilapia fish. The Lakes are suspected to have gained higher temperatures which are stressing some of the fish species like Tilapia.

Dr. Jackson Efitre, a lecturer of Fisheries Management and Aquatic Sciences says the tilapia species that used to be dominant in the two lakes have not just reduced in stock but also in size.

Tilapia fish, according to Efitre, has swiftly adapted to the changing conditions in the lakes compared to other species like lung fish and African cat fish. As a result, it now tends to be much smaller and may be mistaken for immature fish.
 
//Cue In “Well we are seeing…….
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In the case of Lake Wamala and Kawi, they have in the past been dominated by tilapia and lung fish but Efitre says now African cat fish has taken over dominance.

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He says fish consumers now have two options either to adjust and eat the reduced size of tilapia or change their preferences to begin eating the dominant species African cat fish or lung fish.

Unfortunately in some cultures, the consumption of African cat fish and lung fish is restricted. In some tribes women are restricted from eating lung fish. In Buganda, lung fish is a totem which cannot be consumed by members of the clan.

The changes have also affected livelihoods of fishing communities according to Mark Olokotum, one of the researchers who have been on Lake Kawi research area.

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In Uganda, fisheries contribute about 2.5% to the national and 12.5% to the agricultural Gross Domestic Product. The sector employs about 1.2 million people and generates $100 million in exports.

But despite this, fisheries resources are threatened by various stressors like overfishing, deforestation habitat degradation and introduction of invasive species. Now as per the finding of the study, climate variability and change is adding to and interacting with the existing stressors to further aggravate the situation.