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Fieldwork on Lake Victoria

The Lake Victoria project

May 2, 2017,

A conflict is developing in Africa’s Lake Victoria between fish farming in cages and the “normal” fishing industry. Added to that are other factors such as invasive species, wastewater pollution, pesticides and dam construction are putting the unique ecosystem under increasing pressure. Numerous species of fish have already disappeared. Over the coming four weeks, a team of researchers from the Universities of Denver and Boston, the Fishery Research Institutes of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, and Eawag/University of Berne will therefore be investigating in detail the fish-species diversity and incidence in the lake. Modelled after “Projet Lac”, 35 locations on this vast lake – twice the size of Switzerland – will be systematically fished and scanned with sonar equipment in order to ascertain the fish biomass status. Prof Ole Seehausen, from Eawag/Uni Berne, has a challenging time ahead of him: Night after night, the team will be sending photos of the fish that will need to be identified. There are only a handful of experienced specialists around the world who can reliably distinguish between the estimated 200 to 300 species.

In a series of posts, members of the project will report on their work on Lake Victoria on the website of the independent organisation for sustainable fishing, Secure Fisheries, highlighting the crucial importance of the lake’s biodiversity and its protection for the long-term food security and economic stability in the region. Click here to see the first blog post.

Created by Andri Bryner