By MAXIMILIAN OMONDI.
Lake Victoria (Nam Lolwe in Dholuo), is the largest freshwater lake by area in Africa covering more than 68,800 square km. It is shared by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; lying mainly in Tanzania and Uganda. In Kenya, the lake is found in the Nyanza region. Lake Victoria supports Africa’s largest inland fishery with most of the fisheries in Kenya found in the lake region. Many towns rely on the lake for water supplies, farmers rely on it to get water for farming and other home-made uses. Lake Victoria receives its water from rivers which flow into the lake with the largest river flowing into the lake is River Kagera. Other main inlets include River(s) Sio, Nzoia, Sondu Miriu. The only outflow from Lake Victoria is the Nile River. Fish farming is the most practiced economic activity around the lake and across the Nyanza region counties, that is, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya, Busia and Kisii. This is evident since the staple food for the Luo community, who inhabit predominantly the Nyanza Region, is Fish. The community enjoys abundant fish supply from Lake Victoria. The main types of fish being harvested from the lake are Omena, Nile Perch(Mbuta), Tilapia(Ngege) and Catfish with the dominant species being Tilapia and Nile Perch. Tilapia and Nile Perch are the top most traded fish because of their value and are most popular with customers, their demand is more compared to other types of fish.
Nyanza region has great potential for aquaculture since the region has a good climate that favours farming of a variety of fish species. Recently, Ksh 14.9 billion aquaculture project was launched in the Nyanza region counties. The project which is being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the International Fund for Agriculture Development is aiming at boosting fish farming in the region because of the high demand of fish being witnessed in both in the local and international market. Due to the increasing demand of fish, the lake is now facing a challenge of low number of fish catch due to overfishing, an activity which is depleting the numbers of fish species in the lake. To prevent overfishing, fishermen around Lake Victoria are urged to embrace fish cage farming which will help in increasing the production of fish in the lake.