Lake Malawi/Niassa/Nyasa is the third deepest freshwater lake in the world. The basin is densely populated and has a high prevalence of water borne diseases. The lakes is home to 800 to 1000 fish species, making it the most fish species-rich lank in the world. The lake employs 56,000 fishers who harvest more than 100,000 tons of fish per year. Overall, the fishery supports the livelihoods of more than 1.6 million people. Major threats to the lake include overuse, invasive species, habitat degradation and deforestation, pollution and climate change.
The existence of lakes owes much to the presence of catchment areas or water towers, from where they derive some or a majority of their waters. One such example of a catchment area is the Mount Elgon catchment, a transboundary catchment situated at the border between Kenya and Uganda. On the Kenyan side, the catchment consists of a 73,705 hectares forest managed by Kenya Forest Service, a 17,200 hectares nature reserve managed by the Bungoma County Government and a 16,916 hectares national park under the custody of Kenya Wildlife Service (Nabutola et al., 2022).
Lakes Turkana, Victoria, Tanganyika, Kivu, Edward, Malawi and Albert, all found within the tropics, are collectively referred to as The African Great Lakes. The lakes are shared by 10 countries, namely Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo DRC and Mozambique. The African Great Lakes which are all part of the rift valley lakes are endowed with plethora of uniqueness.
Across generations, ethnic tribes, religions and nationalities, the human race continues to derive vital lessons from ancient stories or prophesies, some of which use animals’ characters. An example of such a prophecy is the ‘Prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle’ whose nativity can be traced to South American communities.
The African Great Lakes are part of the International Waters, meaning these resources belong to and are shared by more than one country. However, each nation is governed by its own set of laws, which may not be convergent or with the same level of stringency in some respects with its neighboring country or countries within the African Great Lakes region.
Wetlands are some of the zones which have been misused by surrounding communities despite the huge benefits they provide in the ecosystem. Based on a definition by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a wetland is an area or zone where soil is covered or saturated by water at different times of the year or throughout the year. Wetlands provide habitats for both aquatic and terrestrial species. The aquatic environment offers ideal conditions for the growth and establishment of aquatic plants and promotes the development of soils with aquatic characteristics.
Fish Catch Assessment (CAS) data is required to guide sustainable management of fisheries resources. It monitors removals and changes in fishing effort, abundance of major commercial species and is used to estimate fishing efforts to guide fishery managers in controlling overfishing. The collection of fisheries data in AGL has been very costly leading to inconsistency and gaps in capturing data across years and seasons as well as restrictions in geographical coverage. However, Catch Assessment Survey data has been collected on paper forms in Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika all along.
This project contributes to the Theme on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Management in the African Great Lakes Region (AGLR) and the intervention on cage aquaculture which among the priority interventions identified during the African Great Lakes Conference (AGLC) of 5-7th May 2017 that was supported under the African Great Lakes Conservation Fund (AGLF).
This project aimed to improve the protection and sound management of the natural resources and critical ecosystems that sustain livelihoods in the Great Lakes region of Africa, an area that is experiencing significant pressures from human migration. To achieve this objective, IISD collaborated with the Conservation Development Center, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Frankfurt Zoological Society to research migration and conservation issues, conducting three main activities: