Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake and the world's second largest. It is also a key resource for the people of East Africa. It has the largest freshwater fisheries producing 700,000 to 800,000 tonnes of fish annually, worth between US$350 and 400 million at the landings and US$250 million in export. Additionally there is an important untapped potential to expand both the tourism and transportation industries across the lake. Approximately 30 million people live along its shores and the lake currently provides employment for three to four million people.
Kajulu and Nyando (both upstream) and Dunga (downstream) wetlands are located in Kisumu County. Upstream land is largely privately owned and mainly used for agriculture, energy needs and water. Deforestation and water diversion upstream worsen soil loss, leading to siltation and agro-chemical deposits downstream, which then leads to eutrophication of wetland ecosystems, reduced rainfall and reduced water flow to downstream swamps. All of this combines to cause a loss of wetland biodiversity, low crop output hence worsening food insecurity situation.
In 2012, RIPPLE Africa worked with local community members and district authorities to develop local bylaws to protect a 40km stretch of lakeshore along Lake Malawi in Nkhata Bay District, Malawi, Africa. To support, advocate, and regulate these fish conservation bylaws, RIPPLE Africa has set up local Fish Conservation Committees whose members include fishers and non-fishers. The Committees, together with the District Fisheries Department, manage the local permit system, and monitor and regulate illegal activity in each Committee’s designated area.
A recent expert review of the ecological risks of net pen aquaculture in the North American Great Lakes made a number of recommendations for Best Management Practices (BMPs) that should be applied to establishment of net pen farms. Based on that_study, researchers identified nine generic BMPs that could be applied to all Global Great Lakes.
The research effort_looks at the trends in fishing effort and landings from 2000 to 2014 in relation to the performance of the Beach Management Units (BMUs) since they were put in place. Having conducted a survey on the performance of the BMUs, researchers notice that the BMUs have rules and regulations that have been put in place. Respondents identified critical habitats that are presented in this research, some of which have since been demarcated. Results show that BMUs know critical habitats and identify them as areas where fish breed (97%).
Earth system models are the only scientific tools yet developed that are capable of integrating the multitude of physical, chemical and biological processes that determine past, present and future climate. Researchers here use the Community Earth System Model (CESM) to generate depictions of environmental futures under climate change specifically to serve stakeholder needs for each of the major Great Lake watersheds.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014) predicts by the end of this century ~1 4 degrees_C warming and an uncertain trend in future rainfall in the Great Lakes region of East Africa, perhaps 10% lower than present in the Malawi/Nyassa basin and 10% higher in the lake basins to the north. Radar altimetry records of lake level trends available since 1992 display decadal scale variability of 1-2 m, with an overall trend in the last decade towards lower levels in Lakes Malawi/Nyassa and Rukwa, and higher levels in the lakes to the north of Rukwa.
The fishery activities in Lake Edward are among the major economic activities sustaining livelihoods for the large majority of local communities. In spite of their importance, the conservation and management of critical aquatic habitats is still neglected, leading to alarming rates of decline in fisheries productivity. Growing populations, rapid industrialization and oil exploitation in the region are predicted to exacerbate the pressure on freshwater ecosystems. This requires that appropriate action should be taken for sustainable management of the fishery resources.
This project sought to respond to increased to increased environmental pressures from climate change, and to create and expand incentives to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services in the South Kivu and Rusizi River cathments.