The government is seeking for private investors to practice cage fish farming on Lake Victoria to generate more revenue, the State Minister for Fisheries Ms Ruth Nankabirwa has said.
According to the Ms Nankabirwa, Uganda’s water bodies are under-utilized yet fish farming has been identified as one of the activities that bring in money very quickly thus contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product .
“I invite Ugandans and non-Ugandans to come and invest in Lake Victoria. If you invest in fish farming, you can harvest within less than one year unlike coffee which needs almost one year to be ready,” Ms Nankabirwa said, adding that Lakes are natural resources given by God to be utilized.
Ms Nankabirwa noted that potential investors should bring business plans on cage fish farming to the Fisheries ministry for approval in order to acquire a license. She however noted that the site for fish farming must not be a fish breading ground or transit area for water vessels or where tributaries join the lake.
According to the minister, cage fish farming on Uganda’s lakes has now got full approval from the Government because this can help Uganda to increase fish stocks in its lakes.
“When the public embraces cage fish farming Uganda will be in position to produce enough fish for both local consumption and export,” she added.
However, according to the Executive Director of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists Mr Frank Muramuzi, the move is going to make it hard for government to enforce environment laws aimed at protecting the lake from depletion of natural resources like fish.
On degradation, Ms Nankabirwa said: “National Environment Management Authority (Nema) also has to issue another license to the investor after it has carried Environment impact Assessment to find out whether the fish feeds and other farming materials have any effects on the lake’s biodiversity.”
Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake by area, with a surface area of 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq milles). It is also the largest tropical lake in the world. It is the world's second largest freshwater lake by surface area; only Lake Superior in North America is larger. In terms of its volume, Lake Victoria is the world's ninth largest continental lake, and it contains about 2,750 cubic kilometers (2.2 billion acre-feet) of water.