Rents drain in fishery: the case of Lake Victoria Nile Perch fishery

Arnason, Ragnar (2009) Rents drain in fishery: the case of Lake Victoria Nile Perch fishery. African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology and Fisheries, 12, pp. 2-8.

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Many fisheries are potentially very valuable. According to a recent report by the World Bank and the FAO (2008), global fisheries rents could be as high as US$ 40-60 billion annually on a sustainable basis. However, according to the report, due to the “common property problem”, most fisheries of the world are severely overexploited and generate no economic rents. The Lake Victoria Nile perch fishery could be among the most valuable fisheries in the world. Unfortunately, also this fishery has fallen prey to the common property problem with excessive fishing effort, dwindling stocks and declining profitability. As a result, there is a large and growing rents loss in this fishery (compared to the optimal) reducing economic welfare and economic growth opportunities in the countries sharing this fishery. As in other fisheries, the biological and economic recovery of this fishery can only come though improved fisheries management

Item Type: Article
Title: Rents drain in fishery: the case of Lake Victoria Nile Perch fishery
Personal Creator/Author:
Journal or Publication Title: African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology and Fisheries
Volume: 12
Page Range: pp. 2-8
Date: 2009
Contact Email Address:
Issuing Agency: Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization
Additional Information: The African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology and Fisheries was first published in 1971 by what was then the East African Freshwater Fisheries Organisation in Jinja, Uganda. Over the years since then, it has experienced many difficulties, some as a result of political and economic events in East Africa, and only the first four volumes were published up to 1975. It appeared again, now under the aegis of the Ugandan Fisheries Research Institute, which had succeeded the East African Freshwater Fisheries Organisation, with Volume 5 being published two decades later in 1994. It was transferred to the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation in 1998 who published it until 2003, with Volume 11 being the most recent. Delays in publishing since then have resulted from the problems in assembling enough material of a sufficiently high standard to enable a complete volume to be printed. These delays affected continuity and discouraged authors from submitting papers with the result that many papers that should have been published in this journal went elsewhere. In order to deal with this problem, the decision was taken to publish the journal as an open-access electronic journal with papers being published on the website as soon as they have been accepted. This will greatly increase their international exposure and raise the profile of the journal. This, in turn, should encourage potential authors to submit work of a higher quality and allow the journal to take its rightful place as one of Africa’s leading scholarly publications. Back in 1971 the first issue of the journal stated that it would accept ‘... original and well supported ideas on techniques, methodology and research findings from scientists, fishery officers, fishery economists and sociologists. The journal will therefore strengthen the African research scientist by making research material available and also [by] increasing the awareness and utility of aquatic resources.” These objectives are as valid now as they were then and we hope that the “new” African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology and Fisheries will do just this. The Lake Victoria Stakeholder’s Conference, Kampala, October 2008 Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, supports one of the world’s largest inland fisheries yielding almost one million tonnes per annum. More than one million people depend directly on the fishery, with perhaps the same number depending on it less directly through ancillary activities such as fish trading, boat building, and so on. In addition, the export fishery based on the Nile perch Lates niloticus (L.) makes a substantial contribution to the economies of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The lake and its fisheries face a number of problems, however, many of which are common to other African lakes. The introduction of Nile perch drastically changed its ecosystems thereby focussing attention on the problem of alien species and how to balance their potential benefits against their ecological costs. One of these ecological costs may have been the revelation that the lake had become eutrophic; this began in the 1960s but only became obvious much later. This has raised the issue of population growth and environmental degradation in the lake basin as a whole and the possible effects this might have on fisheries productivity. Other issues, such as climate change will also need to be considered. There is increasing evidence of overfishing in the lake and innovative steps have been taken to introduce systems of co-management that involve the fishing communities in management decisions. This is important because it reminds scientists and administrators that fisheries involve people and it is impossible to manage a fishery without understanding the social and economic consequences of management decisions. For this reason, the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation, with financial assistance from the European Union and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), organised a major Lake Victoria Stakeholder’s Conference in Kampala in October 2008. Many of these issues were discussed at that conference and it was decided to publish some of these papers in the inaugural volume of the “new-look” African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology and Fisheries since they discuss issues of relevance across the continent. We hope readers will find these papers of interest and that this will encourage them to submit their own manuscripts to the journal which is, after all, an African journal, not one concerned with Lake Victoria one. D. NYEKO Executive Secretary, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation 1
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fisheries rents, fisheries rents loss, Nile perch fishery, Lake Victoria, fisheries management, common property problem.
Subjects: Management

Item ID: 4144
Depositing User: Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2010 14:24
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 16:25
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