Press Release: Strengthened research collaboration boosts sustainable, equitable aquaculture in Africa

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WorldFish and LVFO strengthen research ties to boost aquatic food availability by guiding the development of sustainable, equitable aquaculture in the Lake Victoria region.

13 January 2020 - PENANG, MALAYSIA - In a move to foster new opportunities for nutritious food and local livelihoods, WorldFish has strengthened its research partnership with the Lake Victoria Fishing Organization (LVFO) to guide the development of sustainable aquaculture in East Africa.

The new agreement marks a step towards competitive, gender equitable and sustainable commercial aquaculture and fisheries management in the Lake Victoria Basin. Research will focus on improving sustainability and bio-security of aquaculture production systems, management of aquatic genetic resources and access to commercial networks for aquaculture related businesses, as well as supporting skills development in local workers for aquaculture-related businesses.

Bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the world’s second largest freshwater lake directly supports food, nutrition and economic security for around 2 million people. Small fish species, a major part of the fish catch from the lake, are also highly significant for nutrition throughout the region. However, over the last decade commercial fish stocks have plummeted due to overfishing, invasive species, pollution, and changing climatic conditions, among other factors. The catch and biomass of commercial species in the lake, in particular Nile perch and Nile tilapia, have declined, contributing to reductions in per capita fish consumption in the region. In response, the East African Community (EAC)—a regional intergovernmental organization—is making efforts to improve management of aquatic resources, and promote sustainable aquaculture, to create new jobs and boost livelihoods.

Research aimed at boosting aquatic food availability through the development of environmentally-friendly and equitable aquaculture models will be undertaken through the EU-funded EAC project for promoting aquaculture in the Lake Victoria Basin (TRUE-FISH Project). WorldFish will technically assist the LVFO—a specialized institution of the EAC—in strengthening aquatic animal health conditions, fish breeding and the zoning of Lake Victoria for the protection of biodiversity. The research generated will be used to advise on the adoption and implementation of regional and national policies, regulations and associated implementation guidelines regarding the management of aquaculture development and biodiversity and genetics. The efforts will also see the development, organization and delivery of context-specific aquaculture production and business training for local workers, especially women and youth.

Dr. Mike Phillips Director of Aquaculture and Fisheries Science for the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH) at WorldFish  said, “The agreement provides key scientific knowledge to assist countries in the Lake Victoria region develop policies and management strategies for aquatic genetic resources in this regionally and globally important aquatic ecosystem.”

“WorldFish will assist LVFO members to identify and manage limiting factors and sustainability risks for the development of competitive and sustainable commercial aquaculture in the Lake Victoria region, contributing to sustaining a diverse and productive natural fishery and the development of new opportunities for food, income and jobs in a sustainably managed aquaculture industry.”

Dr. Shigalla Mahongo Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) Executive Secretary said: “The partnership between WorldFish and LVFO through this agreement is expected to play a vital role in delivering a much-needed impact in the aquaculture sub sector to meet the rising demand for fish protein due to increase in population growth, coupled with dwindling capture fisheries. This partnership will therefore ensure a sustained food and nutrition security to the EAC citizens by enhancing the availability of quality fish seeds to farmers and hence increasing their productivity to meet the growing demand. “

“Through WorldFish’s research and capacity development, the aquaculture sub-sector in the EAC will benefit especially on building capacity to ensure the effective utilization of quality fish genetics for increased productivity and biodiversity protection. The capacity building initiative will range from enhanced capacity in species identification, breeding and administration of the regulatory framework to a system for assessing and certifying private hatcheries.”

The EU-EAC TRUE-FISH Project is financed under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF 11) which was approved by the EU Commission in March 2018. The overall objective of the project is to contribute towards development of competitive, gender equitable and sustainable commercial aquaculture in order to improve the economic development and sustainable management of natural resources in the Lake Victoria basin. The Project is expected to improve access to commercial networks for aquaculture related businesses, increase availability and quality of local skilled workers for the development of aquaculture-related businesses, improve sustainability and bio-security of regional aquaculture production systems.


About WorldFish

WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research and innovation institution that creates, advances, and translates aquatic food systems science into scalable solutions for healthy people and planet. For over 45-years, WorldFish’s data, evidence, and insights have shaped practices, policies, and investments to end hunger and advance sustainable development in low- and middle-income countries.   

WorldFish has a global presence across 20 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, with 460 staff of 30 nationalities deployed where the greatest sustainable development challenges can be addressed through holistic aquatic food systems solutions. Embedded in local, national, and international partnerships, its work sets agendas, builds capacities, and supports decision-making for climate action, food and nutrition security, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, blue economy, One Health, and AgriTech, integrating gender, youth, and social inclusion.  

WorldFish makes part of CGIAR the world’s largest agricultural innovation network.

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About Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO)

Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) is a specialized Institution of EAC with the mandate to coordinate the management of the fisheries resources of Lake Victoria for sustainable development and utilization, and to spearhead aquaculture development in the Basin. The Organization was established by a Convention signed on 30 June 1994 by the Republic of Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Uganda sharing Lake Victoria. LVFO is registered under Article 102 of the United Nations Charter and recognized as a Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO).


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For more information or to request an interview: 

Press contact:

Matthew O’Leary
Outreach and Strategic Communications Specialist

Science contact:

Dr. Mike Phillips
Director of Aquaculture and Fisheries Science for the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH)