Invasive species in Lake Victoria, Kenya

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropical lake in the world. Lake Victoria is the worlds 2nd largest freshwater lake by surface area; it is home to a large number of popular aquarium species, many of them endemic to the lake. Unfortunately, the native wildlife in Lake Victoria is under constant threat from invasive species, pollution, and over fishing. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none"> The Water hyacinth has been a major invasive plant species in Lake Victoria. The release of large amounts of sewage, agricultural and industrial runoff directly into Lake Victoria over the past 30 years, has greatly increased the nutrient levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the lake triggering massive growth of exotic Water hyacinth, which colonised the lake in the late 1990’s. Water hyacinth has covered as much as 680 square kilometres of the lake. <br/><br/> This invasive weed creates anoxic (total depletion of oxygen levels) conditions in the lake inhibiting decomposing plant material, raising toxicity and disease levels to both fish and people. Also, the plant’s mat creates a barrier for boats and ferries to maneuver, impedes access to the shoreline, interferes with hydroelectric power generation, and blocks the intake of water for industries. <br/><br/> The Nile perch (Lates niloticus) was also deliberately introduced in 1954, since it is an appreciated food fish. During the 1960s, introduction efforts intensified, but it wasn’t until the mid 1980s that the Nile perch population began to really dominate the fish community in Lake Victoria. The Nile perch is believed to be responsible for the extinction or severe decline of several hundred cichlid species in Lake Victoria, as well as native tilapia species, Negege (Oreochromis esculentus). <br/><br/> In response to the magnitude of problems facing the lake, the three riparian countries; Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania sought funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF) to address Lake Victoria’s ecosystem health. The project’s main objective is to restore the ecological health of the lake basin. One of the project components includes Water hyacinth control and management; which involves reducing the weed to manageable levels using both biological and manual methods. <br/><br/> In 2011, The Greene’s organization implemented a project aimed at helping local populations control the water hyacinths by turning them into an economic resource. The project proposed that locals could make fuel briquettes for cooking, fertilizer, woven furnishings and biodegradable sanitary napkins. This was based on the understanding that; as with most invasive plants, villagers on Lake Victoria’s shores may not be able to eliminate the hyacinth but by making use of it, they could control the plant’s invasion, and restore some of the lake’s health. <br/><br/> In August 2013, The Kenya Organic Research Centre for Excellence (KORCE) proposed to help environmentalists and fishermen rid lake waters of water hyacinth by using the plant as a raw material for generating electricity. The firm plans to generate power by harvesting the plants and feeding them into a bio-digester that will in turn produce gas to turn turbines that will produce electricity. <br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Invasive species in Lake Victoria, Kenya</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/kenya">Kenya</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Nyanza</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Kisumu</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Water Management</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Aquaculture and fisheries<br /> Invasive species</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/fish'>Fish</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Water hyacinth has covered as much as 680 square kilometres of the lake. Lake Victoria supports what may be the most productive freshwater fishery in the world. Annual fish yields exceed 500,000 tons, with a value of US$400 million. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none"> The lakes fisheries are currently dominated by three commercial species: the Nile perch, Tilapia and dagaa. The Nile perch has a lucrative market abroad, particularly in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Over 80 per cent of the fish in Lake Victoria is the Nile perch, a non-native species introduced in the lake a few decades ago. Tilapia is the only indigenous fish species left as food for the local communities in Mwanza region and many parts of Tanzania. <br/><br/> In addition to fishing, economic activities in the basin include agriculture, livestock, forestry, tourism, floriculture, hydropower generation, and transport. Crops grown in the watershed include maize, cotton, sisal, tobacco, beans, sugarcane, and coffee. <br/><br/> The KORCE firm has bought a $1.2 million machine for extracting the plant from the lake and built a factory in the village of Rare that will start processing water hyacinths towards the end of 2013, and is expected produce up to 120 megawatts of power daily. <br/><br/> KORCE also stated that that the operation is expected to create job opportunities for locals and supply free electricity to communities within a 50-kilometre radius. The firm plans to harvest 150 metric tonnes of water hyacinth during the first few months, and then increase production gradually. <br/><br/> The waste management plant will be put up on the shores of Lake Victoria at a cost of Sh100 million. <br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>6,880,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>4-5 million</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Lake Victoria Basin Commission; Lake Basin Development Authority; Water Resource Management Authority; Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/global-environment-facility'>Global Environment Facility <small>(GEF)</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project;, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization;, Friends of Lake Victoria</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>LOW (some local organising)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>Mobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Fishermen<br /> International ejos<br /> Local ejos</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Development of a network/collective action<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Other environmental related diseases</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Loss of livelihood</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution<br /> </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>As with most invasive plants, villagers on Lake Victoria’s shores may be able to eliminate the hyacinth but by making use of it, they could control the plant’s invasion, and restore some of the lake’s health.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Not Sure</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Water Hyacinth has been a major problem in Lake Victoria and a lasting solution has not yet been found despite efforts by scientists, local communities and environmentalists. Some organizations however believe that the best solution is finding ways of utilizing the invasive plant rather than trying to eliminate it. This is hoped to provide an alternative source of livelihood to fishermen, who relied on fishing, as fish stocks continue to dwindle as a result of the invasive plant.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Water Act; National Environment Management and Coordination Act; Fisheries Act; Agricultural Act<br/></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Aquatic Community <br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Worldlakes<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Sabahi Online<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Serah Munguti</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>08/04/2014</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>