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Invasive species in Lake Victoria, Kenya


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.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Invasive species in Lake Victoria, Kenya
State or province:Nyanza
(municipality or city/town)Kisumu
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Invasive species
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities:Fish
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

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.

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Project area:6,880,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:4-5 million
Relevant government actors:Lake Victoria Basin Commission; Lake Basin Development Authority; Water Resource Management Authority; Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
International and Finance InstitutionsGlobal Environment Facility (GEF) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project;, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization;, Friends of Lake Victoria
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
translation missing: en.m.mobilizing_groups.fisher_people
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of alternatives: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.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: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.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Water Act; National Environment Management and Coordination Act; Fisheries Act; Agricultural Act

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Aquatic Community
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Sabahi Online
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Meta information
Contributor:Serah Munguti
Last update08/04/2014