Distribution of economic benefits from the fisheries of Lake Victoria
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Corporate AuthorMinistry of Water and Irrigation, Nairobi (Kenya)
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe Lake Victoria fishery contributes immensely to the socio-economic development of the riparian states. The East African Community has designated the lake basin as an ‘economic growth zone’, with the potential to develop into a major economic region. The fisheries are vital in creating employment opportunities, mostly rural-based, thereby helping to reduce rural-urban migration. Fish is also a rich source of animal protein for human consumption and provides raw material (fishmeal) for processing animal feeds. The fish industry contributes to GDP and has continued to be an important source of foreign exchange earned from fish exports. Besides, the fish industry contributes to the national and local government revenues through levying of various taxes, levies and license fees. The sector has also contributed directly and indirectly to the improvement of physical infrastructure and social facilities, such as roads, schools and hospitals, particularly in remote fishing communities. Based on current stock estimates, the lake has the potential to yield fish valued at over US$ 800 million annually on a sustainable basis. Further processing and marketing the fish in the local and export markets could provide opportunity to generate additional earnings. Currently, however, only about 500,000 tonnes of fish is landed annually, with an average landing value of approximately US$ 600 million. However, the distribution of these benefits at the regional, national and individual levels is often not equitable. High disparities in distribution of benefits is considered undesirable as it creates a sense of social injustice among the beneficiaries; can be an obstacle for self-sustaining growth; is a limitation in uplifting the resource users out of poverty; leads to low compliance to fisheries regulations and hinders attaining sustainable fisheries exploitation. The paper assesses the distribution of economic benefits from the fisheries, using selected indicators. It reveals disparities in the benefits at the regional as well as at the local levels, with more benefits accruing to the upper levels of the fish marketing chain. The disparities are attributed to unequal distribution in production assets such as capital, skills and credit facilities; free-market price determination mechanisms; inadequate access to market and other useful information; limited investment horizon and opportunities among fishers; inadequate policies to deal with disparities in distribution and insufficient data for distribution analysis to feed into the policy process. In order to streamline distribution, the paper proposes, among other things; establishing suitable savings and credit schemes, empowering BMUs to organise fishers for marketing, improving market information flow through electronic and print, operationalising the Fish Levy Trust Fund for infrastructural and social facility development, improving policies and improving data availability.
JournalProceedings of the 11th World Lakes Conference - Volume 2
Conference Name11th World Lakes Conference
Conference LocationNairobi (Kenya)