No poisoning of fish on L. Victoria and Kyoga-Preliminary Findings
Following increased media reports about dead fish floating on water and being swept ashore on parts of Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga and River Nile, a team constituting of Senior Fisheries Inspectors, Senior Laboratory Officers and Laboratory Officers was dispatched by the Directorate of Fisheries Resources on 5th January 2021 and yesterday 9th January, 2021 Researchers from NARO’s National Fisheries Resources Research Institute on a fact finding mission that included sample collection from various landing sites in Wakiso district.
These sites were: Kasenyi landing site and surrounding areas, Gguda landing site (greenfields), Bugonga landing site and Kigungu Landing site and Wagagi Flower Farm and Lido beach.
From the interactions with the fishermen at the landing sites, many said that this is a usual phenomenon called Kaliro (hypoxia) that leads to fish death (kutumbuka), this time however, the fishermen said that the death rate was much higher than before as old and young nile perch fish were affected.
Samples (including the dead fish and water samples) were picked from the above mentioned landing Sites and these were taken for further analysis.
These samples have been taken for analysis at THREE labs as shown below:
(1) Directorate of Government Analytical laboratory (DGAL) – (for toxicology)
(2) National Fisheries Resources Research Institute Laboratory – (for Algae analysis), and
(3) National Animal Disease diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC) – (for Pesticide Residue Analysis)
Note: Water samples similar to those taken to NADDEC lab were also taken to Ministry of Water and Environment Laboratory for comparative and confirmatory analysis.
As we await the comprehensive laboratory findings report due on Monday January 11th, 2020, preliminary investigations have ruled out fish poisoning. As only the Nile Perch specie has been affected by this phenomenon.
Due to the stratification of the Lake, it is suspected that the recent storms on the lakes caused mixing of the different waters thereby reducing the oxygen levels in the lake.
However, tests are still being conducted and the general public will be updated on the findings from the tests
The public is called upon to disregard the audio circulating on social media calling upon people to stop eating fish as the fish from the regular catches can easily be distinguished from the floating dead fish.
The fishing community and general public along the lake shores is however advised to pick the dead fish and bury them to reduce the stench.
PIUS WAKABI KASAJJA
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries