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An Overview of the Current Status of Lake Naivasha Fishery: Challenges and Management Strategies

James Njiru, Edna Waithaka, Peninah A. Aloo

Lake Naivasha a shallow, freshwater body and a Ramsar site is found in the eastern arm of the Kenyan Rift Valley. This paper used published, unpublished and analyzed data to assess the status, challenges and management options for the fishery. Lake Naivasha fishery is based on exotic species that fluctuates depending on fishing regime, lake water level and aquatic plant concentrations. The fishery has been dominated by different species with the current catch contribution consisting mainly of common carp, Cyprinus carpio, Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, blue-spotted tilapia, O. leucostictus and African catfish, Clarias gariepinus. The minimum and maximum catch of 21 t yr-1 and 1181 t yr-1 was reported in 1997 and 2015, respectively. The main threats to the lake fishery are anthropogenic influences emanating from within the lake and its basin. The factors include intense fishing, exotic species introductions, water abstraction, lake level fluctuations, wetland utilization, eutrophication, and land degradation. There are also several conflicts of interest amongst the stakeholders in agriculture, fisheries, wildlife, tourism, conservation and geothermal electricity generation. There is fear that if the current trend persists, the lake and its fishery may be headed for extinction. The management measures instituted in the lake do not seem to have arrested reduction in fish catches nor reversed deterioration in water quality. For sustainable utilization of Lake Naivasha and its fishery, there is a need to consider a holistic ecosystem approach of the basin management. Additionally, all the relevant stakeholders should be involved in formulation and implementation of the decisions to manage the fishery.

March 31, 2017

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