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The Potential for Aquaculture in Lake Victoria and Implications for Wild Fisheries and Fish Commodity Markets

In the face of stagnating wild fisheries in Lake Victoria and a rapidly growing human population around its shores, aquaculture may improve food and livelihood security in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. What is the potential for aquaculture around Lake Victoria and what are the implications for wild fisheries, global and local supplies of fish, and regional economic development? This project addresses the four key components of the NSF CNH program.

(1) Within the natural subsystem, dynamics of fish abundance are regulated by predation, competition, and lake productivity.

(2) Within the human subsystem, dynamics of demand for fish are driven by local fish consumption and global fish exports.

(3) The natural subsystem supplies fish catch to the human subsystem, and

(4) the human subsystem impacts fisheries through fishing effort.

Aquaculture straddles the human and natural subsystems and links them through additional production of fish and response to demand. We will investigate the effects of aquaculture on wild fisheries and commodity markets through an ecosystem accounting model (MIMES) that links lake biological dynamics with human socio-economic dynamics. New environmental, biological and socio-economic data will be collected through trawl, acoustic, and questionnaire-based surveys. New and existing data will be synthesized with GIS. The expansion of a forecasting model (International Futures or IFs) will investigate effects of global demand dynamics on our system. Finally, MIMES will be used to assess scenarios of aquaculture growth and tradeoffs in fish population dynamics, food security, and income security in East Africa.