The adoption of rack cage fish farming in Jinja district has boosted the stocks in Lake Victoria. Early in 2012, government, under the Uganda – China Friendship Agriculture Technology Centre introduced a $5 million three years pilot cage fish farming project. The system emphasizes proper management of fish in natural waters stocked in mesh size nets. 50 pilot rack cages were fixed in Lake Victoria.
Between 400 to 500 young fish per cubic meter are stocked in a 25 square meter mesh cage. Barry Kamira, a Cage Culture Research Scientist at National Fisheries Resources Research Institute –NaFIRRI says at least three tons of mature fish are harvested every three months.
Liu Guanghu, the In Charge of the Cage Culture pilot project says the fish harvest has been boosted by a minimum of 12 tons of fish every year from 50 rack cages in Jinja alone compared to 300,000 tons caught from the 31,000 km2 of Lake Victoria in Uganda in 2011. Dr. Stephen Kiwemba, the Jinja district production officer says rack cage fish farming has a huge potential provided the farmers are guaranteed of security.
Magid Magumba, the Chairman Jinja Beach Management Unit says there is need to tighten security to support the farmers engaged in the project. In 2011, fish was stolen from cages in Masese in Jinja district. Fish is Uganda’s second highest foreign exchange earner after coffee.
However, the fish stocks have been deteriorating because of illegal fishing practices. Export volumes slumped by over 30% from 23,000 tons in 2008 to 15,417 in 2011. Jackson Wadanya, Commissioner Fisheries says Government targets to increase annual fish production from aquaculture to 300,000 tons up from 90,000 by 2016