Impact of Nile perch (Lates niloticus) overfishing on fishers’ income: Evidence from Lake Victoria, Tanzania

Eliaza Mkuna & Lloyd JS Baiyegunhi

Despite the crucial role played by Nile perch in the income of fishers around Lake Victoria, Tanzania, fishing pressure has increased in recent years and has led to overfishing and, consequently, a risk to the lake’s future sustainability and the fishers’ livelihoods. This study used data collected in 2018 from 268 randomly selected sample fishers at 10 landing sites across Lake Victoria. In conjunction with the endogenous switching regression model, the potential impact of Nile perch overfishing on the fishers’ income per fishing trip in Lake Victoria was evaluated. The results show that there is a significant difference in the socio-economic, institutional and fishing effort characteristics of Nile perch fishers who overfish and those who do not. In particular, Nile perch fishers who overfish earn significantly higher incomes per fishing trip than fishers who do not overfish. The study recommends the need for policy makers to develop policies that acknowledge the dynamics of socio-economic, institutional and fishing effort factors. In addition, more flexible fish quota restrictions and consistent fishing patrols need to be enforced to ensure compliance with fishery regulations. These measures should promote a balance between the sustainability of fishery resources and an improved income for Nile perch fishers in Lake Victoria.