Record water levels mean new pond for tilapia fish

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Our project leader, William Isebaiddu, sent a message the other day from Uganda. Your donations are helping us to support his Singida tilapia fish breeding programme at Kibanga Village, Koome Island, on Lake Victoria. The Lake hosts hundreds of species of fish, but over fishing, agriculture and the introduced Nile perch have devastated Singida tilapia numbers. William and his team are now working hard to address the threats, and to set up a breeding programme.

Wild parents will be used for captive breeding and the offspring released back into the wild at an early stage to prevent the extinction of the species. Lots of brood stock – or founders – will be released into the shallows, areas that are less than 10m deep. The aim is to bolster and boost the numbers in these parts of the lake. This will produce sufficiently large populations to make them more resilient against the Nile perch which live in the deeper, more central areas.

William and his team have been busy, especially since recent record high water levels in and around Lake Victoria meant that their original choice of an area for a breeding facility had to be abandoned. With this initial set back behind them, they’ve set to work. Just 1km away from Nyanja Farm, their original site, is another farm owned by Ms Esther Nakayiba. Ms Nakayiba is a board member of Williams NGO, Hope for Nature. She’s offered space and now the new breeding pond is under construction. It’s close to a freshwater stream, adjacent to Lake Victoria, which means the water will natural flow through an inlet, fitted with a wire mesh to prevent any wild stocks swimming in.

When the breeding facility is finished, it will be stocked with 300 brood stock, as advised by George W. Kafeero, the fisheries expert. Each female lays hundreds of eggs at a time. When the fingerlings – little fish – are 7-8cm they’ll be moved to the acclimatisation pond at Nyanja Farm, where the water is more similar to the water in the lake. The operation is being overseen by Obedi Nsubuga, who is the organisation’s Programmes Manager. William and his team are pleased with the progress so far and are looking forward to when the brood stock can be brought to Ms Nakayiba’s farm, and the breeding begins.

Learn more about this project by visiting the project page:

Lead photo credit Anton Wagner

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