Nile Perch (Victoria Perch) – Export, Threats, Invasive Species and More
Nile Perch ‘’Lates niloticus’’, a.k.a the Goliath perch, Goliath barramundi, the Giant lates or the Victoria perch, African snook, and African giant perch, is an indigen of fresh-water fish in the clan of Latidae of order Percomorpha. It is widely distributed throughout the majority of the African peninsula. It is a bloodline to the Nile, Senegal, Congo, Niger, Lake Chad, Lake Turkana, lake Volta, and several watershed. It also forms in the saline adam’s ale of Lake Maryut found in Egypt. The Nile Perch is of exponential economic and food-reliability importance in East Africa. Initially reported as Labrus niloticus in the Marine Ballan circle, the species has also been known as Centropomus niloticus. Standard denominations include Victoria perch (a misplaced trade tag because the species is not an indigen to Lake Victoria, it was just introduced by the British) and African snook. Many locals called it several names in various African tongues, such as the “Luo name mputa or mbuta.” In Tanzania, it is referred to as “sangara, chenku, or sankara.” In the french-speaking African territories, it is called “capitaine.” The Hausas call it “giwan ruwa,” which stands for “water elephant.”
Descriptively, Nile Perch is silver in complexion with a blue stain, distinctive dark-black eyes, with a bright-yellow exterior disc. Fishes of this species reach a maximum length of two meters (6 feet ft 7 inches), making them one of the substantial freshwater fishes. Nile Perch typically grows to a height of 1.21–1.37 m (4feet 0 inches –4 feet 6 inches), although they’re often caught before they reach the size. The Nile Perch is a fierce predator with 100% occupancy of the oxygen concentrated areas of the lake, while weaker fishes are restricted to shallow waters and nearby environments. It feeds on everything, including its kind, such as crustaceans and insects that feed on plants. Nile Perches uses coordinated swimming tactics to protect themselves from other predators.
Nile perch have since been introduced to many different lakes across Africa, some of which are the artificial lake Nasser and Lake Victoria. The World Conservation Union’s Invasive Species Specialist Group places L. Niloticus as the world’s 100 worst invading species.
Queensland in Australia fines those who possess living Nile perch Because they compete with native barramundi, Which grows almost as big as Nile Perch. With a length of 1.5 m (4 feet 11 inches) long, while L. Niloticus grows to 2.0 m (6 feet 7 inches).
The species is of immense importance commercially as a fish used for food. The Nile perch is popular amongst sport anglers, as it is good at attacking artificial fishing bait and can also be raised in aquafarms.
Lake Victoria Introduction
One of the most cited examples of the harmful effects an alien species can have on an ecosystem is the Nile Perch species introduction into Lake Victoria. In the 1950s, Nile Perch was introduced to Lake Victoria in East Africa; since then, it has been used commercially. They were bringing in a sale of 169 million euros in 2003. Sports fishing also ramped up tourism in the regions of Tanzania and Uganda.
Several 100 native species were wiped out or near wiped out following its introduction due to the ecological effects. Some species’ populations were altered due to commercial fishing and Nile perch stocking. After initially feeding on native Lake Victoria Cichlids, Nile Perch has switched to eating small shrimps and minnows due to decreasing availability of its original prey.
The changing of the indigenous ecosystem had destructive socioeconomic effects on local villages that shears their border with the lake. Many local people were displaced from their traditional occupations in the fishing trade and pushed into a cash economy, or before export-oriented fish tanks were established, they became economic refugees. At least the ability to manufacture nets durable enough to hold adult
Nile perch was initially not possible locally, and nets had to be imported at a high price, which allowed local fishing to sustain.
Also, ecologically Nile perch was a nightmare to the shorelines. Due to its high-fat content, Nile Perch needs to be smoked with firewood, unlike the native cichlids, Which could be sun-dried. This process has increased demand for firewood in areas already suffering from deforestation, desertification, and soil erosion. To maintain the Nile Perch from getting rotten.
The 2004 Darwin’s Nightmare, produced by Hubert Sauper that was nominated for Best Documentary, deals exponentially with the impact of Nile perch introduction into Lake Victoria and the use of the cargo plane that was meant to export Nile Perch to import firearms and ammunition from Europe. And how these weapons had cost more conflicts and made the people of the surrounding regions live in poverty, pain, and unfavorable conditions. Hubert Sauper further explains that whether you consider the introduction of Nile Perch positive or negative, it has ecologically drained, destroyed, and impoverished the lake. Especially its predatorial behavior, which led to the extinction of many other species. While the ecosystem finds its balance, it is for sure that neither the former condition of the lake nor present new fish conditions can bring back what has been lost.
In Lake Victoria, there are only small trawlers belonging to research institutes. In small boats, sails are the primary means of propulsion, with paddles being used on most miniature ships. However, boats propelled by outboard engines are becoming more prevalent, indicating that the local Nile perch fishery has become more capital intensive.
One to three anglers use a boat. Fish are caught primarily using gill nets and handlines, with some [short] long lines being used. In most cases, the fish caught in gill nets are dead when the yields are lifted. During transportation, the fish are kept in the boat without protection or ice and taken to landing sites, primarily beaches, where they are weighed and bought by companies using enclosed boats or vans with ice or by locals.
The fishery business has also employed multitudes of fish transporters, factory employees, and fish processors. In response to the fishing crew’s needs, boomtowns have developed along the Lakeshore. These towns resemble shantytowns with little in the way of service. In the 2004 frame survey, only 20% of 1433 landing sites provided communal restrooms, only 4% provided electricity, and only 6% were equipped with portable water.
Threats Faced by Nile Perch
The Nile Perch fish faces its challenges despite being an invasive species. As a species of megafauna, the most prominent threats to the species stem from overfishing and using unapproved fishing gear and other forms of invasive water orchids. Depletion of prey also plays a significant role, as it reduces the size of fishes and makes them more vulnerable and vulnerable to larger predators, such as crocodiles.
Nile Perch Export
In Uganda, a group of investors is calling on the Ugandan Parliament to ban the sale of this species on both local and regional markets to protect the export to EU markets.
For more articles related to lakes in Tanzania and their inhabitants click here!