Benefits from Lake Victoria fisheries

Reducing poverty and contributing to economic growth

The fisheries of Lake Victoria make a substantial contribution to poverty reduction and economic growth within the region. Over 2 million people are supported by the fisheries and the annual fish consumption needs of almost 22 million people in the region are met by the lake alone, making a significant contribution to regional food security.

Fisheries contribute to poverty reduction and economic growth at all levels: individual, household, community, local government and national, through employment, income, food security, revenue-raising and foreign exchange earnings from international exports.

Co-management is making further reductions in income and social poverty by building inclusive management structures and systems, and securing access rights to the fisheries resources.

How is LVFO tackling poverty and ensuring that fisheries contribute more to economic growth?

LVFO is tackling poverty within the fisheries communities, and is increasing the contribution of fisheries to regional economic growth, through:

Reducing social poverty and building skills and capacity


Establishing, and building the capacity of, a lake-wide network of Beach Management Units for fisheries co-management. Around 1000 BMUs are being formed, creating a substantial network of community-based organizations that provide an entry point for development assistance to fishing communities.
    Empowering the poor and women to participate in fisheries management. The BMUs are mandated to promote membership and participation of boat crew, traditionally the poorer members of fishing communities, and women to make sure their views and priorities are included in planning and decision-making.

Reducing income poverty

    Securing access to fisheries resources. Licensing procedures are being reviewed and will provide greater security of access and will promote poverty reduction and gender equity. This will improve employment and incomes.
    Improving fish handling and quality. Infrastructure improvement and training in fish handling and processing will help to ensure that the quality of the fish is maintained along the marketing chain, leading to higher prices and more income for fishers and traders, many of whom are women.
    Training in entrepreneurship. Numerous small-scale businesses exist within fisheries and the fishing communities will further build their businesses after training in business skills and entrepreneurship.
    Improving access to savings and credit. LVFO is working with partners to improve the access that fishing communities have to savings and credit facilities, so that they can build their businesses and create safety nets for their families.
    Assisting women to benefit more from fisheries resources. LVFO is targeting assistance to women to help them benefit more from fisheries resources, through participation in management, training and access to boat licences. Targeting women is the best way of tackling intra-household poverty.

Contributing to local and national economic growth and development

    Increasing revenue for reinvestment in fisheries management and development at national and local levels. Revenue is raised for local and national government, and by BMUs for fisheries management and beach development.
    Foreign exchange earnings from exports. The export of Nile perch brings much-needed foreign exchange earnings into the region, enabling vital imports to be obtained and contributing to greater food security.
    Improving infrastructure and access to services. Fishing communities traditionally are poorly served by good infrastructure and services. By empowering communities, building the capacity of BMUs to participate in planning and mobilising resources, access to good infrastructure and many services will improve.
    Tackling HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS presents a tremendous challenge to the fishing communities of East Africa and increases the vulnerability and poverty of many individuals and households. LVFO is developing a strategy to tackle HIV/AIDS in fishing communities, which will include working to improve livelihoods and build safety nets.
    Contributing to regional food security. Fish from Lake Victoria feed around 22 million people in the region with their annual fish intake – making a significant contribute to regional food security.

How do Lake Victoria Fisheries contribute to the Millennium Development Goals?

The Millennium Development Goals were agreed internationally and are to be achieved by 2015. Lake Victoria fisheries contribute to achieving the millennium goals in the following ways:

Contribution of Lake Victoria Fisheries and the management approach

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
    Economic development
    Regional food security

Achieve universal primary education
    Improving infrastructure, including classrooms at, or near, the beaches
    Building awareness and capacity
    Building BMUs as an entry point to fishing communities for development assistance

Promote gender equity and empower women
        BMU Committees required to include women
        Targeted activities to build capacity of women and improve their status

Reduce child mortality
    Activities to improve livelihoods of women will help all in households, especially children

Improve maternal health
    Activities to improve livelihoods of women will increase their awareness and capacity
    Improve access to health facilities

Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
    Working with partners to improve access to HIV/AIDS services and health facilities

Ensure environmental sustainability
    Co-management promotes sustainable fishing and sustainable management of the environment

Develop a global partnership for development
    LVFO works with all partners to contribute to development within the region