Burunge Lake is among of the three lakes in Manyara region. The lake has 40 square kilometer and it has average depth of 8 miters. In spite of having other species such as tilapia, rockets, and catfish is the dominant specie in this lake. Catfish can be identified by their whisker-like barbells round the mouth which they use to locate food in dark water, and they vary from small, peaceful species to larger, more predatory species. These scales less bottom feeder eat a wide variety of foods, including algae, small fish, prepared food and scavenged debris. Therefore catfish are environmental cleaner.
They can be found in wide variety of habitats all over the world. The average size range from 2 to 8 inches long depending on species, and its life span up to 10 years with proper care, they require less space than saltwater fish about 1 inch per 1 gallon of water. This fish has ability of laying 100,000 eggs at once, which has made them to be a dominant species in Lake Burunge. Hormones can be injected to catfish and within 8 hours fertilization can take place, it is easier to do farming propagation because this species eat a wide variety of food. Communities surrounding Lake Burunge depends on products from the lake to sustain their lives and when come close to the lake you will find boots and people waiting product from fishermen. Mr. Ahmed Mbaruku Fisheries officer of Babati district said that “they can harvest up to 2 tons per day of catfish’’. There are different ways of harvesting fish from the lake; some are using hooks, and other are using fishing nets which catch large amount of fish at once.
Harvested fish from this lake feeds the population of Manyara region and some are being sold in kilombero market in Arusha town as fresh fish. From this fish trading practice the Babati district council collects revenue and it has help to improve service delivery to the community. The fisheries committee chairperson Patrick Wambura said they have been able to rehabilitate two primary schools; also they are now building a dispensary from collected revenue. Employment opportunity has been increased to those who involves in fishing activities.
However there are some human activities which are being carried out near the lake such as cultivation. The farm is being irrigated by water pumped from the lake and illegal fishing all this threats the sustainability of the catfish in Lake Burunge
For sustainability of this species there is a need of educating fishermen to stop illegal fishing, and farmers to cultivate 200mitres away from the lake. Babati district council, Fisheries officer, and experts have to involve community in decision making and make sure community is benefit from this potential resource so as to create a sense of ownership of the resource.