“The rate at which fish is being consumed is posing a threat to the existence of fish in Lake Burunge”. This has been observed at Lake Burunge in Bahati District where by some fish species which are found in this lake such as cut fish, aprochromus, Oreochromis, tilapia and rocket have all been threatened by human activities around the lake. Several species of these have been greatly overfished and killed by pesticides from farms along the lake.
These fish species have been harvested beyond their natural reproductive rate to sustain communities along this lake and traders populations. Most recently, the increase number of fish businessman at this lake has finely tuned concerns over fisheries community along the lake, on ability to responsibly manage natural aquatic resources. Since the starting of this commercial fishing ground, evidence is mounting that the fish populations are beginning to finish, although the process may take decades.
Explaining on the negative human activities threatening fish at Lake Burunge, the Bahati Fisheries officer Mr. Mbaruku said “the effects of over fishing, draining water for watering vegetables, farms irrigations and the use pesticide chemicals are some of the common human activities that pollute the lake and makes the aquatic organisms life in a great risk. Explaining some of the common risks he continued saying “water with chemicals destroys plankton which is a source of food for fish. The destruction of the plankton has led to disappearance of some species of tilapia fish, but there some steps which has already taken towards the protection of Lake Burunge which including the plan of having beach management units (BMU) to deliberation immune to the effects he added.
Answering one of the questions asked by YETs on the most threatened type of fishes in lake Burunge, Mr. Elinaida Makoi who introduced himself as a fish buyer said most seriously threatened fishes found in lake Burunge are catfish, because it is the only dominant species in the lake and are mostly threatened by environmentally insensitive and illegal fishing at the lake. He continued saying, many unique catfish species are now found only in a small area because of the isolation by land barriers. Thus, water pollution or habitat destruction in streams is being devastating to fish populations or even entire species. Makoi continued saying lake is experiencing the increasing human populations along the lake; the effects are bound to intensify unless preventive actions are undertaken.
Fortunately, significant advances in fisheries knowledge of the effects of pollutants and habitat change have started improving habitat restoration and pollution control and some restorations of zooplanktons and phytoplankton in Lake Burunge.
In spite of these problems, fisheries can be successfully managed to reduce the effects of previous overfishing and to prevent further abuse by having small dams where artificial fish breading can be done to each household around lake Burunge Mr Mbaruku suggested. The suggestion was very much supported by the chairman of fisheries community along Lake Burunge Mr. Mathew who said “that could be one of the proper management that requires timely and accurate data on fish populations and harvest, as well as the ability to strictly enforce the protection of vulnerable fish species at Lake Burunge.
Bright Sospeter – YET 2011