Lake Wamala, a small lake (180 km2) located in Central Uganda and believed to have been part of the main Lake Victoria and only got separated about 4000 years ago, has already undergone different levels of fisheries evolution that warrant using it as a case study to inform changes in other systems. Using resources provided by the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) II, under the Applied Research Facility, we evaluated the fishing inputs, socio-economic infrastructure and analyzed trends in fishery benefits to guide evolution of management advice.
A frame survey was conducted on the entire lake (13th - 23rd March 2012) enumerating all fishing factors and enlisting available and accessible socio-economic infrastructure along the shores of the lake. The lake traverses districts (Gomba, Mityana, and Mubende) with its largest portion lying in Mityana. There are 26 established fish landing sites and about 600 fishers with a similar number of boats on the lake. The total number of boats on the lake is almost equal to the number of fishers; illustrating the common type (paracute) and size (Small, about 4 m) of boats and hence a fishing crew structure of one fisher per boat. Main fishing gears are Gillnets targeting the tilapia (Ngege) and long line hooks (Protopterus, Mamba, and Clarias, Male). Almost equal number of boats used the two main gears on the lake (about 300 each). 97% of the gill nets on the lake are small (3.5” (8.9 cm – 4.5” – 11.4 cm) stretched mesh size while 98% of the hoots are large (< size 10). The implication is gill net fishers target small tilapia while long line fishers aim at the large mamba and male.
Generally the lake has poor socio-economic infrastructure compared to other lakes of Uganda probably due to its geo-morphological setting. The lakes fishing factors have continued to expand with the ever increasing population. There may be need to check the continued entry into the fisheries especially if the increasing effort does not translate into increase in fishery yield.