East African Community (EAC) officials from Kenya Uganda and Tanzania are set to meet to discuss the grand five-year project-True Fish-that starts this year. According to media reports, the gathering of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectoral Council of Ministers that starts on February 1 will be preceded by the Coordination Committee Session on January 31 and the Senior Officials Sessions on January 28 through 29, 2019.
In a press statement from the EAC Secretariat, progress of implementation of the True-Fish project at Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) that covers the three countries will be deliberated during the meetings.
The five-year fish farming project runs from this year to 2024 under a US $11.5m that the European Development Fund will finance. The project will be executed on, particularly, Lake Victoria Basin in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This is following the failure of measures of the riparian countries around the lake to successfully manage the capture of fisheries and the steady decline of Nile perch and tilapia.
At the same time, aquaculture is yet to develop its potential and accounts for only 7-8% of the regional fish consumption. Considering population growth, increasing incomes and urbanization, overall demand for fish in the region is projected to increase substantially in the near future. Developing aquaculture to meet the demand for fish in the region is crucial, hence the European Union (EU) intervention to support EAC.
In May last year, the EAC Secretary General Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko called for EAC member states to allocate more resources towards the development of fish farming in the region as a solution to mitigate the declining fish stocks in the water bodies in the community.