Title: Co-management and value chain: the role of Nile perch in poverty eradication in Lake Victoria fishing communities

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The Nile perch, an introduced species into Lake Victoria, has led to commercialisation of the fishery and development of industrial export oriented trade. This paper examines the Nile perch export value chain, distribution of the benefits along the chain and its relevance in the fight against poverty among the fishing communities of Lake Victoria. The Nile perch export supply chain has six links: the fishermen >> middlemen >> agents >> fish processing factories >> fish exporters/importers >> retailers. In 2004 there were 13 fish processing factories operating in Uganda with over 500 fish supply agents. Over 6,000 fishing boats were specialised in the Nile perch fishery in the offshore waters of the Ugandan part of Lake Victoria and supplying fish for export processing. Using revenues from fish exports, the profit margin of each level of the Nile perch supply chain within Uganda was calculated. The fish processing factories received 63%, the factory agents 10%, the middlemen 10% and the fishing boat owners 17% of the total value added to the chain. Overall, the exports of Nile perch have had a positive impact on the macro economy and improved the income of the Lake Victoria fishing communities. The analysis of benefit distribution is linked to fisheries management. The level and development of fish stocks determines what the fishermen can catch, therefore influencing the operations along the value chain. Catches are stagnating despite increased fishing effort. This coupled with increased harvesting of immature Nile perch are threats to the sustainability of the lucrative value chain. This paper therefore, also gives a brief discussion on fisheries management in relation to the sustainability of the value chain.

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