Lake Victoria climate change, fish supply scenario daunting

19Jul 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Lake Victoria climate change, fish supply scenario daunting

The survival of millions of people whose livelihoods depend on Lake Victoria is at stake if climate change impacts on the water body are not controlled, experts warned yesterday.

Speaking at an awareness event on the highway project to support Lake Victoria social and economic activities in Dar es Salaam, the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) Acting Director General Dr Ladislaus Chang’a said the impact of increased severe weather events on the lake affects the economy of people living within the Lake Victoria basin.

“Extreme events such as severe convection and strong winds have impacted the availability of fish catch and increased marine accidents. These have in turn affected human livelihoods. These impacts are of great concern to the national economy,” he said.

The project brings together partners including the national meteorological services of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) along with the United States National Center for Atmospheric Research, managed by the World Meteorological Organisation and funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Dr Chang’a noted that there have been high and rising temperatures within the lake, and high humidity which if left as it is, in the next 20 years marine life will be endangered.

Despite the fact that climate information products and services are readily available, climate products generation, transmissions and sharing are still a challenge in the Lake Victoria basin, he stated.

“These effects arose from inadequate early warning systems, limited integration between producers and users to develop innovative, accurate and tailor-made Early Warning Services (EWS),” he said.

This would have been realized through co-production of those services but there were limited avenues for improved communication, creating ineffective use of Early Warning Services (EWS) products by relevant stakeholders, he asserted.

The objective of the project is to analyze happenings around the lake to minimize harm and potential disasters to social and marine life, he said.

The successful implementation of the highway project will enhance provision of accurate, reliable and timely weather and climate related products, he said.

Information on such products will be available in a cost-effective and sustainable manner to minimize loss of life and damage to property along the Lake Victoria Basin.

Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes, home to 28 species of freshwater snails and many others. The abundance of aquatic life is just a part of the dependency hierarchy on the lake, as more than 30 million people in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda rely on the water body.