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Commemorating World Fisheries Day – Stakeholders call for more Investment in Fish Farming

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The Minister of State for Fisheries, Hon. Hellen Adoa, and the Archbishop of Gulu Dioscese, His Grace John Baptist Odama arrive for celebrations to mark World Fisheries Day on 22nd November 2021, Layibi Gulu City

Theme of the 2021 World Fisheries Day celebrations:“Recognizing and Supporting the Contribution and Sustainable Development of Small Scale Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture”

The World Fisheries Day celebrated on 21st November annually presents an opportunity for stakeholders in the fishing industry to reflect on the state of Fisheries resources.

On 22nd November 2021, Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate the day. The celebrations to mark the day were held at St. Isidoro (Negri) Bar-Dege, Layibi Division in Gulu City. The event was presided over by the Minister of State for Fisheries, Hon. Hellen Adoa and attended by major actors in the fisheries industry in Uganda as well as political and religious leaders from Gulu District.

Highlighting the achievements and challenges faced by the fisheries sector globally, participants expressed concern over the continued depletion of fish from water bodies as a result illegal and unregulated fishing methods.

Dr. Jackson Efitre (2nd L) explaining to the Minister how the solar tent drier works.
Dr. Jackson Efitre (2nd L) explaining to the Minister how the solar tent drier works.

Addressing participants, the Minister of State for Fisheries, Hon. Hellen Adoa called for more investment in fish farming to salvage the industry. “The fishing sector is faced with numerous challenges. The persistent use of illegal fishing gears and methods has resulted in catching and processing of immature fish. This has led to the decline of fish stocks reducing fish catches and consequently undermining the contribution of the sector to the economy,” she explained, calling on the general public to embrace aquaculture.

“Uganda is well endowed with water resources, good climate and raw materials for the production of fish feeds. With all these, we are well positioned to undertake aquaculture. Aquaculture can be practiced on commercial scale, in ponds, tanks and cages and has great potential to fill the gap created by the declining fish catches from natural water bodies. It also has potential to provide employment,” she noted.

The Minister acknowledged the support rendered by various actors towards the development of the fishing industry, one of the country’s major foreign exchange earners.

Emphasizing the contribution of the Fisheries Sector to the economy, the Director Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ms Joyce Ikwaput Nyeko called for concerted efforts to address the challenges affecting the industry.

The NutriFish Uganda project team with the Minister.
The NutriFish Uganda project team with the Minister.

“Uganda is blessed with a lot of water resources with 20% of our surface area covered by lakes, rivers, swamps, and has potential to provide 1.7 million tonnes from both aquaculture and capture fisheries. This is however undermined by numerous challenges including unregulated fishing, lost fish habitats and global warming. This calls for drastic interventions to sustain the industry,” she said.

Currently, Uganda exports fish worth USD 177 million and is second to coffee in foreign exchange earnings from non-traditional exports. The fishing industry in Uganda provides employment to 1.2 million people and supports 5.3 million people. Besides the commercial benefits, fish and fisheries products play an important role in food and nutritional security around the world. 

Representing Hauge Aqua, Dr. Ronald Semyalo, a Lecturer at the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University called for more training and skilling of youth in Fisheries and Aquaculture as a measure to minimize unemployment. The Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, Makerere University supports training in fisheries and aquaculture at various institutions in the country.

Exhibitions

The Minister touring the exhibition stall of NutriFish Uganda, a project under Makerere University Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS).
The Minister touring the exhibition stall of NutriFish Uganda, a project under Makerere University Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS).

As part of the activities to mark the day, key stakeholders in the fishing industry including the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO); NutriFish Uganda; and the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI) showcased some of their products.

Exhibition by NutriFish Uganda

Supported by the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) through their joint programme, Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF), NutriFish aims to address the nutritional needs of vulnerable groups that cannot afford expensive commercial fish but are in critical need of high quality nutritious diets.

As key stakeholders in Uganda’s fishing industry, the project team led by Dr Jackson Efitre actively participated in the exhibition to mark World Fisheries Day in Gulu City. At their stall, the researchers showcased some of their products from small pelagic fish, actively engaging and explaining to participants the nutritional benefits and the product flow process of the fish. Some of the products showcased included, composite flour enriched with mukene (silver fish), Baghia from Nile Perch, fish sauce with mukene, instant porridge enriched with mukene, fish seasoning with mukene, mukene snack and the solar tent drier.

Graduation Ceremony – Award of a Certificate in Community Aquaculture, Level 1 

Officials and Graduates from Community Aquaculture Schools in Gulu and Arua Districts pose for a photo with the Minister after receiving their certificates.
Officials and Graduates from Community Aquaculture Schools in Gulu and Arua Districts pose for a photo with the Minister after receiving their certificates.

During the ceremony, 100 students from two community aquaculture schools in Arivu, Arua District and at St. Isidoro Farm in Gulu District graduated with a Certificate in Community Aquaculture, Level 1. The graduation ceremony was presided over by Gulu Archdiocese Archbishop, His Grace John Baptist Odama.

The two schools were established with support from Caritas International as part of the contribution of the Catholic Church towards the development of aquaculture in Uganda, and eradication of poverty and hunger in line with sustainable development goals 1 and 2. The project aims to uplift the lives of the vulnerable and unemployed youth and women through creating skills in fish farming, entrepreneurship, and cooperatives for marketing products in the fish value chain. To date, 1,051 students have completed training at these schools.

In his remarks, the National Director, Caritas Uganda, Msgr. Dr. Francis Ndamira appreciated the support rendered by Makerere University Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences towards the training of students.

Traditional dancers entertain guests at the World Fisheries Day celebrations held at St. Isidoro (Negri) Bar-Dege, Layibi Division in Gulu City on 22nd November 2021.
Traditional dancers entertain guests at the World Fisheries Day celebrations held at St. Isidoro (Negri) Bar-Dege, Layibi Division in Gulu City on 22nd November 2021.

Natural Sciences

Two Nutrifish-sponsored PhD students win awards of best oral presentations at ICAFA

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NutriFish team at the ICAFA conference held from 1st to 3rd September, 2022 in Jinja, Uganda. L-R: Dr. Winnie Nkalubo, PhD Students Julliet Nafula Ogubi and Herbert Nakiyende, Dr. Margaret Masette and Dr. Jackson Efitre (NutriFish PI).

Two of the NutriFish-sponsored PhD students, Nakiyende Herbert and Julliet Nafula Ogubi won the awards for the best and second-best oral presentations in the young scientists’ category at the International Conference on Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (ICAFA) held in Jinja, Uganda from 1st-3rd September 2022.  The conference was organized under the theme “Breaking new grounds to recognize and celebrate the contribution of small-scale fisheries towards food security and nutrition”.   

Julliet Nafula Ogubi (L) and Herbert Nakiyende (R) with their awards at the conference.
Julliet Nafula Ogubi (L) and Herbert Nakiyende (R) with their awards at the conference.

Supported by the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) through their joint programme, Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF), NutriFish aims to address the nutritional needs of vulnerable groups that cannot afford expensive commercial fish but are in critical need of high quality nutritious diets. The Project is coordinated by Dr. Jackson Efitre, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University.

Dr. Jackson Efitre (NuriFish PI) with Herbert Nakiyende.
Dr. Jackson Efitre (NuriFish PI) with Herbert Nakiyende.

The title for Nakiyende Herbert’s presentation was: “Are small pelagic fisheries a blessing or curse? Understanding fisher community perceptions towards light fishing on Lake Albert, Uganda”.

Light fishing, the technique of catching fish by light attraction was introduced to Lake Albert, Uganda around early 2000s, to target two small pelagic species (SPS), Engraulicypris bredoi (muziri) and Brycinus nurse (ragoogi). The introduction of light fishing coincided with a period when stocks of large-bodied fishes, such as Tilapia spp, Lates niloticus, Bagras bajad, Alestes baremose, and Hydrocynus forskahlii in the Ugandan waters of Lake Albert had started to decline. Although Lake Albert is shared by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), light fishing is prohibited in DRC waters. This study evaluated socio-ecological consequences of light fishing on the fisheries and lakeside communities of Lake Albert in Uganda, to inform sustainable management. Data was collected in April 2021 from three landing sites (Ntoroko, Kaiso, and Dei), through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Light fishing has transformed the lake’s annual fish catch from < 60,000 tonnes (t) in early 2000s, mainly of large species to about 330,000 t, dominated by SPS (60 – 80%) by 2021. The SPS light fishery currently engages over 30% of total fishing boats and 60% of fishers in the Ugandan waters of the lake. The technique has also led to conflicts with fishers targeting the large-bodied species, the main concerns being: i) excessive light fishing effort; ii) competition for fishing grounds; iii) high by-catch (~10%) dominated by juveniles of the large species; and iv) destruction of passive fishing gears used in the large-bodied species fisheries. To ensure co-existence in the multi-species fishery and continued livelihood benefits (employment, income, and food) of the SPS light fishery, resting and closed periods and light-fishery effort control were proposed by 95.4% of respondents. Detailed scientific investigation of the light fishing methods is recommended, to guide on the proposed closed season and fishing effort controls.

Julliet Nafula Ogubi with her award at ICAFA.
Julliet Nafula Ogubi with her award at ICAFA.

Julliet Nafula Ogubi’s presentation was on: “Spoilage mechanisms and associated drivers in post-harvest loss management in freshwater small pelagic fishes in Africa”.

Small pelagic fishes (SPFs) are steadily being recognized for their contribution to livelihoods, food and nutritional security especially in developing countries. The SPFs are schooling fishes with a total length of 20 cm, preserved mainly by open sun-drying.  Despite the bulk harvests, post-harvest losses associated with spoilage continue to hamper their availability, accessibility and consumption. A review of available literature on similar marine species revealed that spoilage commences immediately after harvest and progresses through three cascading but overlapping processes: autolytic (enzymatic), microbial and chemical reactions causing physical, quality, nutritional and economic losses. Spoilage in SPF is accelerated by i) their large surface to volume ratio; ii) the reliance on fluctuating sun radiation for drying which depends on prevailing weather condition; c) limited drying spaces for large quantities landed.  With regard to magnitude of losses, spoilage-related quality deterioration and nutritional changes in fish are rarely evaluated, hence associated economic value is lacking. The magnitude of losses attributed directly to the spoilage mechanisms have not been determined in freshwater SPFs, yet cost-effective interventions target significant processes. Handling practices, especially stacking and mixing of different fish hauls as drivers of spoilage mechanisms have not also been evaluated.  In addition, the effect of prolonged trips and lack of controlled temperature on-board, are less understood. Therefore, an urgent in-depth assessment of quality and nutritional losses and the associated economic value; the contribution of each spoilage mechanism to the magnitude of losses and the effect of handling practices on the rate of spoilage among freshwater SPFs is needed.

 (https://sf-initiative.org/conference/)

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Dr. Perpetra Akite wins British Ecological Society Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa

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Dr. Perpetra Akite, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University.

Dr. Perpetra Akite has been awarded the Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa.  This prize aims to celebrate the significant scientific achievements of African ecologists and raise their profile in the UK. It is provided by the Marsh Charitable Trust and administered by the British Ecological Society.

Dr. Akite is one of Uganda’s leading entomologists and experts in butterflies. She has made important advances in improving knowledge around insects in Uganda, contributing to assessing and mapping key ecologically sensitive species in the country. She has even had a moth named after her.  

Dr. Akite is also passionate about passing on her knowledge to younger generations and takes part in a great deal of outreach activities at both school and university level. Her goal is to encourage more young people – especially African girls – to begin a career in science.

The winners will be presented with their prizes during a ceremony held at the BES Annual Meeting which runs from 18th – 21st December in Edinburgh. The meeting will bring together over 1000 ecologists (in person and online) to discuss the latest advances in ecological research across the whole discipline.

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PESCA Call For Applications: Short Courses Training in Aquaculture

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Stakeholders follow proceedings during the Makerere and PESCA-NARO/ARDC Kajjansi workshop held from 19th to 22nd July 2022 at MUZARDI. Researchers met to review and harmonize aquaculture training modules of the EU-supported project.

PROVISION OF TRAINING SERVICES TO THE PROMOTING ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE COMMERCIAL AQUACULTURE IN UGANDA (PESCA) PROJECT

ADVERT FOR SHORT COURSES TRAINING IN AQUACULTURE

A. BACKGROUND

The Department of Zoology, Entomology, and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University was awarded a contract under the European Union-funded PESCA project implemented by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) for the provision of training services. The overall objective of the assignment is to support training that will improve knowledge, skills, and practices that enhance aquaculture production and productivity in Uganda. This will be achieved through the following specific objectives:

  1. Support the placement of undergraduate students to work (internships) with fish farmers or other suitable aquaculture value chain (AVC) actors;
  2. Conduct inclusive customized short-term training with gender considerations (women, men, youth, people with disabilities) including farmers, Producer Organizations (POs), feed & seed producers, service providers, and other aquaculture stakeholders; and
  3. Support MSc. research and training.

The expected outputs from the short-course trainings are:

  1. Trainees (farmers, Producer Organizations, feed & seed producers, service providers etc.) with job-demanded competency skills & knowledge;
  2. Increased engagement of AVC actors in the training of students & review of university curricula;
  3. Orientation of tertiary Fisheries and aquaculture training institutions’ curricula to practical thematic areas; and
  4. Compendium of different modules compiled and shared with partners.

A certificate of attendance will be issued to trainees who successfully complete the training.

B. THE SHORT COURSE TRAINING OPPORTUNITY

Applications are invited for 180 fully funded bursaries for six (6) trainings covering relevant modules specified in (C) below. Each course is expected to be conducted within seven (7) days jointly with the Aquaculture Research and Development Center (ARDC), Kajjansi, National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFIRRI).

C. SHORT COURSE MODULES

TARGET GROUP(S)RELEVANT MODULESTRAINING DATES
1.Hatchery operators and managersIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Fish seed production and hatchery management (including fingerling transportation; early stock management in grow-out pond); Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation.9th-14th October 2022
2.Fish farmers and farm managersIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Establishing a commercially viable aquaculture enterprise; Aquaculture business planning and organisation; Aquaculture production systems.23rd-28th October 2022
3. Producer groupsIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Aquaculture production systems; Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation (including group dynamics, resource mobilisation for group self-sustenance; fish marketing skills).6th-11th November 2022
4. Feed producersIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Fish feeds production; Fish feeding and feed management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation13th-18th November 2022
5. Aquaculture Extension workersIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Aquaculture production systems, Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organization; Aquaculture Extension workers (including service delivery; aquaculture extension methods and tools).7th November – 2nd December 2022
6. Food and Fish ProcessorsIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Value addition for farmed fish; Aquaculture business planning and organisation.11th-16th December 2022

D. ELIGIBILITY

Target groupsSelection requirements for admission
Hatchery operators and managersAbility to read and write
Fish farmers and farm managersAbility to read and write
Producer groupsAbility to read, write and presentation of a registration certificate as a CBO or cooperative society
Feed producersAbility to read and write
Aquaculture Extension workersMinimum is a certificate in Fisheries and aquaculture
Food and Fish ProcessorsAbility to read and write

E. APPLICATION PROCESS

Application form should be electronically filled and submitted here: https://forms.gle/52JWCEaDH1ADcbVk7. In addition, a signed recommendation from your District Fisheries Officer or Leader of Producer Organisation should also be sent to the Head of Department (eric.sande@mak.ac.ug), with a copy to the Team Leader, Dr. Jackson Efitre (jackson.efitre@mak.ac.ug), and the short courses Coordinators, Juliet Nattabi Kattabi (julliet.nattabi@mak.ac.ug) and Rosemary Nalwanga (rosemary.nalwanga@mak.ac.ug) by the deadline of 30th September, 2022 at 5:00PM.

The advert is linked below.

Mak_PESCA Short Courses_ZEFs_CoNAS Advert.pdf

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