Influence of climatic elements and non-climatic factors on fishing activities in Lake Victoria, Kisumu County, Kenya
Apindi, Jane Akoth
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Fishing is known to be one of the oldest occupations of mankind all over the world. A significant proportion of people depend on fisheries activity; it generates income for the households, creates employment and provides a source of livelihood to the people around water bodies and beyond. However, fish catch and fishing activities in Lake Victoria, Kisumu County, is in great danger of fluctuation and decline.There is limited research to explain this phenomenon especially along the beaches in Kisumu County. This study aimed at establishing the influence of climatic elements such as dry spell, rainfall and strength of wind; and non-climatic factors such as overfishing, water hyacinth and predators on fishing activities in beaches of Lake Victoria within Kisumu County. The study employed descriptive survey design. The area of study, had thirty two beaches, out of which eight were sampled to represent the entire Kisumu County. Systematic sampling technique was used to sample the eight beaches. A sample size of 362 respondents was used to obtain data. Documented data on fish landing per month for ten years was obtained at the beaches as well as at Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI), and the climatic data was collected from Regional Meteorological Department located at Kisumu Airport. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect primary data from the beaches, while secondary data was obtained from KEMFRI, books and publications by use of document analysis guides. The findings were coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme which helped in calculating frequencies, means and percentages. The study found a significant relationship between climatic factors and fishing activities. Fish catches were influenced by the amount of rainfall, though the effect varied with fish types; Orechromis (r = .260), Lates niloticus (r =.130) and Protopterus (r =.184), however, Rastrinoebola argentea and Claras gariepinus revealed a negative correlation with the amount of rainfall. Overall, the results revealed a positive correlation coefficients (r = .079) between the amount of rainfall and the total amount of fish catch. Dry spell which is associated with high temperatures led to a decrease in fish in the Lake. Whereas mild or moderate winds were found to favour fish catch, strong winds had negative effect on fishing activities. The study also established that non-climatic factors too had immense negative influence on fishing activities in Lake Victoria. On the basis of the findings, the researcher made the following conclusions; there was a relationship between climatic elements and fishing activities, non-climatic factors mostly influenced fishing activities negatively; however, there were mitigation strategies put in place by the fishermen to help address non-climatic factors. On the basis of the findings it was recommended that, policy makers should regulate the harvesting of fish as dictated by climatic and weather variations; assess the impact of non-climatic elements in fish production and recommend appropriate mitigation measures and lastly regulations to be enhanced to save the endangered fish species from extinction.