Lake Victoria in East Africa is the second largest freshwater body in the world, and is shared
by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Its watershed extends to Rwanda and Burundi also.
Most of the fisheries in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are in Lake Victoria. In Uganda, the
fishing industry employs between 500,000 and one million people. Fish is currently the
second most important Ugandan export commodity (after coffee). These lakes are in one of
the poorest regions of the world, and fish provide employment and food.
Lake Victoria and two other African Great Lakes (Malawi and Tanganyika) once had very
high fish species diversity. They represented a spectacular example of rapid speciation, best
demonstrated by the haplochromine group of fishes. There used to be over 500 species of
haplochromines in Lake Victoria alone, more than 99% of which were endemic