|Date||3 Apr 2018|
Lake Kanyaboli is the second largest ox-bow lake in Africa, and has a mean depth of 3m and covers a total area of 1,500 Ha. It is one of the most important riparian satellite lakes around the Lake Victoria Basin. L. Kanyaboli is part of Yala Swamp, which forms the mouth of both Rivers Nzoia and Yala. The lake is a freshwater deltaic wetland arising from backflow and back-ponding of water from rivers floodwaters. It provides important habitat for refugee populations of certain fish species, which have otherwise gone extinct from L. Victoria and other water bodies in Africa. Yala swamp in which the lake is situated is the largest fresh water wetland in Kenya. Of all the satellite lakes in the swamp, L. Kanyaboli is the largest and the most economically and ecologically important. A thick fringe of papyrus plants surrounds the lake and the main economic activity is fishing where the main method of exploitation is use of gill nets, long lines and seine nets. 90-100% of the residents depend on fishing either commercially or for subsistence. Lake Kanyaboli has no direct outlet but discharges its water to Lake Victoria through underground seepage. Most of the dams were sunk in the 1940s and 1950s to provide water for domestic and livestock uses. Fish endemic to Lake Victoria were introduced into some of these dams and lakes to supplement fish yields and resource value.
The Satellite lakes such as Kanyaboli are the remaining refuge to those endemic species, now feared to have disappeared from the main Lake. The stocks in these satellite water bodies are well established and contribute immensely to the biological diversity.
In the assessment of fish populations and other biodiversity the team hopes to finally have a fully supported trend and status of biodiversity in the lake especially the three critically endangered fish (Oreochromis esculentus, Oreochromis variabilis and Haplochromis phytophagus). At the same time we will be able to understand what triggers the shift in their population density so as to prioritize conservation efforts since funds are always limited and action that produces the greatest outcome is always required. We will make publication in print media, conservation magazines or journals about our findings. These publications will continue to aid in highlighting the lake and promote conservation.
The development and promotion of aquaculture will directly aid in reduced pressures on the three endangered fish which have continued largely unabated. Stocking of more than 3000 fingerlings will provide direct incentive to the community through their sale.
The Lake Kanyaboli Stakeholders forum will provide a platform for direct discussions on sustainability, conservation and protection of Lake Kanyaboli. One challenge that faced the community is lack of proper channels to deliberate and converse. The forum will also spearhead many environmental activities such as world fisheries day, world water day, and world wetland day amongst others, while also organizing for lakes’ restoration by planting 2500 wetland plantlets.
The Lake Kanyaboli Conservation Management Plan will lead to promotion of fish policies that will aid in protection and sustainable utilization of the endangered fish
Read about Veryl's previous project https://www.rufford.org/projects/veryl_achieng_0 or for more information contact: