Global warming: Its effects on the fishing practices of East Africa communities

Global warming: Meaning

Global warming, resulting from human activities primarily emitting greenhouse gases, causes the long-term increase in Earth’s average surface temperature.. The Earth’s atmosphere contains a natural layer of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and water vapor. These gases trap heat from the sun, creating a natural greenhouse effect that keeps the planet warm and habitable. Human activities emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere primarily cause global warming, resulting in the long-term rise in Earth’s average surface temperature.

General Effects of global warming

Rising Temperatures:

Global warming leads to an increase in average temperatures across the planet, affecting weather patterns, ecosystems, and human health.

Changes in Precipitation Patterns:

Global warming alters precipitation patterns, causing shifts in rainfall distribution, droughts in some regions, and increased rainfall in others, impacting agriculture, water resources, and food security.

Loss of Biodiversity:

Global warming disrupts habitats, alters ecosystems, and increases extinction risks for plant and animal species, threatening biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Impact on Local Communities‘ Fishing Practices:

Global warming has significant effects on fishing practices in East Africa, impacting both the environment and the livelihoods of communities dependent on fishing. East African fishing communities face heightened vulnerability to global warming, relying heavily on fisheries for sustenance and livelihoods. Diminished fish stocks and altered fishing patterns can result in economic hardship, food insecurity, and heightened competition, worsening poverty and tensions.

Changes in Fish Distribution:

As water temperatures rise, fish species may migrate to different areas seeking more suitable conditions. This can disrupt traditional fishing grounds and require fishermen to travel farther distances to find fish, impacting their catch and income.

Decline in Fish Stocks:

Global warming can lead to changes in water temperature, acidity, and oxygen levels, which can affect fish reproduction, growth, and survival rates. As a result, fish populations may decline, reducing the availability of fish for local communities and threatening food security.

Alteration of Ecosystems:

Rising temperatures can disrupt aquatic ecosystems by causing changes in water currents, nutrient cycles, and the prevalence of invasive species. These changes can have cascading effects on fish populations and the overall health of aquatic ecosystems, further impacting fishing practices.

Increased Frequency of Extreme Weather Events:

Global warming is associated with an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as storms, floods, and droughts. These events can damage fishing infrastructure, boats, and gear, disrupt fishing activities, and pose risks to the safety of fishermen.

The Bakhulo community fishing activities and global warming Effects

People in Samia sub county, Kenya, favor fish, along with traditional foods like millet, sorghum, and cassava, for health and nutrition.. The Bakhekhe community, led by Bakhulo, migrated to settle along Lake Victoria’s shores, particularly in Majanji, Uganda, and Nyakwaka, Samia, Kenya.

During the two main rainy seasons when the Suo river is abundant with fish, fishing thrives, serving as a vital social and economic activity for the Bakhulo people.

Despite advancements in technology and modern approaches, the community has remained true and faithful to their traditional fishing methods bequeathed them across generations. Traditional methods such as baskets, canals (oluyaba), and spears (amakhango) are preferred for their effectiveness and lack of pollution.

The main fish types are ebidonge, emumi, obuduba , amakanga, eningu,among others. The large flood plain presented by the river also makes a rich grazing field for their livestock when the river subsides.“”At the first cockerel crow, we grabbed our fishing rods, embarking on a 10 km journey to the river where it meets Lake Victoria,” says Okumu, a community elder. “Only to find many young men from all over the larger Samia sub-county already in action.” Fishing went on till late in the afternoon and sometimes at night,” he added. At such a time, ebidodonge and eningu were are normally fat with eggs. This is the time female ones’ swim upstream in search for ample breeding grounds.

Seasonal Patterns

For the entire period of April through to June flooding season, this would be the main activity for young men, often at the expense of normal school programs. Visitors are greeted by a heavy fish stench at mainstream fishermen’s homesteads, where fish is preserved by sun-drying. Thus most of the catch was mainly for family consumption.

At such a time, ebidodonge and eningu were are normally fat with eggs. This is the time female ones’ swim upstream in search for ample breeding grounds. These are regarded the sweetest of the fish catch and constitute their primary source of proteins. For the entire period of April through to June flooding season, this would be the main activity for young men, often at the expense of normal school programs .Loads of flies hover over the compound as it fills with open-air fishing and drying heaps, especially under cloudy, foggy conditions.

At the homesteads of mainstream fishermen, a heavy stench of fish normally under preservation by drying in the sun would welcome every visitor. Thus most of the catch was mainly for family consumption.

At such a time, ebidodonge and eningu were are normally fat with eggs. This is the time female ones’ swim upstream in search for ample breeding grounds. These are regarded the sweetest of the fish catch and constitute their primary source of proteins.

Addressing the challenges of local Global warming Effects

East African fishing communities receive support through efforts promoting sustainable fishing, enhancing climate resilience, and implementing adaptation strategies. Efforts include developing climate-resilient fisheries plans, promoting alternative livelihoods, establishing marine protected areas, and implementing climate-smart fishing techniques. However, addressing the complex challenges posed by global warming requires coordinated action at the local, national, and international levels.

Addressing global warming entails reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to renewables, enhancing energy efficiency, conserving forests, and adopting sustainable practices. The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius and strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius to mitigate severe climate impacts.

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One thought on “Global warming: Its effects on the fishing practices of East Africa communities

  1. The biggest challenge to fishing in the Suo river is the declining fish stocks. The reasons for this declining fish stock are environmental issues mainly as a result of global warming which has greatly affected the water volume. Another challenge is overfishing due to population growth. This challenge manifested by under size fishing. These problems are made worse by water pollution from human activities around the river, particularly from industry waste from surrounding factories
    These problems have to be urgently addressed as intervention as part of food security challenges

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