Former Graduate Summer Fellow John Okechi Authors Paper on Environmental Health of Lake Victoria

John Okechi, a 2020 Pardee Center Graduate Summer Fellow, recently co-authored a paper exploring the ecological health of Lake Victoria resulting from the rapid growth of cage aquaculture in recent years.

About 45 million people depend on Lake Victoria directly and indirectly for their food, economic livelihoods, transportation, and more. To offset the effects of climate change and overfishing, cage aquaculture of Nile tilapia was recently introduced to meet food security needs.

In the paper, published in the journal Conservation Science and Practice, Okechi and his co-authors examined how water quality and biodiversity varied between areas with and without cage farms, and analyzed the implications for conservation and aquaculture management in the lake. They found that some fish species were significantly more abundant — and that water quality was not significantly degraded — near cage aquaculture farms.

The paper is an extension of Okechi’s research as a Pardee Center Graduate Summer Fellow in 2020, when he spent ten weeks analyzing the impacts of cage aquaculture in Lake Victoria on the environment and on food security in surrounding communities.