John Walakira; Gertrude Atakunda; Joseph Molnar; Karen Veverica
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Abstract: Shifting rainfall and temperature regimes are bringing new challenges to the management of water bodies and fish farms in sub-Saharan Africa (Dixon et al. 2003). Culturing species that are resilient to drought and stressful water quality conditions may be a major part of future African aquaculture. Air-breathing fishes, such as the African Lungfish Protopterus aethiopicus can use atmospheric oxygen to meet all or part of metabolic demands (Mlewa et al. 2007). Air-breathing fish have a role in managed fisheries and low-management culture systems where dissolved oxygen concentration is not a limiting factor. Among air-breathing fishes, the African Catfish Clarias gariepinus can tolerate low levels of dissolved oxygen but its flesh is held in lower esteem by consumers as compared to lungfish. The quality of Pangasius_catfish flesh is high but it is not a native species in Africa. African lungfish is native to natural waters of Uganda (Greenwood 1958, 1986, Birt et al. 2006) but populations are rapidly declining and the species is now endangered, mainly caused by overexploitatioin, evironmental degradation and large-scale conversion of wetlands to agricultural land (Goudswaard et al. 2002, Balirwa et al. 2003). Therefore, it is essential to develop aquaculture to relieve pressure on natural stocks. This article explores the potential of African lungfish aquaculture to improve food security and livelihoods in Uganda; identifies indigenous production practices and approaches; consumer perspectives and markets; and an outlook for lungfish fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda and sub-Saharan Africa.