"Perception versus Reality: How the Consequences of Eutrophication Impact Subsistence Fishery Communities around Lake Victoria"
Lakes can potentially support vital ecosystem services, including abundant drinking water and food. Yet, many lakes are impacted by eutrophication, rendering the water unsafe for consumption and potentially impacting the quality of the fishery. The causes of eutrophication are well known, excessive nutrient input, but its reversal is challenging such that once it is established, its impact can be long-lasting. Eutrophication impacts are particularly challenging in tropical regions, where subsistence communities may have no or unreliable alternatives for drinking water or fish and where increasing temperatures associated with climate change may uniquely exacerbate eutrophication concerns. Hence, local-scale options for sustainable aquatic resource use are urgently needed. The goal of this pursuit is to bring together a diverse, international, multi-disciplinary team of scientists to examine the social and environmental connections and feedbacks that impact and define aquatic resource use. This pursuit will also enable the improvement of water quality in Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake, through policy-directed outcomes that address how communities vary in their use and perceptions of lake resources. The outcomes of the pursuit will include cross-cutting, peer-reviewed manuscripts, a database of physicochemical parameters about Lake Victoria to support on-going research and management efforts, and the establishment of a strong network of researchers focused on multi-disciplinary aspects of water and fishery quality in Lake Victoria. Given the pervasiveness of eutrophication around the world, we expect that insights from our locally informed approach will still be applicable to other lake regions.
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