Promoting Environmentally, Economically and Socially Sustainable Cage Aquaculture (PESCA)

PESCA is regional project developing a decision support tool (DST) and best management practices (BMPs) to guide improvement of policies to increase fish production through cage aquaculture with negligible impacts on the water environment of the African Great Lakes (AGLs) and promoting use of those practices through adaptive research . The project is implemented in the Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian parts of Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Lake Kivu, and the Malawian and Mozambican parts of Lake Malawi/Nyasa/ Niassa.


Fish Categories

Nile Tilapia

Preferred Farmed Fish on the African Great Lakes

Oreochromis Tanganicae

Main Species Cultured on Lake Tanganyika

Oreochromis Shiranus

Main Species Cultured on Lake Malawi/Nyasa/Nyiassa

Overall Objective

Increase fish production and profitability through cage aquaculture with minimal impacts on the aquatic environment and other lakes uses.

Specific Objective
  1. Develop a DST and BMPs to guide establishment, operation and monitoring of cage aquaculture in the AGLs.
  2. Establish an African Great Lakes Cage Aquaculture Network (AGL-CAN) of Partners.
  3. Examine and share information from individual AGLs including: Tradeoffs between capture fisheries, other socio-economic uses of water bodies, the aquatic environmental health and cage aquaculture.
  4. Provide guidelines for planning and operation of cage aquaculture farms.
  5. Examine policy, regulatory, and human resources requirements and recommend improvements.
  6. Guide monitoring and management of the environment of cage aquaculture farms.
  7. Increase awareness; and Work with farmer groups to test the DST and BMPs.

Background & Benefits


The AGLs are important sources of fish which supports livelihoods of about 1.8 million people and are hotspots of high fish biodiversity, especially Haplochromine cichlids of ecological and scientific importance. However most economically important capture fisheries of these lakes have declined due to over fishing and degradation of the fish habitats and can no longer meet the increased demand for fish by the rapidly increasing human population.


Cage aquaculture which involves growing fish in cages suspended in water, while maintaining free exchange of water between the enclosure and the water body started on Lake Malawi in 2004 and Victoria in 2006 and has spread rapidly to other AGLs. There are over 5000 cages on Victoria, about 10 cages on Tanganyika, 400 cages on Kivu, 50 cages on Malawi/Nyassa/Niassa. Cage aquaculture has in less than 20 years, demonstrated capacity to increase fish production to more than 40 kg m-3 compared to less than 2 kg m-3 from land based aquaculture which started in the AGL region more than 60 years ago. Cages have a higher production per unit volume and lower construction costs compared to land based systems targeting the same production. Fish survival rate is high. On-farm operations such as handling and harvesting are more efficient and there are high returns on investments.

Cage Farming

Seeds of Gold NaFIRRI at Agricultural Show

NTV Green: How to Aquaculture Blends with Eco-systems