The exploitation of Nile perch resources of Lake Victoria has strongly increased during recent years. This is apparent from decreasing catch rates and ever increasing numbers of fishermen, fishing craft and gears. Despite this, it remains economic to continue the exploitation and exportation of Nile perch products. Exports to the EU, however, seemed to have reached their maximum in 2003, which could have been due to competition from cheaper fish products from certain Asian countries, as well as to market diversification by the East African exporting firms.
Fish prices paid to fishermen increased over time as a result of the success of the Nile perch fishery. However, the increased influx of money into the fishing communities did not necessarily lead to a reduction in poverty. This could be due to the lack of saving and investment possibilities. In the absence of sufficient schooling, youths automatically enter the fishery sector and as a result of relatively low investment costs and high earnings the fishing effort will continue to increase until the open-access based management regime is replaced by a licensing system. The role that Beach Management Units can play in managing the human and fisheries resources will have to be strengthened.
It is concluded that the economic gains based on the new fishery, in itself proved to be insufficient to provide a structural sustainable development, due to the restricted social and institutional capacity which hampers the riparian population's ability to adapt to the new social and fishery challenges.