Conserving Lake Tanganyika’s Fisheries and Biodiversity: From Local Collaboration to Lake-wide Impact

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In his January 8, 2018 presentation titled, Conserving Lake Tanganyika’s Fisheries and Biodiversity: From Local Collaboration to Lake-wide Impact, Peter Limbu, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), discusses the work being done to combat declining fish populations and conserve biodiversity along Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania as part of TNC’s Tuungane project.

Lake Tanganyika is the longest lake in the world and one of the last large lakes that still has a generally intact aquatic ecosystem. It harbors more than 300 species of cichlid fish, which includes at least 200 that are found nowhere else on earth, and has a productive open water fishery exploited by villages all around the lake. This astounding freshwater ecosystem provides food and jobs for hundreds of thousands of people; fisheries on Lake Tanganyika employ more than 150,000 people and are a source of food for about 12 million people. However, fish catches are declining mainly due to unsustainable fishing practices, high fishing effort, and the combined effects of land use and climate change.

TNC’s Tuungane project is working along Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania to combat declining fish populations and conserve biodiversity though a broad range of initiatives, including helping to establish co-management institutions (Beach Management Units), creating community-supported freshwater protected areas, and working on reduction in the use of illegal gears. While this initiative has created increased awareness, improved fisheries management and enhanced catch revenue in some of Lake Tanganyika’s communities, long-term success requires sustainably financing the co-management institutions and scaling up across Lake Tanganyika’s four riparian countries in partnership with the Lake Tanganyika Authority. Emerging work on electronic fish catch assessment for lake-wide fish stocks, siting and best practices for native species caged aquaculture, and use of a common basin-wide spatial dataset for management (the Lake Tanganyika Atlas) are all designed to contribute to conservation of Lake Tanganyika’s irreplaceable fisheries and aquatic biodiversity. 

Featured Speaker

Peter Limbu is the Fisheries Technical Advisor for TNC’s Tuungane Project on Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania, where he leads the Conservancy’s efforts towards conserving the biodiversity and fisheries of Lake Tanganyika. Prior to his three years at TNC, he worked for the World Wildlife Fund on the Tanzanian coast and with FINCA Tanzania as a micro-credit loan officer. His experience on fisheries and community development issues has been critical to his success in Tuungane’s population, health and environment project framework. Peter has a Master of Science in Aquaculture from Ghent University in Belgium and is based in Kigoma, Tanzania.

Event Resources

Click here to view the presentation slides.


This event was hosted by The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group as a part of its Washington DC speaker series, which aims to foster information exchange and lessons sharing among cross-sector practitioners. To participate as a featured speaker, please contact Evelyn Namvua at and view the Guidelines to Speakers here.

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