Lake Victoria is the world's second largest freshwater body and home to one of the most dramatic speciation of indigenous cichlids in the world. Bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in East Africa, the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) provides food, water and livelihoods for over 30 million people around its shores, with 10 million engaged in the fisheries sector. The Colonial Era introduction of the invasive Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in the 1950's, combined with the introduction of industrialized fish processing in the 1980's, transformed fishing throughout the Basin. The introduction and commercial harvesting of the Nile perch, subsequent human population growth, and the looming problems of climate change continue to compromise the health of this important fishery. This paper applies a global commodity chain framework with an ethnographic approach to the case of the export-oriented Nile perch from the Kenyan island of Mfangano in July 2007. Unless otherwise noted, all price and empirical data are based on interviews, market surveys, and participant observation conducted by the author in Kenya in June, July, and August of 2007. In 2007, prices paid to local Kenyan fishermen, boat owners, and agents represent 24% of the total value from the fishery (∼ 3% to each fisherman, 14% to boat owners and 4% to agents); prices paid to processors represent 36% of the value, and 39% of the value accrues to international seafood wholesalers and retailers.

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