Lungfish, (Protopterus aethiopicus) in Kenya

Credit: Edwin Muga (Kenya)

The photo shows the weighing of a lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus) at a fish banda in Ogal beach, Kisumu West District, Kenya. (A banda is an enclosure at a beach where fish landed from the fishing grounds of are handled and weighed  in hygienic manner before  sale).  Attempts have been made on its culture in earthen ponds but due to its burrowing capabilities it is not a preferred species for culture hence exploitation is from the natural waters. Currently there are no hatcheries known to propagate it. In 2005, about 700 metric tons of the species was landed from Lakes Victoria, Baringo , Kanyaboli  whereas most of which was consumed locally in fresh, sun dried and smoked state. It is a species that is relished greatly for its rich flavour with the caudal area containing adipose hence quite fatty. It is an aggressive fish and can bite when agitated hence once caught has to be clubbed to pacify it. Due to modification of the swim bladder into a functional lung like organ it is able to breathe in air directly. This species feeds on fin fishes, molluscs and insects as well as plants and is known to undergo aestivation during dry seasons in cocoons where it feeds off the adipose accumulated in the caudal region.

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