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  1. Introduction
  2. Mandate
  3. History
  4. Area of competence
  5. Species and stocks coverage
  6. Legal framework
  7. Languages
  8. Members
  9. Structure
  10. EIMS Publications Database
  11. Social networks
  12. Contact

The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) is a regional fisheries management organization established in 1994 through the “Convention for the Establishment of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization”. Its founding objectives were to harmonize national measures for the sustainable use of the living resources of Lake Victoria, to develop conservation and management measures and to foster related cooperation. LVFO has become a specialized institution of the East African Community (EAC), which entered into force in 2000. In 2016 the LVFO convention was amended to extend its mandate to all EAC fisheries and aquaculture resources and to open membership to all EAC partner States.


The overall objective of the Organization is to foster cooperation among the Contracting Parties, harmonize national measures for the sustainable utilization of the fisheries and aquaculture resources of the East African Community water bodies and to develop and adopt conservation and management measures. LVFO deals with fisheries management and development, aquaculture management and development, fisheries and aquaculture resources monitoring and research, quality assurance, trade and marketing, capture, processing and dissemination of data, information and knowledge, and resources mobilization for the East African Community water bodies (currently encompassing only four Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania).

The core functions of the organization are as follows:

  • Promote the proper management and optimum utilization of the fisheries and other resources of the East African Community water bodies;
  • Enhance capacity building of existing institutions and develop additional institutions dedicated to, or likely to contribute to, the purposes of the Convention;
  • Provide a forum for discussion of the impacts of initiatives dealing with the environment and water quality in relation to fisheries and aquaculture resources of the East African;
  • Provide for the conduct of research concerning the fisheries and aquaculture resources and related activities;
  • Encourage, recommend, coordinate and, as appropriate, undertake training and extension activities in all aspects of aquaculture and fisheries;
  • Consider and advise on the effects of the direct or indirect introduction of any nonindigenous aquatic animals or plants into the East African Community waters bodies and to adopt measures regarding the introduction, monitoring, control or elimination of any such animals or plants;
  • Serve as a clearing-house and data bank for information on fish, fisheries and aquaculture products, and promote the dissemination of information, without prejudice to industrial property rights, by any appropriate form of publication;
  • In respect of any or all of the foregoing, adopt budgets, seek funding, formulate plans for financial management and allocate funds to activities of the Organization, or to such activities of the Contracting Parties as it may determine to be in furtherance of the purposes of the Convention; and
  • Undertake such other functions as it may determine to be necessary or desirable in order to achieve the purpose of the Convention.

Collaborative efforts to manage the fisheries of Lake Victoria (East Africa) dates back to 1928 when a lake-wide authority, the Lake Victoria Fisheries Service (LVFS) was established for regulating the lake fishery and collecting fisheries statistics. The LVFS was replaced by the East African Freshwater Research Organization (EAFRO) in 1947, which was later strengthened as the East African Freshwater Fisheries Organization (EAFFRO) with the formation of the first East African Community (EAC) in 1967.

With the collapse of the Community in 1977, the three riparian states continued to collaborate in the management of the Lake Victoria fisheries under the aegis of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, specifically through its Committee for the Inland Fisheries of Africa (CIFA).

Later in the year 1994, the LVFO was formed through a Convention signed on 30th June 1994, in Kisumu, Kenya by the ‘Contracting Parties’ namely the three States sharing the lake (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). The LVFO, was officially registered under UN Charter CAP (102) on 30 July 1996 under UN-FAO registration Number 32987 as a Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) recognized by FAO.

With the establishment of the present East African Community (EAC) on 30th November 1999, and upon entry into force of the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC on 7th July 2000, the LVFO became a specialized institution of the Community. Article 9(3) of the EAC Treaty recognises LVFO as a specialized institution of the Community. When Republics of Burundi and Rwanda joined the EAC in 2007, there was a need to expand the scope and mandate of LVFO beyond Lake Victoria fisheries (the Convention establishing the LVFO was limited to just the three Partner Sates sharing Lake Victoria: Republics of Kenya, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania). The Convention amendments were approved by the LVFO Council of Ministers in their meeting on 29th January 2016, and became effective on 1st March 2016. The Republic of Burundi ratified the amended Convention on 17th August 2017, and it became a full member of the organization on 2nd March 2018 after approval by the LVFO Council of Ministers. The Republics of Rwanda and South Sudan, although are members of the EAC, have not yet submitted the instruments of accession as a necessary condition for ratification of the Convention.

Area of competenceLake Victoria.
LVFO area of competence - Inland waters
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries. Dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.
Species and stocks coverageAll aquatic species in Lake Victoria. Legal framework LanguagesEnglish and Kiswahili (secondary language) Members

Member: Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, United Rep. of Tanzania.


Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectoral Council of Ministers (FASCoM): is the governing body of the Organization consisting of the Ministers responsible for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Contracting Parties or their authorized representatives.

Coordination Committee: consists of the Chief Executive Officers of the Ministries (principal/permanent Secretaries of Ministries) responsible for Fisheries within the contracting partner States or their representatives. 

Senior Officials: consist of members who head departments responsible for fisheries and aquaculture management and the heads of the departments responsible for fisheries and aquaculture research in each of the Contracting Parties, or their authorized representatives.  Currently there are six members heading the F&A Management & Research institutions;

Fisheries Management Technical Committee and Scientific Technical Committee: constitute heads of departments responsible for fisheries management of the Contracting Parties or their authorized representations.

Working Groups:  advise the Senior Officials on matters within their areas of competence.

Secretariat: is headed by the Executive Secretary (who is the CEO and legal representative of the organization) assisted by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Professional and General staff. The current structure provides for 6 directories as detailed in the organogram.

EIMS Publications Database Media materials Social networks Web sources


Shigalla MAHONGO (Executive Secretary)

Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization

Plot No. 78/7E, Busoga Square, Belle Avenue
P.O. Box 1625, Jinja, Uganda

Telephone: (+256) 434125000

Fax: (+256) 434123123

Email: lvfo-sec

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