Ornamental fish is the coloured fish that can be reared indoors and is mostly used in aquariums for beautification purposes. “For many years, countries have been importing ornamental fish. This kind of fish is expensive and can boost a country’s economy if invested in,” says Dr. Juliet Nattabi, a lecturer at Makerere University’s Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences. “We have ornamental fish in Uganda, but unfortunately, people have not exploited the natural resources to their full potential,” she says.
Kluivert Francis Namutete, a former student in the department, says some fish died because the team had not yet devised means to breed mosquitos that some species feed on.
“While in the field, they did not have licenses and equipment. We ended up using fishermen’s equipment at a fee,” says Dr. Nattabi, adding that delayed procurement of equipment was a problem and that the team had needed to be creative to achieve their goals.
Continuity after the project
“With the aquarium refurbished up to 80% , we shall keep collecting fish and maintaining the 18 ornamental fish species; and we shall train both students and members of the public in how to look after indoor fish,” Dr. Nattabi says. She adds that findings of Namutete’s research will also provide guidance on caring for the species. For his undergraduate research in 2020, Namutete documented the potential ornamental fish species from samples collected from Lake Nabugabo ecosystem.
The team desires to extend their project, and they particularly encourage women to join and promote the ornamental fish trade, since it is indoor and convenient.