Earliest African fisheries were by waterside peoples using locally fabricated
materials. Seine nets of woven twine, of Arabian origin, were later introduced.
Gill-nets were introduced in 1905 and remain the most widely used gear. Tilapia
species, all inhabiting inshore waters, remain the most important fish caught,
but catches generally continue to decline. Further basic studies on Tilapia
are necessary to improve management. Large boats with power-operated gear
are an important recent innovation which may supplant canoes and gill-nets
as producers of the main catch in large lakes, but for success require careful
economic planning due to the high initial cost of vessels and essential shore
installations. There are numerous management problems e.g. Labeo being
heavily fished on spawning migrations, the capture of juvenile Bagrus while
fishing for Haplochromis, or of Lates while fishing for clupeoids.
Lates niloticus introduced to Lake Victoria have not succeeded so quickly as in
Lake Kyoga, due probably to the young competing for food with Haplochromis species.
The newcomer Alestes lateralis has supplanted A. imberi in Lake Kariba,
through having a more extended spawning season.