UK startup to trial aquaculture sensor on Lake Victoria

A woman working at an aquaculture farm on Lake Victoria
A woman working at an aquaculture farm on Lake Victoria | Photo courtesy of the Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute
4 Min

London, U.K.-based technology startup Aqsen Innovations has picked Lake Victoria as the spot to trial its aquaculture sensor system, Aquasense, in an attempt to help fish farmers properly and quickly monitor water quality.

“Initial trials have also successfully been undertaken at fish farms in Uganda, as well as in India where Aquasense was used to monitor the quality of water in floodplains and on farmland,” Aqsen said.

Aquasense, when fully commercialized, will allow fish farmers on Lake Victoria to make informed decisions that can reduce potential losses that stem from poor water quality, according to the company. Farmers will be able to monitor their ponds’ temperature, oxygenation, salinity, and the presence of chemicals such as chlorine, in a timely manner, the company said.

Data generated by Aquasense is delivered to fish farmers through instant alerts that grant them the time to strategize effectively and “identify the optimal time for feeding and checking fish health,” according to Aqsen.

Lake Victoria, which is Africa’s largest freshwater lake and supports a blue economy that employs over 200,000 people in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, has grappled with water quality issues for decades. Multi-donor partnership Cooperation in International Waters in Africa released a study in 2022 in collaboration with the World Bank that found worsening water quality "contributes to a reduction in fish stocks and biodiversity in the lake and the deterioration of lake-based livelihoods such as fishing and navigation.”

Overall aquaculture production in the Lake Victoria Basin increased from 2,700 metric tons (MT) to 145,300 MT between 2000 and 2019 – a development attributed to “increased investment in commercial cage aquaculture, especially on Lake Victoria.”

Lake Victoria has been a popular spot to trial innovative seafood projects. Kenyan startup AquaRech has tested its fish feed digital marketplace in the region, and the E.U.-backed TRUE-FISH project, which aims to train aquaculture workers and boost sustainability and biosecurity across lake-wide operations, launched pilot program in the area as well. 

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