Effect of panel depth on the catchability of gillnets targeting nile perch (lates niloticus) and their by-catch at Katosi landing site
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Gill nets are the most important and widespread fishing gear in Uganda where it takes up to 30% of the total fishing gear, Increased catchability by the gill nets is basically due to small mesh sizes and increasing the panels in the lake, capture of fish using more fishing panels contributes to overfishing that lead to biological diversity loss and environmental degradation, the government in a bid to reduce depletion of Nile perch, stringent measures have been put up such as the use of a maximum of three panels (78 meshes and 90 metres length) however fishermen opt to use more than three and can go up to 6 panels deep which is detrimental. This study aimed at investigating the effect of panel depth on the catchability of gillnets targeting Nile perch (Lates niloticus) and their by-catch. The Data collected was cleaned, and entered into tables using Microsoft Excel and then checked for normality using the Shapiro-Wilk normality test, the quantity of Nile Perch caught was transformed to make it normally distributed and was then subjected to a parametric test of One-Way Anova to determine if there was a significant difference in the mean number of Nile Perch caught by the different panel’s depth. The results indicated that the use of panel 2 at 12-meter depth and panel 3 at 18-meter depth were most effective panels to be used on the lake. The findings also suggest that panel 4 at 24meter depth is detrimental and therefore should be avoided in the fisheries activities. However more research is needed for better protection and preservation of the aquatic system.