SALI 72 The Miracle Fish

Facts P1 Introductory Paragraph
1. Daily around Lake
Victoria before NP
a. No refrigeration: dry fish
they catch with nets
2. Family catches fish 2”-4”
in length
a. They had to catch 100’s a
b. NP too big to catch in nets
c. Oldest son works for
3. Lake V. is second largest
lake in the world
a. NP up to 530 lbs. 7-13
b. Lake had cichlids in it as
the native fish
c. 300 different species of
d. 99% were found only in
Facts P1
• 4Into.. Other fish
catfish, carp and lung
fish in lake
a. 30 million people live
around and rely on
lake for food
b. Net fish and dried
5. Facts: 1950’s lake was
a. British govnm’t
introduced the Nile
b. Ecologists worried that
the NP had no natural
enemies and it would
change the
c. British G SECRETLY
released the NP
Facts P1
6. 1960-70’s 100,000 metric
tons of fish caught
a. By 1989, 500,000 metric
tons caught
b. Kenya, Uganda and
Tanzania have fish sold to
other countries
7.NP cause 200 species of
cichlids to become extinct
a. Lungfish, catfish and
carp populations have
also declined
8.Because of cichlid decline
algae grew too much.
a. Algae used too much
oxygen and other plants
and animals could not
b. “dead” zones in lake
Facts P1
9. In 1979 only 16,000
a. In 1993 there were
82,300 fisherman
b. People are now
employed by the fisheries
c.The people of the lake
feel the NP was a “savior”
10. Lake is in jeopardy at
this point. It is dying.
a. NP are cannibalistic and
eating their young
Frames for Persuasive Writing Sali 72
Miracle Fish Protagonist
• Before the Nile perch was released in Lake
Victoria 13 million people were going hungry.
• The government was thinking about hungry
people when they released non-native fish
into Lake Victoria.
• Not only did James Abila’s family benefit from
large fishing companies harvesting Nile perch,
but the little fishing villages benefited from an
increased food source.
Frames for Persuasive Writing Sali 72
Miracle Fish Antagonist
• The untested release of the non-native fish Nile
perch will cause a great environmental disaster.
• The government was not listening to the advice
of the ecologists when they secretly and stealthily
released Nile perch into the sanctuary niche of
the native cichlid.
• Scientists all over the world are alarmed at the
release of a non-native, aggressive fish such as
the Nile perch into the pristine waters of Lake
SALI 72 The Miracle Fish P1
• Pros for fish
• 3 More fish, more
people can eat
• 2 Economy grew 5x
• 1 Life style changed
from poor fisherman to
families who could
afford to buy products
• Cons against fish
• 2 200/300 native
cichlids went extinct
• 3 Algae overgrew and
used too much oxygen
• 1 It gave the native
people a false economy
The government was not listening to the advice of the ecologists
when they secretly and stealthily released Nile perch into the sanctuary
niche of the native cichlid. The first consequence from the release of the
Nile perch was to give area people a false sense of the economy. A second
negative consequence to the lake was that native cichlids once numbering
in the 300’s for different species, dwindled to only a surviving 100 species
from the foraging Nile perch. The final blow to the lake was the devastating
growth of algae.
Prior to the release of the Nile perch 30 million people fished the
water of Lake Victoria and fed their families. They were poor fisherman and
barely survived. With the release of the Nile perch the fisherman no longer
could catch fish with a net, but many of them got jobs in the fishing
industry. The household’s economy suddenly blossomed. The ability to
purchase items that formerly were not even dreamed became a reality. This
gave the people a false sense of security. This economy did not last. The
source of available fish started to decline as the Nile perch ran out of a food
source themselves.
Furthermore, the lake was negatively impacted with the
release of non-native fish into its pristine waters. The waters had a
uniqueness about them. The lake was the only lake in the world to
support 300 different species of cichlids. Because of the secret British
government introduction of the Nile perch, the environmental niche
changed drastically. The Nile perch ate the cichlids. They ate them at
an alarming rate destroying 200 species of them within a few years
Regarding this secret release a devastating ecological
nightmare was to begin. As the cichlid population declined and the
Nile perch flourished, the lake’s ecosytsem was declining. Cichlids
ate algae and with NO cichlids parts of the lake grew too much algae.
Algae uses too much oxygen and the overgrown parts were dying.
Other fish like lungfish, carp and catfish along with plants could not
survive with low oxygen in the water. Nile perch were also running
out of food to eat and became cannibalistic. The Nile perches’
population which was lucrative for the fisheries began to diminish.
Even though there was communal devastation going on in
the lake , there were positive attributes to the addition of the Nile
perch to Lake Victoria. First of all there were 30 million people who
lived around Lake Victoria and many of them were hungry. They were
net fisherman and families who caught a daily catch of fish using a
hand-made net. They caught the 2”-4” cichlids which they dried in
the sun. Before the introduction of the Nile perch families were
growing and food was getting scarcer. The Nile perch gave these
families the ability to provide real food to their tables and gave their
men work in the fisheries. The work also gave the families the ability
to purchase modern appliances. This bliss did not last!
Consequently because a government did not field test or listen to
the ecologists who’s business it is to watchdog changes in the ecology of the
Earth, Lake Victoria has now become an ecological disaster . The boom
economy was false. Once the perch ate all the native cichlids it fed on itself
and its own community dwindled. As soon as the Nile perch population
started to decline the fisheries laid off workers and families found
themselves back to netting and not eating. As the cichlid community lost
more and more of their breeding ability and their numbers continued to
decline the algae took over parts of the lake and a dead lake produces
nothing or anyone but smell and decay. Lake Victoria is dying and it
continues to die. The British government should have studied the lake and
its very unique niche before any type of large predator was turned loose. It
could have chosen different fish or it could have field-tested a small part of
the lake several years before making the decision to act without
considering the consequences. Disasters like this one can not ever be the
same again. There is no going back. Going forward would be to try and
control algae growth with introducing algae eaters and seeding the lake
with fish for families and fisheries to eat and to turn profit. The world
community needs to guard against rash behavior and not have governments
act out for profit and have the end result being an environmental coup but
devastating to local people.
Facts P2
1. Poor fishing family of 5
a. Family dries fish (implies
no refrigeration)
2. Family catches cichlids
fish which 2”-4” (100’s)
a. NP are too big to catch
with net
b. NP are the most
common fish in the lake
c. Older son works for
fishery to feed his family
3. LV 2nd largest lake in the
a. NP can get to be huge at
530 lbs. normally 7-13
b. 300 cichlids species
found in the lake prior to
c. Only 100 species remain
d. 99% percent of the
cichlids were found only
in LV
Facts P2
4. 30 million people live
around LV and rely on it
for food
a. Most fish caught by
net and dried prior to
5. By 1950’s LV was being
a. British governm’t
decided to introduce NP
b. Questions raised by
ecologists because NP had
no natural enemies
c. SECRETLY added the NP
d. Provided more fish to
eat and sell
e. Economy boomed
f. Kept adding NP per
Facts P2
6. 1960’S-1970’S 100,000
metric tons of fish caught in
LV prior to NP
a. 1989 500,000 metric
tons of fish were caught
counting NP
b. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania
had enough extra fish
could be sold to other
c. 15 yrs. Of record keeping
shows an constant increase
of fish being harvested
7. 200 species of cichlid go
a. Other fish types decline
b. Ecologists are expecting
disaster in making
Facts P2
8. Since the extinction of the
cichlids the lake is
overgrowing with algae
a. Algae uses too much
b. Other plants and
animals can not survive
with low oxygen
c. Parts of the lake have
“dead” zones
9. In 1979 there were only
16,000 fisherman and by
1993 there were 82,300
a. Booming economy, life
style changes
b. Eating well
10. As the population of
other fish decline the NP
becomes cannibalistic.
Disaster looms!
SALI 72 The Miracle Fish P2
• Pros
1. Economy gets better
2. People get more food
3. People get jobs
• Cons
1. Less native cichlids
2. Environment of lake
3. Inflated economy will
collapse with the
decline of NP
Not only did James Abila’s family benefit from large fishing
companies harvesting Nile perch, but the little fishing villages
benefited from an increased food source. Suddenly people had
paying jobs and could afford more luxury items, such as
refrigeration. Another off shoot of positive change from the seeding
of Nile perch into Lake Victoria there was a sudden growth of means
for poor people. The economy grew fives time better and bigger.
There was also plentiful food from these larger fish. Everyone
benefited from the addition of Nile perch into Lake Victoria.
The village people who number in the millions who live in
the surrounding areas around Lake Victoria provided food for their
families by net fishing. When the Nile perch was introduced villagers
found themselves getting employment from the fisheries. Suddenly
the villagers could move into the 21st century with the ability to have
refrigeration to preserve their food.
As a result of the of the population surge of Nile perch the
local people found themselves gainfully employed with money to
spare. They were able to move into the 21st century by having a
refrigerator to preserve the fish they caught or bought. The local
economy grew five times bigger and better.
Subsequently income was not the only growth for the local
people. Their tables were bountiful. Where there was once a few
dried cichlids on the dinner table there were now large fillets of Nile
perch. With full bellies people were joyful and brimming with hope
and plans of a better tomorrow.
Incidentally there is another story that is not so bright and
shiny. Lake Victoria was a pristine lake that had a unique population
of fish native only to this lake. Those tiny fish were 300 different
species of cichlids. Unlike the behemoth Nile perch who range from
7-13 lbs., these fish range from 2”-4” and are caught by hand in nets.
Local fisherman would catch 100’s of them at a time to make meals.
They often sun-dried them to preserve them. Nile perch fed on these
fish and the number of species went from 300 down to 100. The lake
lost the ability to keep the algae under control. Cichlids eat algae.
With the outgrowth of algae parts of the lake are now dead.
In conclusion, the Nile perch release was a good decision by
the British government. It was far-sighted and brought a struggling
job market to its feet. The income from working at the fisheries
provided families with the means to get better equipment, like
refrigerators to keep their food fresh. Having access to larger fish fed
more families. Families who were starving were eating and people
were hopeful that this might be the end of struggling for life.

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