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Kasulu is a freshwater river fish, with a distinctive sharp-pointed mouth, belonging to the Mormyridae family. It is sometimes called elephant-snout fish due to the shape of its mouth. The size of the mature Kasulu fish ranges from 5 to 8 inches of body width.

The name “kasulu” refers to the Mormyrus kannume, which is a rather widely diffused species in northern and eastern Africa. It can be found in Lake Victoria and other lake and river systems in Uganda. Kasulu live mostly near stones on the riverbanks and mainly feed on river worms, lake flies, algae and clay soils.

The Kasulu fish has been caught on Uganda’s rivers since the settlement of people along the major rivers of the country. It is traditionally caught with hooks and locally made nets. Like other river fish in Uganda, Kasulu is highly seasonal but is commonly available for catch during April and other months, when heavy rains occur. The fishermen explain that the Kasulu fish is easily caught during thunderstorms especially the most violent and loud ones that force the fish to try and escape from their stony habitats.

The Kasulu is usually reddish brown with very small scales, which are not removed when being prepared for meals. Because the fish is very slippery, removing the scales makes it difficult to handle and prepare.

This fish is caught mainly for food and is highly appreciated by the people around the river based fishing communities. It also provides food for other fish species, which feed on their little ones. Traditionally, the fish is prepared within a few hours of being caught. It is cleaned and then boiled or smoked with all its tiny scales that ease handling. Kasulu can be eaten with all the major foods of Uganda.

In Uganda, the fish is threatened by several factors, such as the increasing pollution of lakes and rivers, high predation by imported and introduced fish species, and also fishing for the aquarium collections trade. All these factors add pressure to the fish population that renders it less and less available to the fishing communities, for example around Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga.

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Fish, sea food and fish products

Nominated by:Edie Mukiibi