Ark of taste
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Ningu (Labeo victorianus) is a scaly fish, about 30 centimeters long at maturity, silver-gray in color, and very bony. It lives in streams and lakes, and used to be particularly abundant where the Kagera River runs into Lake Victoria. Ningu have been fished since people first settled along Uganda’s rivers. Because of their high fat content, ningu are usually eaten boiled or smoked. They are caught primarily during the rainy season (from March to May), as well as in November. Elderly fishermen explain that, before hooks became available, they would wait for the water to settle and, once all was quiet, hit the side of their canoe with the paddle, prompting the fish to come to the surface where they could be easily collected. In recent years nets have largely replaced hooks. Nowadays ningu is an extremely rare fish, caught only occasionally for personal consumption. Commercial fisheries on Lake Victoria use small nets and traps to collect this species to use as bait for Nile perch (Lates niloticus) or catfish, and many young ningu are caught before being able to reproduce.

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