Until recently, most fish farmers in Uganda were poor people in villages who practiced aquaculture for subsistence with ponds of usually less than 500 m² constructed using family labour. These are low or no input production systems, with little or no need for routine management. Those who have had some training in the management of ponds usually fertilize their ponds with either chicken droppings or cow dung and any other organic house waste. Production is usually in the range of 5 kg to 10 kg/100 m² (i.e. 500 kg to 1,000 kg per hectare) per annum. The number of ponds at this level is estimated at 11,000 to 15,000 ponds with nearly 80 percent currently active. These 11,000 to 15,000 ponds are of an average size of 200 m² and are owned by an estimated 8,000 farmers.

The waters of Uganda contain an impressive array of fish species—over 90 in all. This count does not include the Haplochromis complex, which itself is made up of more than 200 species. Fish that are the target of most commercial and subsistence exploitation include species of

Lates (Nile perch), Oreochromis (Nile tilapia), the herring-like Alestes, the catfishes Bagrus and

Clarias, Hydrocynus (Tiger fish), the small pelagic “sardine” Rastrineobola, Protopterus (lungfish), and the haplochromines. The commonest fish types in Uganda include:  Nile perch locally known as “Empuuta”, Singidia tilapia locally known as “Engege”

Nile tilapia, Catfish locally known as “Semutundu”, Silver fish (fish) locally known as “Mukene”Lungfish locally known as “Emmamba”, Eels locally known as “Ensonzi”, Sprat locally known as “Enkejje”, Clarias locally known as “Emalle”