MultiTip: Multiple Tipping Points at Lake Victoria

MultiTip is an interdisciplinary research project

that studies ecological tipping points at Lake Victoria.

Usenge Lv
Fishing boats at Kayenze Kubwa landing site, Lake Victoria, Tanzania.

The unsustainable use of a common-pool resource, like a fishery, may bring it to the brink of a systematic shift, i.e. a tipping point. Crossing this tipping point can imply significant socio-economic consequences.

Our research examines how  economic incentives, institutional instruments and stakeholders' perceptions and behavior affect sustainable management of the Nile perch fishery at Lake Victoria.

Lake Victoria is the world's second largest freshwater lake and is shared among 3 countries: Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. It's Nile perch fishery is an important source of food and income to a growing riparian population of around 4 million (Mkumbo & Marshall, 2015). Therefore, crossing an ecological tipping point can significantly impact the livelihoods and protein availability for millions of people.







MultiTip Phase 2 : Enhancing Resilience

In October 2023 MultiTip started phase 2 of the research project. MultiTip Enhancing Resilience (ER) is another two years of collaborative research on Lake Victoria fisheries. Our researchers from Universities of Heidelberg and Kassel and our research partners from fisheries institutes in the Lake Victoria region (LVFO, TAFIRI, NaFIRRI and KMFRI) continue studying ecological tipping points at Lake Victoria with a special focus on fisheries management and enhancing the resilience of the resource system. 

Since its inception, MultiTip has focused on enhancing stakeholders' collective management of Lake Victoria. This objective has been served by MultiTip combining the knowledge of local experts on the resource system with the conceptual and methodological toolbox of behavioral and environmental economics, cognitive and environmental psychology and mathematical modeling provided by researchers at two German universities. Phase 1 focused on the scale (the 'how much') of anthropogenic stress in the socio-ecological system (SES) of LV, with a particular focus on the exploitation of the top-level predator in the system, the Nile perch. Phase 2, called MultiTip-ER, will leverage the successes of Phase 1 to understand and enhance measures favorable to its increased resilience and thus, enhance its ability to avoid adverse tipping points.

To read about on-going research, click here.


Nile Perch
Nile perch catch.

In MultiTip, we use a full-cycle, multi-methods approach via secondary data analysis, qualitative and quantitative methods, mathematical modelling and controlled experiments. The results of these methods are integrated through analytical and agent-based modeling for a better understanding of the complex socio-economic system (SES) of Lake Victoria. Additionally, the project is accompanied with a comprehensive communication strategy which ensures the dissemination of results to relevant stakeholders and policy recommendations to governing bodies. Moreover, the overall results are used to advance a conceptual and analytical toolbox that can be applied to settings that share common features with Lake Victoria, namely collective action, a renewable open-access resource and a SES under stress.



To read about our project design, click here.

To read about our findings and achievements, click here. 


Dagaa catch is sun dried on seine nets.


The MultiTip Team


University of Heidelberg logo Unikassel logo Lvfo logo


Our interdisciplinary research team consists of social scientists, natural scientists and computational natural scientists  from Heidelberg University and University of Kassel. Local stakeholder participation is an important aspect of the project and thus, our team includes fisheries biologists from local organisations: the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) and fisheries institutes of Kenya (KMFRI), Tanzania (TAFIRI) and Uganda (NaFIRRI). To ensure high-quality research, our scientific advisory board is made up of five world-leading experts in natural resource economics, social and decision sciences, aquatic ecology, applied system science and psychology.


To read about our researchers, partners and scientific advisory board, click here.




Sponsor logo

MultiTip is a four year project which started in April, 2019. It is a part of the larger research program "BioTip" (Tipping Points, Dynamics and Interdependencies of Social-ecological Systems). MultiTip is also apart of the second phase (2023-2025) called "GlobalTip". This research program is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

For more information on BioTip and GlobalTip, click here. 




Mkumbo, OC, & Marshall, BE (2015). The Nile perch fishery of Lake Victoria: Current status and management challenges. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 22(1), 56-63. doi:10.1111/fme.12084


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Updated on: 02.04.2024
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