The Lake Victoria catchment, and Mwanza (Tanzania) in particular, has been the subject of much academic and development related enquiry and intervention, particularly around issues relating to water and poverty. In an attempt to start to understand how social and ecological processes interact in the context of water and poverty related issues, this case study brings together previously analytically unrelated change processes in the region, and examines their interlinked effects on the current socio-ecological context. Drawing on the Desakota framework, which highlights the importance of understanding interlinkages between trends in the overall political economy, global environmental climate change, water-based ecosystems and poverty, the effects of Tanzania's political-economic processes of villigisation and structural adjustment will be examined, as will the effects of increasing drought in the region, and the introduction of alien fauna and flora to the lake. Through an assessment of ways in which such processes have blurred the rural urban distinction in the region, and led to a situation of increasing ecosystem degradation coupled with increasing poverty and vulnerability, this case study attempts to re-examine the relationship between Lake Victoria's water-based ecosystem goods and services and poverty alleviation through a desakota lens. The municipality is first briefly examined in relation to it's broad socio-economic, environmental and spatial context. The emergence of a desakota context and it's implications for water based ecosystem goods and services and poverty alleviation are outlined and then examined in more detail in relation to the Perch fishing industry in the region.