The Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and the Western Province have lifted a ban on fishing activities on Lake Kivu that has been in place for the last two months.
The ban was declared as a measure help to replenish fish stocks in the lake, following reports of illegal and disorderly fishing activities on the lake.
The decision was taken on October 2, after a stakeholders meeting in Karongi district. The decision was reached by different stakeholders, including representatives of fishers’ cooperatives.
“To establish the productivity of the lake following the ban, its output will undergo evaluation to determine the impact of the ban on the fish in the lake,’’ said Christine Kanyandekwe, the RAB Deputy Director General in charge of Animal Resources.
RAB’s western region representative, Jeanine Nuwumuremyi, said the institution had taken steps to address fishing related problems on the lake. Among them is training of fishermen on fishing regulations, visiting and verifying fishing licenses, among others. Nuwumuremyi, however, expressed dismay that some fishermen did not respect the ban and continued to fish illegally.
Officials said the ban will be an annual measure to replenish fish stocks in the lake which is a source of livelihood for over 1,000 families from five districts that touch the lake. They are grouped into 30 cooperatives.
Recent figures indicate that the lake, the biggest in the country, was, before the ban, producing at least 1,300 tonnes of fish a month, and after the replenishment, it is expected to increase to 5,000 tonnes.
In a related development, representatives from eleven participating Fisheries administrations, Regional fishery organizations and regional economic communities in Eastern Africa will meet in Rwanda, (10-12 October, 2012) for the 3rd Regional ACP Fish II Programme Monitoring Workshop and Training in Monitoring and Evaluation.