Tanganyika: between protection and exploitation

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The Agency for the Promotion of Investments (API) in Burundi met in a workshop on Friday, April 30, 2021 with leaders of associations and fishing cooperatives in the province of Rumonge (southwestern Burundi) to discuss protection of fish species.

The objective of this meeting was to sensitize them so that the fishing which is done in Lake Tanganyika is more profitable. But “this space which supports thousands of individuals needs to be protected”, according to environmental experts.

“Fishermen must come together in association to obtain good results because there is strength in unity”. The appeal was made by Consolateur Nitunga, governor of Rumonge province. It was in his opening speech for this workshop.

“Make fishing more profitable so that it contributes significantly to economic growth, facilitate and modernize fishing on Lake Tanganyika, take the first steps in the industrialization of the fishing sector in Burundi”, were the main objectives. of this workshop.

According to Serges Nsabimana who represented the Director of the Agency for the Promotion of Investments, “the fishing sector is one of the sectors which can boost the national economy in a considerable way, in particular by increasing production. in Lake Tanganyika.

We must practice a “rational” fishing which, according to Madame Marwa, Regional Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Lake Tanganyika Authority, would bring a good proportion in terms of economic benefits on the one hand and long-term resource conservation on the other hand.

By aligning with Sustainable development goal 14 , this meeting must lead to guaranteeing healthy water in favor of food security, nutrition and resilient communities.

Des causes de la baisse de la production
The challenges are at two levels according to Gabriel Butoyi, president of the Federation of Fishermen and Fish Suppliers in Burundi: Government side and fishermen side.

Fishermen still use tools that threaten the populations of the lake, including the ndagala and mukeke. These include gillnets, which contain acids and kill aquatic life. Fishing in Burundi remains traditional to such an extent that everyone allows themselves to get started.

The challenge is at the legislative level because, according to Mr. Gabriel, the law governing fishing in Burundi is not updated.

“Until 2015, fishing in Burundi was governed by the law of 1932. There a fisherman was punished up to Cent Francs Burundais. This sum is currently insignificant and allows fishermen to behave as they want, ”laments the boss of the federation. He asks to update the legal texts for the protection of fish species.

The adviser in charge of fisheries in the Directorate of Fisheries at the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Rumbete Evariste reassures that: “Three drafts of three related laws are already available.”

On the other hand, the number of fishermen who have embarked on fishing, equipment that is no longer suitable has significantly reduced the quantity of fish caught in Lake Tanganyika, constitute a danger to the protection of fish species according to the president. of the Federation of Fishermen and Fish Suppliers in Burundi

Esaie Ntidendereza, he is head of service at API (Agency for the Promotion of Investments in Burundi). For him, developing fishing in Burundi is a necessity. “The sales market is too large: local market (eighteen provinces of Burundi), regional market (countries in the East African region) and international.

Lake Tanganyika is shared by Tanzania, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. The products of this lake are coveted by more than one, both locally and internationally.

In Burundi, fishing activities support more than a hundred thousand people, recalls the Governor of Rumonge Province. He specifies that this activity remains the main occupation of the inhabitants and the engine of development of his province located in the southwest of Burundi.

For Marwa, “These countries that share Lake Tanganyika should not only see fish there. They must take the necessary steps to protect its watersheds. This Regional Director of Fisheries, and Aquaculture of the Lake Tanganyika Authority suggests the tracing of contour lines, the planting and protection of trees on the mountains overlooking Lake Tanganyika, and protection against plastics of all kinds. ,… ”To perpetuate this production that these countries want.

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