INFORMATION ON FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN THE FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA

January 2003





LOCATION OF COMMERCIALLY IMPORTANT LANDING SITES

There are numerous landing sites in the commercial fisheries on freshwater waterbodies, but the bulk of the catch (70-80 percent of the total catch) is landed through one major outlet, Bahir dar on Lake Tana. Table 1 lists the most important sites and landing data.


Table 1. Commercially important landing sites

Waterbody

Main landing site

Coordinates

Area (km2)

Potential (tonne/year)

Total landings (2001; tonne)

Offtake

Tana

Bahir Dar

1138 N, 3710 E

3 500

10 000

1 454

15%

Lugo

Lugo

1140 N, 3940 E

25

400

330

83%

Koka Reservoir

Koka

825 N, 3805 E

255

700

625

89%

Ziway

Ziway

800 N, 3843 E

434

2 941

2 454

83%

Langano

Oittu

742 N, 3847 E

230

240

151

63%

Awassa

Awassa

704 N, 3831 E

91

611

853

140%

Abaya

Arbamich

602 N, 3706 E

1 070

600

412

69%

Chamo

Arbaminch

602 N, 3706 E

350

4 500

4 359

97%

Total

 

 

5 955

19 992

10 638

53%

FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

Sector overview

Broad objectives

Consistent with the rural and agricultural sector policy objectives, fishery is increasingly recognized as an alternative means of addressing the problems of food security and poverty in the country, with the following specific objectives.

  • increase fish consumption and the nutritional status of the population, particularly in rural areas;

  • improve employment and income opportunities, and hence the living conditions of fishery communities;

  • improve post-harvest activities to cut losses and improve fish quality;

  • supply industries and export markets with sufficient quantities of good quality fish;

  • increase fisheries contribution to national income, including export earnings;

  • improve complementarity and efficiency in fish farming systems through integration with other agricultural activities; and

  • ensure sustainable use of fish stock and the aquatic environment.

OVERVIEW OF GOVERNMENT STRATEGY

Ethiopia has already adopted and is implementing a strategy of Agriculture Development Led Industrialization (ADLI). The rationale behind the strategy is that rural areas and the agricultural sector, with 85 percent of the total population, are the basis for bringing about rapid and equitable economic growth and development in the country. Contained in this broad strategy is the concept of best use of the country's fisheries resources to contribute to the desired socio-economic development in the country.

In line with this, the agriculture sector should be transformed from a smallholder subsistence farming system to a market oriented system, through use of improved and adaptive technology and extension packages. The country's artisanal fishery is integral to this transformation process. In addition, the development of small-scale rural aquaculture in the country receives high priority in the task of achieving food security, and will be a prominent element in water harvesting and agricultural development programmes and projects.

In the Second Five-Year Agricultural Development Plan (2001-2005), the following targets are laid down for fisheries:

  • Improve knowledge of the fisheries resources base.

  • Effective introduction of aquaculture practices,

  • Improve fishery technologies and fish quality to meet the requirements of both domestic and export markets.

  • Build capacity by providing training for 1 438 fishery personnel and for over 20 000 fishers and fish farmers.

  • Further encourage fishery community development and private sector participation.

  • Double total fish production.

  • Ensure conservation of the fisheries resources and the aquatic system.


DESCRIPTION OF THE CURRENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Yet Ethiopia has no fisheries laws in force. The fishery is open access and consequently there has been localized overfishing. Some commercially important species are already at risk of overexploitation, including Nile perch in Lake Chamo, and tilapia in Lakes Awassa and Ziway.

Even though late, national fisheries legislation has been drafted, and this awaits approval by the government. Consistent with this draft legislation, some regional authorities are drafting their own fisheries legislation and regulations. Both the federal and regional fisheries legislation and regulations are expected to be ratified in 2002/03.


A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE RESOURCE

For the sake of convenience, the country's waterbodies are classified into four systems: lakes; reservoirs; rivers; and small waterbodies. The lakes and rivers support highly diverse aquatic life, ranging from giant mammals like the African Hippopotamus, to microscopic fauna and flora. The natural ichthyofauna is also diverse, with more than 100 fish species, of which about 40 are endemic to the country.

Including exotic species, about ten different species have been used for stocking artificial waterbodies.



MAIN WATERBODIES OF ETHIOPIA AND THEIR FISHERIES

Table 2. Summary of Ethiopian waterbodies and their fisheries

Waterbody type

Extent

Fishery potential (tonne/year)

Catch
(tonne; 2001)

Offtake

Major lakes

6 477 km2

23 342

10 598

45%

Major reservoirs and dams

857 km2

4 399

1 366

31%

Small waterbodies

275 km2

1 952

303

16%

Rivers

7 185 km

21 788

3 121

14%

Total

 

51 481

15 389

30%

 

Table 3.  Major lakes

Waterbody

Altitude
(m)

Shoreline (km)

Mean depth (m)

Area
(km2)

Fishery potential
(tonne/yr)

Catch
(2001; tonne)

Offtake

Tana

1829

385

8

3 500

10 000

1 454

15%

Ardibo and Lugo

670

37

51

400

330

83%

Ziway

1848

102

2.5

434

2 941

2 454

83%

Langano

1585

78

12

225

240

151

63%

Abijata

1578

7.6

205

2 000

500

25%

Shalla

1558

87

250

1 300

10

1%

Awassa

1708

52

11

97

611

853

140%

Abaya

1285

225

7

1 070

600

412

69%

Chamo

1282

118

6

551

4 500

4 359

97%

Turkana (from 1.3% of total area)

365

33

94

750

75

10%

Subtotal

 

 

 

6 477

23 342

10 598

45%

 

Table 4.  Major reservoirs and dams

Reservoir or dam

Area
(km2)

Fishery potential(1)
(tonne/year)

Catch
(2001; tonne)

Offtake

Koka

255

1 194

625

52%

Fincha-Amerti

250

1 330

333

25%

Beseka

39

205

41

20%

Denbi

72

383

77

20%

Melka Wakena

82

434

109

25%

Aba-samuel

44

234

59

25%

Alwero dam

74

394

79

20%

Hashengie

20

106

21

20%

Small Abya

12

66

13

20%

Wedecha

10

53

11

20%

Subtotal

857

4 399

1 366

31%

Note: The potential catch is calculated from A 5.32, where A is the area in km2, and 5.32 is the average yield in t/km2 from major lakes.



Table 5
.  Small waterbodies

Waterbody

Area(1)
(km2)

Fishery potential
(tonne/year)

Catch
(2001; tonne)

Offtake

Southern region (Cheleloka Swamp)

100

423 (2)

21

5%

Gambella (swamps and flood plains)

125

529 (2)

132

25%

Small reservoirs and ponds

50

1 000 (3)

150

15%

Subtotal

275

1 952   

303

16%


Notes:
(1) 
Area for SWBs are rough estimates.
(2) Swamp potential catch is calculated from A 4.23, where A is the area in km2, and 4.23 is the average yield in t/km2.
(3) Potential catch based on an average yield of 200 kg/ha (= 0.2 tonne/km2)

Sources: FAO, 1994. Small waterbodies and rivers in southern Africa, edited by B. Marchal & M. Maes.

Table 6.  Major Rivers

River

Total length (km)

River length within Ethiopia (km)

Fishery potential
(tonne/year)

Catch
(2001; tonne)

Offtake

Abay

1 450

800

2 133

213

10%

Wabi Shebele

1 130

1 000

3 333

333

10%

Genale

858

480

768

77

10%

Awash

1 200

1 200

4 800

480

10%

Omo

760

760

1 925

481

25%

Tekeze

608

608

1 232

123

10%

Mereb

440

440

645

65

10%

Baro

277

277

256

26

10%

Angereb

220

220

161

16

10%

Subtotal

6 943

5 785

15 255

1 814

12%

Miscellaneous small rivers

 

1 400

6 533

1 307

20%

Total rivers

 

7 185

21 788

3 121

14%


Notes:
Preliminary estimate using C=0.003L1.98 (r=0.90), or C = L/300; where C is catch, and L is river length in km. Source for river length: Central Statistic Authority, 2001.

FISHERIES MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES

The proposed fisheries legislation as an important legal framework for fisheries management in the country. It is intended to achieve the following interdependent objectives:

  • Curb prevailing overfishing and recover depleted stocks.

  • Ensure conservation of biodiversity and the aquatic environment.

  • Encourage effective technological advancement.

  • Ensure sustainable supply of good fish to the food economy.

  • Improve and secure employment and income for fishery communities.

The general fisheries management thinking and measures which are already contained in the draft fisheries legislation, and the specific management tools that follow for the enforcement of this legislation, are described below.

Management measures

On the basis of the fisheries legislation, steps are being taken to introduce fisheries management measures on a lake-by-lake basis. Though the degree varies from one fishery to another, the following general management measures are considered appropriate.

Conservation measures

Restriction of mobility of live fish. Any transfer of live fish is restricted without written authorization from the pertinent federal and regional institution.

Prohibition of destructive gear. Poisonous and explosive gear of any type are totally banned for fishing in Ethiopian waters.

Mesh regulation. Both twine and mesh size and net dimensions or other gear must be standardized to the needs and requirements of individual fish species. The beach seine net should be improved to minimize its destructive effect, or - where necessary - banned.

Area or seasonal closure. Any fishing gear or method which is believed to affect the breeding and recruitment of fish in a defined area and for a certain period is prohibited for the stated time.

Declaring a reserve in park or other area. Where a national park and a fishery share the same lake for different purposes, that portion of the lake claimed by the park is to be freed from fishing. This serves as a reserve area for the fishery, allowing the dynamics and status of the stock exploited by the commercial fishery itself to be compared with the same fish stocks when protected.

Limiting access. Access to fishing is to be limited by licensing effective fishing effort. Fishers will be licensed, and the licence should prescribe all the necessary conditions and requirements for fishing. In addition, fish traders will be required to be licensed and banned from acquiring fish from illegal fishing operations or handling fish which for some reason is banned from trade.

Allocation of catch. Where appropriate and manageable, catch quotas may be allocated to individual fisher groups or to individuals.

Territorial right. Fishing rights in small waterbodies will be given to organized fisher groups on the basis of a concession. For larger areas where a traditional division of territory has existed among different communities or tribes, then this will be revived and improved for further application.

Economic measures. Fiscal instruments such as taxes and fees are indirect means to limit entry. Increasing the tax on catch, increasing licence fees or reducing subsidies for gear for those fisheries or species that are close to or reaching full exploitation will be applied in order to reduce fishing pressure. For underutilized fish stocks, reverse measures will be taken.

Enforcement mechanism

At the outset, it has been clearly recognized that implementation of management measures is a challenge, given the limited financial and administrative capacities of the country. Despite the limitations, the administration of the management regime will pursue and implement the following enforcement measures.

Institutional arrangement

The institutional framework is that the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the overall regulatory and supervisory functions of the fisheries management system in the country. The regional states are responsible for the application of the management system according to their specific needs and conditions.

Research, monitoring and evaluation

Many of the fisheries in the country are lack adequate data on which to base management decisions. Some of the data problems requires applied research, while others imply monitoring and evaluation of the status of commercial fisheries and the impacts of the management measures. These activities are constrained by limited capacity - technical, financial and institutional. Despite this, existing capacities will be utilized in a better fashion.

Strengthening fisher associations

For effective fisheries management, local government and the fisher communities will enter into a social contract. This will, however, require strengthening and empowerment of fisher associations at different levels. The importance of participatory fisheries management is well recognized.

Cooperation to manage shared fisheries


There are a few lake and river fisheries that border two or more regional states within the country, or with another country, such as Kenya and Sudan. The fisheries legislation calls for effective cooperation for the management of shared fishery resources. Ethiopia shares 1.3 percent of lake Turkana with Kenya. Some Ethiopian rivers flow to Sudan.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF FISHERIES AUTHORITIES

Very recently, structural change has been taking place. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) now coordinates various agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Ethiopia Agricultural Research Organization (EARO). MoA is responsible for the development and management of fisheries and EARO undertakes research in response to fishery management and development needs.

The organigram of each government institution is shown below.

Organizational structure of the current fisheries administration at Federal level

 

Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)

 

 

Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization (EARO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal and Fisheries Resources Development and Regulatory Department

 

 

Livestock Research Directorate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal and Fisheries Resource Development Team (Fisheries staff)

 

 

National Fisheries and Other Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre

 

Organizational structure of the current fisheries administration
at the Regional States level

 

 

Regional Peoples Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural and Rural Development General Office (Regional State Level)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Regional State Agricultural Research Organization

 

 

Bureau of Agriculture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regional Fisheries Research and Training Centre

 

 

Animal and Fishery Resource Development Department

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Animal and) Fisheries Development Team

 

Agricultural and Rural Development Coordination Office

(District Level)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal and Fisheries Development Desk

(Fisheries staff)

 

Reflecting the federal government structure, the federal MoA and the regional Bureaus of Agriculture (BoAs) are directly responsible for the development and management of fisheries. MoA deals with policy and regulatory functions of a general kind; plays coordinatory and supervisory roles; facilitates cooperation and foreign assistance; and provides technical assistance to regional states and others. The regions are responsible for operational management of the fisheries in their territory. However, the federal and regional institutions lack effective structural linkage, so information exchange and reporting are indirect and thus not very effective.

In the area of research, the Sebeta Fish and Other Living Aquatic Resource Research Centre exists as a small unit within the EARO. At regional level, only two regions (Amhara and Oromya) have their own specialized fishery research and training units, despite other regions having huge fishery potentials. However, fishery research centres are unable to respond to research problems in the fishery sector as their technical and financial capacities are generally inadequate.

Organizational structures at regional level are not uniform. Commonly, where there is large fishery potential, the fishery is considered as part of a livestock and fishery unit within the BoA. Where the fish resource is small or poorly known, fishery is grossly marginalized.

The recent restructuring process further devolves powers to lower-level administrations. The implication for fishery is that decisions and actions on fisheries management will be taken by authorities that are closer to the fishery area and its problems.