UNDP/FAO Regional Project for Inland Fisheries Planning Development and Management in Eastern/Central/Southern Africa RAF/87/099andUNDP/FAO/Project Fisheries Development of Lake Kivu RWA/87/012
RAF/87/099-TD/23/91 (En)October 1991
Socio Economic Investigations of Lake Kivu Fisheries



George Hanek

Kees Leendertse


Brahim Farhani

The conclusions and recommendations given in this and other reports in the IFIP project series are those considered appropriate at the time of preparation. They may be modified in the light of further knowledge gained at subsequent stages of the Project. The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of FAO or UNDP concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or concerning the determination of its frontiers or boundaries.


The IFIP project started in January 1989 with the main objective of promoting a more effective and rational exploitation of the fisheries resources of major water bodies of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. The project is executed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for a duration of four years.

There are eleven countries and three intergovernmental organisations participating in the project: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaire, Zimbabwe, The Communauté Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs (CEPGL), The Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States (PTA) and the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC).

The immediate objectives of the project are: (i) to strengthen regional collaboration for the rational development and management of inland fisheries, particularly with respect to shared water bodies; (ii) to provide advisory services and assist Governments in sectoral and project planning; (iii) to strengthen technical capabilities through training; and (iv) to establish a regional information base.

The document presents the results of socio-economic investigations of the Lake Kivu fisheries with emphasis on the organizational structure of the fisheries, investments, fishermen's status, their attitudes and problems, etc. These investigations were conducted jointly by the IFIP Project and the Fisheries Development Project, based in Gisenyi, Rwanda. The objectives of this study were to up-date and assess the socio-economic structure of fisheries on Lake Kivu, to gain an insight into the performance of all different fishing economic units on the lake, and to benchmark data for the future assessment of this fishery's evolution.

The document was prepared by Mr. G. Hanek, Chief Technical Advisor RWA/87/012; Mr K. Leendertse, Socio-Economist IFIP; and Mr B. Farhani, UNV Economist RWA/87/012. A French version of the document is being published seperately by the RWA/87/012 Fisheries Development Project.

B.P 1250

Telex : FOODAGRI BDI 5092Fax 227705Tel. 22/4328


Publications of the IFIP project are issued in two series:

A series of technical documents (RAF/87/099-TD) related to meetings, missions and research organized by the project.

A series of working papers (RAF/87/099-WP) related to more specific field and thematic investigations conducted in the framework of the project.

For both series, reference is further made to the document number (23), the year of publication (91) and the language in which the document is issued: English (En) or French (Fr).

For bibliographic purposes this document should be cited as follows:

Hanek, G., K. Leendertse, and B. Farhani, 1991 Socio-Economic Investigations of Lake Kivu Fisheries. UNDP/FAO Regional Project for Inland Fisheries Planning (IFIP), RAF/87/099-TD/23/91 (En):55 p.


1.   Lake Kivu is situated at the altitude of 1,463 m, in western part of Rwanda and in eastern part of Zaire, forming a natural border of some 100 km between these two countries. Its total surface is 2,370 km2 of which approximately 1,000 km2 is part of the territory of Rwanda.

2.   The fish fauna of Lake Kivu is limited, consisting of only 26 fish species. One of them, Limnothrissa miodon, was introduced from Lake Tanganyika in 1958. It has adopted perfectly to the conditions of Lake Kivu; its exploitation started in 1979 through systematic and joint effort of the Governments of Rwanda and The Netherlands, UNDP and FAO.

3.   In order to assess the L. miodon fishery as well as the traditional one, an exhaustive socio-economic survey has been designed and executed during 29.06 to 30.08.1991. It covered the entire shoreline of Lake Kivu and its numerous islands. The data collected form the basis of this report which is a joint effort of Bujumbura based Regional Project for Inland Fisheries Planning, Development and Management in Eastern/Central/Southern Africa (IFIP) and Gisenyi based UNDP/FAO Project entitled ‘Fisheries Development of Lake Kivu’.

4.   For the purpose of this study Lake Kivu was divided into seven sectors (strata): strata I-III, covering Rwanda's portion of the lake, and strata IV-VII, covering Zaire's portion of the lake.

5.   Five types of Fisheries Economic Units (FEU's) were identified and their numbers determined as follows: (1) 239 FEU's - trimarans (170 in Rwanda and 69 in Zaire); (2) 1,419 FEU's - beach seines (438 in Rwanda and 981 in Zaire); (3) 213 FEU's - gill nets (137 in Rwanda and 76 in Zaire); (4) 412 FEU's - pole and/or hand lines (210 in Rwanda and 202 in Zaire); and (5) 30 FEU's - bottom longlines (21 in Rwanda and 9 in Zaire).

6.   Each FEU is described, its composition qualified and quantified, fishing effort and production estimated, investment value calculated and cost/benefit analysis presented.

7.   On the basis of detailed calculations for each type of FEU the total production has been estimated as follows: for FEU's - trimarans at 3,793 tons annually (2,660 tons of L. miodon and 1,133 tons of Haplochromis spp. annually); for FEU's - beach seines at 2,170 tons of principally Haplochromis spp. annually; for FEU's - gill nets at 560 tons of mainly Tilapias annually; for FEU's - pole and/or hand lines at 445 tons annually (some 134 of mainly Tilapias and 311 tons of principally Clarias spp. annually); and for FEU's - bottom longlines at 30 tons of principally Clarias spp. annually. Thus the annual production of Lake Kivu artisanal fishery has been estimated at approximately 7,000 tons.

8.   The investment value of each type of FEU has been determined as follows: at 370,000 FRW for each FEU - trimaran and thus at 88,430,000 FRW for 239 trimarans; at 16,000 FRW for each FEU - beach seine and thus at 22,704,000 FRW for 1, 419 beach seines; at 44,000 FRW for each FEU - gill net and thus at 9,372,000 FRW for 213 gill nets; at 8,600 FRW for each FEU - pole and/or hand line and thus 3,543,000 FRW for 412 pole and/or hand lines; and at 7,700 FRW for each FEU - bottom longline and thus at 231,000 FRW for 30 bottom longlines.

9.   Consequently, the total investment value has been determined at 124,270,000 FRW or about US$ 1 million; 62.7% of the total or about US$ 623,000 for Rwanda and 37.3% or about US$ 372,000 for Zaire. The investment value of FEU's - trimarans represents 71.1% of the total investment.

10.   The artisanal fishery on Lake Kivu provides employment to a total of 6,563 fishermen; 3,027 of them operate FEU's - trimarans and 3,536 are traditional fishermen. In addition, there are some 3,340 women which market and distribute the fish. Thus if one includes their dependents the total number of persons directly benefitting from Lake Kivu fishery amounts to 56,952.

11.   Socio-economic profiles were determined for three distinct groups i. e. for the owners of trimarans, for trimaran crew members and for traditional fishermen.

12.   The average age of all trimaran owners is 35 years; almost 55% of the owners are aged between 31 and 40 years old. The average length of ownership is 8 years. There are 85 absentee owners or about 36% of the total. 96% of all owners are married and have, on average, 7.1 dependents each. 64.9% of the owners have followed primary education, 4.6% followed the secondary one and 30.5% have no education at all.

13.   The average age of all trimaran crew members is 24 years; almost 35% of them are aged between 21 and 30 years old and 31.1% of them are very young, being between 11 and 20 years old. The average length of fishing experience is 5 years. 68.5% of trimaran crew members are married and have, on average 2 dependents each. 63.4% of them have received primary education, 4.7% secondary one and 31.9% have no education at all.

14.   The average age of all traditional fishermen is 33 years; the most prominent age groups are between 21 and 30 and 31 and 40 years old which account for 32% and 28.6% of all traditional fishermen respectively. The average length of fishing experience is 12 years. 75.5% of traditional fishermen are married and have, on average, 4.75 dependents each. Only 44.3% of them have received primary education, 0.9% secondary one and 54.8% none at all.

15.   Attitudes towards fishing were determined for trimaran boatowners and traditional fishermen. While 60.6% of trimaran boatowners stated that they wish to continue their profession only 34.2% would like to see their son/s to fish. On the other hand, 53.3% of traditional fishermen wish to leave their profession and 34.1% of them would like to see their son/s to fish.

16.   The main identified problem is canoe and gear theft and the second the low and irregular captures. However, there are significant differences in identified problems facing two types of fisheries. In trimaran fishery three main problem categories are the price and availability of gear (26.6%), low and irregular catches (25.1%) and availability and costs of kerosene (17.1%). In traditional fishery the canoe and gear theft is the most important (52.7%) and is followed by low revenues (11.4%).


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1.1 Background
1.2 Objectives
1.3 Structure of the report
1.4 Background to the study program
1.5 Acknowledgements


2.1 The survey area
2.2 Stratification of the survey area
2.3 Sample size
2.4 Preparation
2.5 The questionnaire
2.6 Data collection
2.7 Data processing and analysis


3.1 FEU - trimaran
      3.1.1 Description
      3.1.2 Evolution
      3.1.3 Fishing effort
      3.1.4 Production
      3.1.5 Investment value
      3.1.6 Cost/benefit analysis
3.2 FEU - beach seine
      3.2.1 Description
      3.2.2 Fishing effort and production
      3.2.3 Investment value
      3.2.4 Cost benefit analysis
3.3 FEU - gill net
      3.3.1 Description
      3.3.2 Fishing effort and production
      3.3.3 Investment value
      3.3.4 Cost benefit analysis
3.4 FEU - pole and/or hand line
      3.4.1 Description
      3.4.2 Fishing effort and production
      3.4.3 Investment value
      3.4.4 Cost benefit analysis
3.5 FEU - bottom longline
      3.5.1 Description
      3.5.2 Fishing effort and production
      3.5.3 Investment value
      3.5.4 Cost benefit analysis
3.6 Estimated total production
3.7 Estimated investment value
3.8 Fish processing
3.9 Marketing and distribution


4.1 Trimarans
      4.1.1 Owners
      4.1.2 Crew
4.2 Traditional fishery
4.3 Comparison of socio-economic profiles


5.1 Attitudes towards fishing
5.2 Problems encountered



Appendix 1: Questionnaire
Appendix 2: Trimaran lift net
Appendix 3: Fishing lamps
Appendix 4: FEU-Beach seine
Appendix 5: FEU-Gill net
Appendix 6: FEU-Gill net
Appendix 7: FEU-Pole line
Appendix 8: FEU-Botton long line

List of IFIP publications


Table 1: Lake Kivu socio-economic survey: sample size
Table 2: Number and type of FEU's by stratum
Table 3: Distribution of lamps: numbers, types and ownership
Table 4: FEU - trimaran: cost/benefit analysis
Table 5: FEU - beach seine: cost/benefit analysis
Table 6: FEU - gill net: cost/benefit analysis
Table 7: FEU - pole and/or hand line: cost/benefit analysis
Table 8: FEU - bottom longline: cost/benefit analysis


Figure 1: Map of the survey area
Figure 2: Relative distribution of gear per stratum
Figure 3: FEU's trimarans: number and distribution by stratum
Figure 4: Trimarans using auxiliary skiffs (in % by stratum)
Figure 5: FEU's - trimarans: number and types of lamps
Figure 6: Lake Kivu: evolution of night fishing fleet
Figure 7: Production in 1990 (in tons by stratum)
Figure 8: FEU's - beach seines: number and distribution by stratum
Figure 9: Length of beach seines (in m)
Figure 10: FEU's - beach seines: estimated annual production (in tons by stratum)
Figure 11: FEU's gill nets: number and distribution by stratum
Figure 12: Length of gill nets (in m)
Figure 13: FEU's - gill nets: estimated annual production (in tons by stratum)
Figure 14: FEU's - pole and/or hand lines: number and distribution by stratum
Figure 15: FEU's pole and/or hand lines: estimated annual production (in tons by stratum)
Figure 16: FEU's - bottom longline: number and distribution by stratum
Figure 17: Length of bottom longlines (in m)
Figure 18: FEU's bottom lines: estimated annual production (in tons by stratum)
Figure 19: Lake Kivu: estimated annual production(in tons by stratum)
Figure 20: Total investment value by type of FEU and country
Figure 21: Location of markets
Figure 22: Relative age structure of trimaran owners
Figure 23: Relative age structure of trimaran crew
Figure 24: Relative age structure of traditional fishermen
Figure 25: Comparison of relative age structure
Figure 26: Comparison of years of fishing experience
Figure 27: Comparison of marital status
Figure 28: Comparison of number of dependents
Figure 29: Comparison of education level
Figure 30: Attitudes towards fishing
Figure 31: Attitudes towards son/s profession
Figure 32: Main identified problems, by stratum
Figure 33: Main identified problems by type of fishery