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3.1 Introduction

This section presents country-wide information which relates to and completes that of Sections 1 and 2. A brief overview of the fishery sector is provided for each of the countries concerned. Emphasis is given to the relative importance and contribution of the shared lakes under review, vis-à-vis other inland water bodies. This section also contains basic information on relative catch rates and on the still quite maginal but growing contribution of aquaculture to fish production in the region.

3.2 Brief overview by country

3.2.1 Burundi

The most important fishing area of Burundi is Lake Tanganyika where three types of fisheries are found: a traditional fishery using single canoes with handlines, beach seines and gillnets; an artisanal fishery based on catamarans/liftnets; and an industrial fishery based on Greek-type purse seiners. In recent years the evolution of these fisheries has been characterized by an increase in the number of traditional units; an increase in the number and size of catamaran units; and a decrease in the number and use of purse seiners. The industrial fishery is to a large extent out-competed by the artisanal fishery and is in very precarious financial position (Horemans, 1992).

Based on 1990 production and fleet figures for Lake Tanganyika (Bellemans, 1991b), production per boat and per fisherman was respectively of 10.8 t and 3.30 t for the small-scale sector. (For the artisanal fishery: 16.6 t and 4.1 t; for the traditional fishery: 1.6 t and 0.8 t.) Landings are largely influenced by environmental factors and by migration from the central basin of Lake Tanganyika. Of minor importance are lakes in the Upper Kagera Lakes Complex the largest of which are Lake Cohoha and Lake Rweru. No rivers in Burundi are of major importance to fisheries. Fish is the main source of animal protein in the country. It has recently been estimated that Burundi is now a net importer of fish (mostly from Tanzania), but regional trade remains limited (Bellemans, 1993). The fisheries resources of Burundi are thought to be fully exploited and increased attention is being given to the development of fish culture (pond; O. niloticus; small-scale). Present production from fish culture is estimated at 40 t/yr (Marquet, pers. comm.).

3.2.2 Ethiopia

The most important inland fisheries of Ethiopia are those of Lake Tana, and of the Rift Valley Lakes (Abaya, Chamo, Awasa, Langeno, Ziway). The contribution from those various lakes to total inland production in 1989–90 in given in Figure 30. The main catches are Tilapia-Oreochromis spp. (about 80%), Lates niloticus (in Lakes Chamo and Abaya), Clarias spp. and Barbus spp.

Figure 30 Ethiopia: Landings by major lakes (1989/1990)

Ethiopia (1989/90)
Quantity of fish production (tonnes)
by area
Figure 30
Source: Curr (1991)

There is no fishing activity in Lake Abbe (shared with Djibouti) and very little on Lake Turkana. Catch per boat is estimated at 3.82 t/yr for Lake Ziway (Curr, 1991). Total production from the inland sector is estimated at about 4500 t, for a potential of 20 000 to 50 000 t. There are therefore ample opportunities for development, considering that per caput fish consumption in Ethiopia is one of the lowest in Africa (0.1 kg/yr), and that imports have been significant in the past (122 t in 1985).

3.2.3 Kenya

Most of the inland fisheries production of Kenya now comes from Lake Victoria (94%, 1991). Other fisheries exist on Lake Turkana (1 079 t), Lake Baringo (130 t), Lake Naivasha (299 t), Lake Jipe (107 t) and other lakes, reservoirs and rivers (2 190 t). Marine sector production with 7 458 t represents only about 4% of total production (1991 data, Fish. Dept. Kenya). Production from minor lakes is mainly composed of Tilapia spp. (Baringo: 80%; Naivasha: 50%; Jipe: 60%), with significant landings of crayfish from Lake Naivasha (35%). Given a total inland production of 138 000 t from 5 860 boats and 24 061 fishermen (Fish. Dept., 1989 data), catch per boat and fisherman is respectively 10.8 and 3.3 t/yr.

Exports have been increasing over the last ten years and are now comprised mainly of Nile perch (76% in value, 1989), and crustaceans. Imports are mostly comprised of fish meal (200 t), and fresh and smoked fish from Tanzania and Uganda. Official statistics are believed to underestimate border trade. The official production figures for fish culture, mostly O. niloticus, are in the range of 900 to 1 000 t for recent years. These are thought to overestimate actual production (Vanden Bossche and Bernacsek, 1990). Globally, the fisheries resources of Kenya are believed to be fully exploited, with signs of overexploitation for many inshore stocks.

3.2.4 Malawi

Fish production in Malawi comes primarily from Lake Malawi (53%), but significant fisheries exist on other lakes (Chilwa, Chiuta, Malombe) and on the Shire River. The contribution of these water bodies to total national fish production is given in Figure 31. Globally Figure 31 shows a relative stagnation of fish production since the late 1970s. The fisheries resources of Malawi are sensitive to climatic variability and to water levels in particular.

Figure 31 Malawi Evolution of landings from major lakes (1976–1991)

Quantity of fish landed by lake
Figure 31
Source: Fisheries Department, Lilongwe.

Except for the pelagic resources of Lake Malawi (Engraulicypris sardella), the fisheries are believed to be fully exploited. Emphasis is now being placed on the development of fish culture, for which excellent opportunities exist in the country. Fish culture production was estimated at 300 t in 1987 (including production from 700 to 800 small reservoirs) and has increased since. It is based primarily on tilapias (O. shiranus, O. mossambicus, T. rendalli), Clarias gariepinus and the freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii (Vanden Bossche and Bernacsek, 1990).

3.2.5 Mozambique

The fisheries sector occupies a prominent position in the economy of Mozambique, both in terms of food production and foreign currency earnings. Shrimp is now the single most important export product, representing 34% of export earnings in 1989. Total landings just before independence were estimated at about 13 000 t. In 1986, total production was reported to be in the range of 41 000 and 62 000 t. For the marine sector only, production may have increased to 102 000 in 1990, including 53 000 t of non-recorded artisanal catches (Tembe, 1991).

Concerning inland fisheries, no recent data is available. The main water bodies are Lake Niassa and Lake Cahora Bassa. For Lake Niassa, the only data available is an estimated production figure of 2 000 t in 1985 (Krantz et al., 1986) and an estimate of 1 120 boats (essentially dugouts) and 1 450 fishermen operating in the Niassa Province in 1979. It can be deduced from these figures that the fishing activity on these two lakes is primarily of the subsistence type. For Cahora Bassa, estimates range from 4 343 t in 1982 (Vanden Bossche and Bernacsek, 1990) to 2 000 t in 1985 (Krantz et al., 1986). The total annual yield of the inland waters of Mozambique is estimated at 5 000 t for recent years. The limited information available is to be compared with estimated potentials of 20 000 to 25 000 t for Lake Niassa (Vanden Bossche and Bernacsek, 1990) and 14 700 t for Lake Cahora Bassa, 8 000 t of which were Limnothrissa miodon (Bernacsek and Lopes, 1984).

3.2.6 Rwanda

The major part of Rwanda's fish production (3 160 t) comes from Lake Kivu (48% in 1990). A number of small lakes support significant fisheries activities, such as Lake Ihema (about 190 t), Lake Muhazi (about 40 t), and the shared lakes Cyohoha and Rweru (about 120 t). Recent catch levels for smaller lakes (excluding Kivu) range between 1 100 and 1 600 t/yr. This is to be compared with a potential conservatively estimated at 2 200 t (Micha, 1990).

Globally, the main commercial stocks (Tilapia spp., Clarias spp.) are largely overexploited, while important stocks of Haplochromis spp. remain unfished by lack of market. The exploitation of these stocks has recently been tested on Lake Muhazi for the production of fish meal for human consumption (Micha and Frank, 1992). Emphasis is also being given to fish culture and production is now estimated at around 40 t/yr (3 000 ponds, O. nilotica) (Luginbühl and Micha, 1991). Since 1988/89, a growing amount of dried fish (R. argentea) is imported from Tanzania (mostly unrecorded), and Rwanda is increasingly dependent upon imports.

3.2.7 Tanzania

The major water bodies of Tanzania are Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria, the latter contributing about 60% of total production. As indicated in Figure 32, the contribution of the marine sector remains limited (10%), mainly inshore artisanal and shrimp fishing. The exploitation of inland fisheries is essentially artisanal, except for a few small trawlers operating on Lake Victoria. A few purse seiners are based in Kigoma, but are no longer operational. The production of other small water bodies is significant. Indeed Tanzania is endowed with a large number of small lakes and reservoirs, as well as with numerous rivers, swamps, and floodplains. The most important are Lake Rukwa (8 940 t), Nyumba ya Mungu (3 856 t) and Mtera (4 303 t) Reservoirs, and the Ruvuma, Rufigi and Malagarasi Rivers/floodplains. The total production of these small water bodies is estimated at 28 000 t (Fish. Dept., 1989).

Figure 32 Tanzania: Landings by major water bodies (1970–1990)

Quantity of fish landed by water bodies
Figure 32
Source: FAO; Fisheries Department,

Exports of fish products are significant, reaching over $5 million in 1989. These are mostly composed of prawns and Nile perch filets. A significant amount of Nile perch is exported through Kenya (35 000 t in 1991, van der Hoeven and Budeba, 1992), although only ¾ are recorded. Border trade all around Tanzania is important and often unrecorded. For 1989, total inland production was estimated at 327 000 t, for 62 767 fishermen and 21 005 fishing crafts (Fish. Dept., 1989). This gives an average production of 5.2 t/fisherman and 15.5 t/fishing craft.

3.2.8 Uganda

The contribution of the major lakes of Uganda is given in Figure 33. It shows a relative stagnation of fisheries production since 1977, as well as an inverse evolution in the major contributions of Lake Kyoga and Lake Victoria. The two lakes originally had a similar species composition. As in the case of Lake Victoria, O. niloticus and Lates niloticus were introduced in Lake Kyoga where they proliferated quite rapidly. Production increased dramatically on Lake Kyoga in the 1960s, but the predominant Nile perch fishery nearly collapsed in the mid 1980s due to excessive fishing pressure and reduced water level (Reynolds and Gréboval, 1988). Since 1990, there are signs that the Nile perch fishery of Lake Kyoga is slowly recovering.

Figure 33 Uganda: Evolution of landings from major lakes (1970–1991)

Quantity of fish landed by lakes
Figure 33
Source: Kirema-Mukasa & Reynolds (1991)

Aside from the major lakes, inland fisheries production is limited to that of Lake Wamala (1 100 t), the Albert Nile (2 200 t), and a large number of small lakes and reservoirs (about 160) whose production is about 4 000 t (Fish. Dept., 1989). Total production for 1989 was 211 000 t for 16 000 boats (Kirema-Mukasa and Reynolds, 1991), which gives an average production of 13 t/boat and of 4.4 t/fisherman, assuming an average crew size of three. Except for the stocks of Rastrineobola argentea (Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga) and deep water stocks (Lake Albert, Lake Edward), the fisheries resources of Uganda are believed to be near full exploitation level, with signs of overexploitation for some inshore stocks. Exports of Nile perch are becoming significant, with about 20 processing plants now in operation or in construction around Lake Victoria. Border trade is also quite important: to Kenya from Lakes Victoria and Kyoga, and to Zaire from Lakes Albert, Edward and Victoria.

3.2.9 Zaire

Aside from the eastern shared lakes of the Rift Valley, the inland waters of Zaire are composed of Lake Tumba, Lake Maji Ndombe and numerous small lakes scattered throughout the country. Fishing is also important in the extensive river-floodplain system of Zaire, whose average surface area is larger than that of the lakes (28 000 km2). The inland fishery sector is almost exclusively operated by artisanal fishermen, except for a few seiners (Lake Tanganyika) and some barges (Lake Mweru and Lake Albert).

Fisheries statistics are seldom available and then generally rough estimates. According to various estimates total inland production was in the range of 130 000 to 180 000 t in the 1980s, and of 164 000 t in 1987. This is to be compared with a potential of 380 000 to 510 000 t (Vanden Bossche and Bernacsek, 1990). The contribution from the marine sector (about 2 000 t) is limited and so is the potential for further development. The development of inland fisheries remains a low national priority in spite of its considerable potential.

Except for the inshore resource of Lake Edward/Mobutu and Lake Mwero, inland fisheries resources are believed to be lightly exploited, primarily as a result of limited access to equipment and appalling infrastructures. It follows that Zaire has been a significant importer of fish for some years (in the range of 100 000 to 200 000 t for 1980–87). Official import figures have certainly decreased with the political crisis which has affected the country since 1991. However, largely undeclared imports from eastern riparian states and from Lake Victoria are still quite substantial (15 000 to 20 000 t). Fish culture is mostly small-scale (ponds, O. niloticus) and produces about 700 t/yr.

3.2.10 Zambia

The contribution of major lakes to fish production in Zambia is given in Figure 34. It shows an increase in production in the early 1980s, as a result of higher landings from Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kariba, but also because of the presumed effect of a general ban on fishing activity in 1981 (following an outbreak of cholera). Production from major lakes has been relatively stable since 1986 at 45 000 to 50 000 t/yr. Aside from the shared lakes, the major lakes are Bangwelu and Mweru-Wa-Ntipa. The production of these two lakes has been relatively stable in recent years and has remained close to long-term average level (11 000 t and 8 000 t respectively for 1966–90). In 1990, production figures for Lake Bangwelu and Lake Mweru-Wa-Ntipa were estimated at 9 101 t and 8 490 t respectively.

Other water bodies of importance are the Kafue Flats (7 335 t), Lukanga Swamp (2 613 t), Upper Zambezi (4 213 t), and Lake Lusiwashi (403 t), (Fish. Dept., 1990). The recent (1992) introduction of L. miodon in Lake Itezhitezhi is to be noted. The inshore stocks of most lakes are believed to be heavily or overexploited, and further development may be possible only for the pelagic fisheries of some lakes and for the fisheries of the Zambezi floodplain and the Lukanga Swamp.

Total production has been stable at around 65 000 since 1983. This is to be compared with a conservatively estimated potential of 116 000 t (Vanden Bossche and Bernacsek, 1990). Data for major lakes give a 1990 production of 64 000 t for 27 923 fishermen (presumably owners of boats or gear) and 22 803 boats. This gives a figure of 2.8 t/boat, and may be half as much per active fisherman (owner or crew). Production from fish culture has reached about 1 000 t since 1987, mostly O. andersonii.

Figure 34 Zambia: Evolution of landings from major lakes (1970–1990)

Quantity of fish landed by lakes
Figure 34
Source: Department of Fisheries, Chilanga

3.2.11 Zimbabwe

Except for Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe inland waters are limited to rivers and a large number of small reservoirs (about 8 000, of which 120 are of more significant size. Data on production from rivers and small reservoirs are not available, but have been estimated at about 4 500 t (Vanden Bossche and Bernacsek, 1990). This is to be compared with an estimated potential of 12 000 t (5 000 for rivers and weirs), as compiled by the same authors.

Adjusted catch levels of Limnothrissa miodon for Lake Kariba as a whole are reported to have reached over 34 000 t in 1989/90, 20 900 t of which from Zimbabwe (Lupikisha, 1992). This is to be compared with an estimated potential of 30 000 t (Marshall, 1982). The pelagic resource is believed to be fully exploited and entry is not limited. The artisanal fishery is organized in camps (39) and many of the 746 recorded fishermen belong to cooperatives (36%) (Thorsteinsson et al., 1991).

Aquaculture has a very high potential and its development is being actively pursued. Pond-based aquaculture produced about 150 t in 1987, mostly Salmo gairdneri, Tilapia/Oreochromis spp., and Macrobrachium rosenbergii. A programme for production enhancement and the development of fishing activities on small reservoirs is being formulated.

3.3 Aquaculture production

As noted in the above country review, aquaculture is now being given increased attention in the region. Development programmes are based especially on Tilapia/Oreochromis spp., with emphasis on pond-based small-scale fish culture. Table 16 shows aquaculture production increasing significantly since 1985, although its contribution to total fish production remains marginal.

Table 16 Recent evolution of aquaculture production (tonnes)

Kenya2132242105619721 236
Zambia3636951 0201 0721 0701 110
TOTAL1 1013 9494 3534 8085 2665 992

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