Nelly Bassily | September 27, 2010
Lake Kivu is one of the major lakes in Africa. It is located along the border between the DRC and Rwanda. Lake Kivu provides a home and a source of livelihood for two million people. Estimates of native fish species range from 23 to 28, along with a handful of introduced species. Fish are a main part of the local diet and livelihood of many lakeside communities. Some fishers are tempted to overfish or ignore local fishing regulations in order to secure food for their families. Of particular concern, as in this story, is the use of fine nets which catch even the smallest fish.
General background information about Lake Kivu can be found on Wikipedia:
Another news article about fishing in Lake Kivu (in French) can be read at http://www.syfia-grands-lacs.info/index.php5?view=articles&action=voir&idArticle=1533.
Past FRW news articles have looked at steps that fishing communities can take to ensure they do not deplete local fish stocks. In November 2008, FRW reported on a proposed seasonal fishing ban for Lake Victoria: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/11/03/east-africa-fishers-and-scientists-back-seasonal-fishing-ban-for-lake-victoria-new-vision/.
In August 2009, we reported that some of Madagascar’s fishers are learning to use larger-meshed nets to avoid catching very small fish, another technique that helps fish stocks to regenerate: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/08/03/1-madagascar-fishers-reel-in-prizes-while-learning-to-keep-waters-stocked-syfia-info/.
If you broadcast to a fishing community, you may wish to host a panel discussion on the topic of maintaining fish stocks. Invite one or more local fishers and/or representatives from fisher organizations, as well as representatives from relevant government agencies or NGOs. Questions for discussion might include:
-How have local fish stocks changed (increased or decreased) in recent years?
-What has caused this change? (For example, has overfishing caused fish stocks to drop, or have management techniques caused the stock to improve)?
-What laws are in place to regulate fishing practices used by local fisherman and by offshore vessels (if applicable)?
-Do locals play a role in monitoring community fishing practices?
-What fishery management policies and methods – such as seasonal fishing bans or use of larger-meshed nets – do fishers use to promote healthy fish stocks?
-If local fishers observe a seasonal fishing ban, what income-generating activities – such as selling dried fish or producing other products – do fishers pursue in order to sustain themselves during non-fishing seasons?