The fishmongers are content with the increase in fish production after the resumption of fishing activities in Lake Kivu on October 5.
After the temporary two-month fishing ban in the lake known as the “biological break”, the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) said it currently catches a total of 48.6 tonnes in five districts, compared to 3.9 tonnes previously.
Fishmongers whose livelihoods depend on fishing activities say that regulating these activities periodically increases the stock of fish in the lake and therefore more products on the market.
Yvonne Murekatete, a member of the Turwanyinzara Murwa cooperative in Nyamasheke district, said the maximum amount a team could catch previously was 5 kilograms per night, but it has increased significantly to 60 kilograms.
She stressed, however, that the challenge they still face is with poachers breaking regulations and carrying out fishing activities during the break period.
Danny Ndekezi, president of the Rutsiro District Fisheries Cooperatives Association, said there has been an increase in productivity and now people are happy.
“The announcement (to resume) was made late at night, which caused some fishermen to miss the first night when the total number of fish was 4.5 tonnes but today we received over nine tonnes, ”he said.
While they mainly sell dried sardines to preserve them for the market, as they easily decompose when fresh, he said, “the prices have also gone from 3000 Rwf per kilogram to 1000 Rwf, and in some places 800 Rwf “.
On the question of some fishermen who say that only legal 6mm fishing gear is expensive, Solange Uwitonze, deputy managing director of RAB, said traders should make the most of the tax exemption and import it.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources has asked fishermen to replace their 5mm fishing gear with 6mm gear by February 1.
Lake Kivu is home to various species of fish, including sardines (Limnothrissa miodon, locally called isambaza), tilapia, haplochromis (locally known as indugu).
Rwanda’s demand for fish is estimated to reach 112,000 tonnes by 2024, while it currently imports around 15,000 tonnes per year.