Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Posted By: Nomonanoto Sidama | At: 10/29/2014 07:00:00 AM
Fish resources in Ethiopia come exclusively from inland sources. In 2008, fish catch was estimated at around 17,000 tons 74 per cent of which originating from the six main lakes: Tana, Zeway, Langano, Hawassa, Abaya and Chamo; and 26 per cent from the other water bodies. Fish potential of the country is estimated at 45,000–51,500 tons per year, according to studies Thus, with less than 38 per cent of the potential currently exploited, there is a considerable room for further exploitation of fish resources.
Fish as a source of human food has a long history in Ethiopia. People consume large amount of fish in fasting days, in big cities, around production areas and towns, especially in Zeway, Arba Minch, Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa. Outside these areas, however, the domestic market for fish is small. According to Assefa Mitike, a researcher, the factors which account for this low level of local fish consumption are the following. First, fish has not been integrated into the diet of most of the population. Second, because of religious influences on consumption patterns, the demand for fish is only seasonal. During lent, for example, Christians who abstain from eating meat, milk and eggs consume fish. The other factors that contribute to the low level of consumption are the limited supply of the product and its high price. Fresh fish is produced in the Great Rift Valley lakes and in some other northern parts of the country. Price wise, too, fish is relatively expensive compared with the local prices of vegetables and grains on a unit weight basis, but it is frequently less costly than alternative animal protein sources.
With increased marketing efforts and increase in supply, the demand for the fish product could be tremendously increased from the current level. Assefa in his research has also indicated that the demand for fish is higher than supply especially, in Ethiopian fasting season. And if it is not fasting season supply is higher. This is because of religious influences on consumption patterns; the demand for fish is only seasonal. During lent, Christians who abstain from eating meat, milk, and eggs consume fish, since fish is the substitute of meat.
According to a research by Alemeken Berihun, given the increase in population there is need to increase food production in every possible sector and sub-sector. Despite fishery's potential crucial role, little or no substantial efforts have been made in terms of issuance and enforcement of appropriate legislation and regulations. In sum, fishery management must be improved and attention need s to be given to river and lake systems.
In the case of Lake Hawassa the fishing right is given for the Lake Hawassa Fishermen Associations. Only members of this association are allowed to fish for commercial purposes on Lake Hawassa. The FAO has set a criterion that when marginal yield is 10 per cent, it is considered at very low levels. Alemken states that bio-economic indicators suggest that below the stated levels fishing is unattractive. In function of number of nets deployed on Lake Hawassa, it is recommended that the level of effort be reduced by about 20 per cent. Originally all fishermen were members of Fishermen Association. However, in the last few years, the numbers of the fishermen and of fishing gears operating on the lake has increased dramatically.
Commercial fishery has existed on Lake Hawassa since 1950EC. The fishing gears used include: surface gill nets, long lines and hooks. The fishermen fish almost all the days throughout the year except in some days after the two major fasting seasons of Ethiopian Orthodox Church. At the time of study period around 120 fishermen operated on the lake, according to Alemken. According to the researcher, the fishing activities are held mainly by Lake Hawassa Fishermen Association members, and significant proportion of the fish production is produced by them. Other occasional fishers, use small grass boat and traditional simple hook to fishing. Cooperatives are not liable for any payments to the government for use of the fish stocks but the occasional fishers are accused of being illegal, not organised and not being liable for any governmental obligations.
Alemken indicated that, the fishery system in Ethiopia is predominantly traditional, currently involving 15,000 fishers (of which 5,000 are considered full-timers), fishing from 2,342 boats (366 motorized steel or wooden vessels, and the rest are push vessels), with some 17,240 nets and 28,000 hook gear.
The Rift Valley lakes are a chain of permanent lakes lying entirely in the southern part of the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Most of the Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes are very productive, containing indigenous populations of edible fish and supporting a variety of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.
Lake Hawassa is the smallest of the Rift Valley lakes, but is highly productive. It has a rich phytoplankton (over 100 species have been identified) and zooplankton that support large populations of six fish species. The most important commercial species is Oreochromis niloticus (Tilapia), but there are also good populations of Clarias gariepinus (catfish) and Barbus intermedius (Barbus).
Fish resource utilization is the primary and an important economic activity. Its purpose is to provide a flow of benefits to human society; it serves as a food because of its rich nutritional value in provision of protein. The global capture fisheries production in 2008 was reported by FAO, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department as 90 million tons, with an estimated first-sale value of 93.9 billion USD, comprising about 80 million tons from marine waters and a record 10 million tons from inland waters. However, the proportion of marine fish stocks underexploited or moderately exploited declined from 40 per cent in the mid-1970s to 15 per cent in 2008, whereas the proportion of overexploited, depleted or recovering stocks increased from 10 per cent in 1974 to 32 per cent in 2008 ,
Fish resource utilization is the primary and an important economic activity. Its purpose is to provide a flow of benefits to human society; it serves as a food because of its rich nutritional value in provision of protein. The global capture fisheries production in 2008 was reported by FAO, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department as, 90 million tons, with an estimated first-sale value of 93.9 billion USD, comprising about 80 million tons from marine waters and a record 10 million tons from inland waters. However, the proportion of marine fish stocks underexploited or moderately exploited declined from 40 per cent in the mid-1970s to 15 per cent in 2008, whereas the proportion of overexploited, depleted or recovering stocks increased from 10 per cent in 1974 to 32 per cent in 2008 (FAO, 2010). Ethiopia is in a process of rapid economic development. This development is being driven by diverse economic sectors. In relation to this, it is high time to explore the countries fish resources which has yet remained under exploited and make contribute a significant share to the country's all out development.