The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources has given the green light to resumption of fishing activity in Lake Kivu for a period of four months. The decision, communicated on Tuesday, follows an assessment by the ministry on the use of legal fishing equipment in Lake Kivu, according to a statement. The assessment was conducted from October 2-4. Fishing commenced October 5 with operations set to run through January 31. Respecting Covid-19 guidelines, fishers are allowed to start fishing strictly during the permitted hours, from 5p.m to 7a.m, it adds. Gérardine Mukeshimana, the Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, said in the statement that fishers should replace their 5mm fishing gear with the 6mm ones by February 1. Lake Kivu is home to various fish species, including sardines (Limnothrissa miodon, locally known as isambaza), tilapia, haplochromis (known locally as indugu). Rwandan authorities often suspend fishing activity in Lake Kivu for a period averaging two months, in what is known as ‘biological breaks’, to allow for multiplication and restocking of fish in the lake. These enforced breaks usually check illegal fishing that leads to overfishing and threatens depletion of fish in the lake. However, some fish poachers tend to defy suspension measures, undermining desired results. Demand for fish in Rwanda is estimated to reach 112,000 tonnes by 2024, meaning the country might have to continue importing fishing for a while. It currently imports an estimated 15,000 tonnes a year. There is a plan to increase sardine production by fourfold but fishing violations remain a threat to the target, which is partially blamed for the loss of a large output of sardine fish over the last one year.