BURERA-The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, has warned fishermen against using illegal fishing gear and urged them to comply with set fishing regulations besides respecting breeding areas to allow continued fish reproduction.
Kalibata made the remarks while officially kick-starting fishing activities on lakes in Burera District, Northern Province, following the lifting of a six-month ban.
The ban has reportedly allowed growth and reproduction of over three million stocked fish in several lakes.
“The potential for production is very high; we have been forced to restock in the past. We want to be self sufficient in fish,” Kalibata said.
“The cooperatives have to be involved in policing the lakes, they have to stop the use of illegal nets and limit the number of boats per lake,’’ She added.
Accompanied by the Governor of the province,Aime Bosenibamwe as well as Musanze and Burera district mayors on a boat ride, the minister also participated in harvesting of fish from floating cages along Lake Ruhondo, in Burera District.
Over 380 cages were set up in lakes Ruhondo and Muhazi, a new technology which will ensure sustainable fishing and increased size of the fish.
According to Dr. Wilson Rutaganira, the project coordinator of Inland Lakes Integrated Development and Management support project, which donated the cages, the project has been involved in mobilising residents to control soil erosion in the lake watershed.
‘’We have been involved in supporting fishing cooperatives, restocking lakes with fish. The hygiene of fishery products should be respected from capture areas up to the markets. Farmers have to save and invest more in cages,’’ Dr Rutaganira said.
According to fishing regulations, only 130 boats are allowed on Lake Burera, 66 on L. Ruhondo, 31 on L. Nasho, 14 on L. Birira, with each boat using only one net.