PARLIAMENT - Lawmakers Monday engaged in a long debate on new draft legislation on the proper management of the country’s fisheries.
The afternoon session, also attended by Agriculture minister Christopher Bazivamo, largely dwelt on the bill, which aims at bringing about quality improvement in the fisheries sector.
The line ministry and the parliament commission on agriculture, livestock and environment stressed the importance of erecting clear regulatory structures.
“We want to be organised,” Aaron Makuba, head of the parliament’s commission on agriculture, livestock and environment said while presenting a report on the seemingly complex issue.
”Not anyone should be involved in the fishing industry – there will be regulation,” he said.
MPs raised concerns over reports that a new fish variety – ‘Imamba’(lungfish) – introduced to restock Lake Muhazi - was feeding on Tilapia species.
Makuba acknowledged this but assured parliament that there was no cause for alarm since the new variety is manageable and is of very nutritious quality.
While fielding various questions from the legislators, Makuba also said that the Rwanda Agriculture and Livestock Development Authority (RALDA) was playing a significant role.
It is mandated to regulate the use of fisheries but local authorities complement its work, especially by making sure people in the industry fulfil all the necessary requirements.
Juliana Kantengwa, the vice president of the commission, emphasized that there was a criteria for one to be allowed into the fishing business.
“We must introduce a sense of order,” she underscored.
Makuba underscored the need to set up structures to complement RALDA which is organising itself in the provinces.
“There will not be any parallel operations between RALDA and the local administration; instead, there will be effective harmonisation of activities,” Bazivamo clarified.
The minister added that people involved in the fisheries sector are requested to form cooperatives so as to deal with issues such as over fishing, mismanagement and dangerous or harmful fishing methods among others.
The bill is not entirely limited to fish since there are other pertinent water plants, animals and environmental concerns.
The debate continues Wednesday afternoon when the bill will be approved or rejected.