Legislators Wednesday approved the bill on the organisation of fishing and aquaculture after a two-day debate. The bill was approved by a majority - 70 out of the 74 deputies present in the afternoon session yesterday.
MPs agreed on most of the issues in the draft law after most of their queries were answered by a parliamentary commission on agriculture, livestock and environment.
“There was fair participation by the stakeholders during the whole process of the commission’s work,” Juliana Kantengwa, the vice president of the commission.
The approved bill identifies three types of fishing governed by the law: fishing as a sport or leisure activity; commercial fishing, and scientific fishing, which aims at studying and advancing knowledge of fish and aquaculture resources.
Kantengwa had on Monday pointed out the need to establish proper criteria for people to be allowed into the fishing business.
“We must introduce a sense of order,” she said.
Setting up structures to complement the Rwanda Agriculture and Livestock Development Authority (RALDA) had also been emphasized.
The agriculture and livestock minister, Christopher Bazivamo, who was present on the first day, pointed out that there would not be parallel operations between RALDA and the local administration. He said there will be effective harmonisation of activities instead.
The minister on Monday stressed 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 stresses that district authorities shall have a duty to make an annual inventory of fishing establishments, fishermen, fishing gears as well as inspecting aquaculture establishments.
Article 9 points out that licence holders shall be required to submit to the organ which issued the licence the production statistical data as well as the fishing gears they have used.
In addition, licences for importing fishing and aquaculture gears are applied for from the minister responsible for Commerce.
For control purposes, the minister in charge of fisheries and aquaculture may decide on the regulatory measures for the importation and dissemination of fishing and aquaculture gears as well as fishery and aquaculture production. Also highlighted, among other things, is the issue of waters shared with other countries.
“The development of fishing and aquaculture shall be based on the international conventions and cooperation in fisheries and aquaculture,” the bill says about water bodies common to Rwanda and its neighbouring countries.
It also points out the methods of fishing prohibited among other things. These include the use of poisonous substances aimed at stunning, weakening or killing fish. Explosives and electromagnetic procedures or electrocution of fish are also not acceptable.