If all goes according to plan, Rwanda and Burundi will next year join the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), a regional institution that coordinates the management of the fisheries resources of the second largest inland lake of Victoria among the Partner States of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
This was revealed by Mr. Dick Nyeko, the newly appointed Executive Secretary of the LVFO in an interview with The New Times on Wednesday in Kampala.
Nyeko noted that he had received a communication from the EAC Secretary General, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu on behalf of Rwanda and Burundi requesting to join the organization.
“We need Rwanda and Burundi on board because as catchments of Lake Victoria they also have a role to play regarding its conservation. For instance if there are poor methods of farming on River Kagera, this may lead to silt in Lake Victoria which contributes to declining water levels ,”he said.
Adding that the convention signed in 1994, establishing LVFO provides room for admission of Rwanda and Burundi.
He noted that the decision to admit Rwanda and Burundi would be made during the next Council of Ministers Meeting of the Lake Victoria Organization due December this year.
The Council of Ministers meeting will also decide whether the two countries will be admitted to full membership of the organization or as observers.
Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world covering an area of 68,000 square kilometres. It’s distributed among Tanzania (52%), Uganda (42%) and Kenya (6%).
The Lake Victoria basin which extends to Rwanda and Burundi, is one of the densely populated parts of Africa.
Meanwhile on Wednesday October 29, the Regional Stakeholders’ Conference ended in Kampala after 3 days of discussing the declining stocks of Nile Perch in Lake Victoria.
At the meeting, stakeholders suggested that there should be a seasonal ban on fishing on Lake Victoria in order to allow fish to breed.
The conference recommended that the partner states should take deliberate action to invest resources in Aquaculture research and development to reduce pressure on the fisheries.
It was also noted during the conference that lack of political commitment to fisheries has exacerbated the poor state of the fisheries industry in the region.