Numbers speak louder than words… This is why the introduction of a charter for fisheries management, inspired by factual studies of Lake Tanganyika, seems like a great idea to reduce the impacts of illegal fishing practices there. Overview…


Figure 1: A bunch of illegal gears observed in Zambia during the study on 1st July, 2021

Home to several endemic species of fishes and plants, the lake of Tanganyika laps Tanzania, Burundi, Congo DR, and Zambia. Now impoverished, this natural treasure was well-known for aquarium fish exports and excellent angling. It has unfortunately been suffering from substantial losses: fish are decreasing day by day, while fishermen are increasing. As corroborated by socio-economic studies, the lake’s rich biodiversity has been threatened by overfishing, overexploitation, as well as the utilization of illegal gear.

The figures speak for themselves… and are quite alarming. The governments of the riparian states have been subjected to over a million USD losses of their resources due to illegal fishing and trading of immature fishes such as Sardines, Lates stoppers, Stolothrissa tanganicae, and Limnothrissa miodon.

Fearful of what the future holds for their economy, the governments of Lake Tanganyika’s riparian countries hired a high-level international expert to facilitate the harmonisation of results from studies conducted.

On the same wavelength

​Thanks to this evaluation, everyone has a better overview on the situation. Regional stakeholders assisted in reviewing reports, and they all came to the conclusion that they should establish a regional charter of the member states of the Lake Tanganyika authority providing for measures for the sustainable management of fisheries in Lake Tanganyika and its basin. An interesting initiative that gives a glimmer of hope to the fishing sector.

Everyone seemed to agree: the implementation of this charter shall reduce illegalities in the lake and improve fish availability in the region. While several measures have been proposed by scientists, regional technical workshops will be held amongst fishers, fisheries managers, researchers, lawyers, and so forth, in order to validate the measures stated.


Figure 2: Photo showing participants at a meeting to harmonize he results of the study by the international consultant

Maliki, Fisheries Extension Officer in Kigoms Municipality, highlights:

“The development of that charter is going to simplify the work of MCS operations by eliminating excuses from fishers who have been complaining that restrictions of using various fishing gears is not homogeneous.”

Kisekwa Mapunda, a fisherman with 15 years of experience under his belt from south to north of the lake Tanganyika on the Tanzanian side, affirms: “I am sure the charter will reduce illegal fishing practices, increase fish production and improve the life of fishermen of the four riparian countries of Lake Tanganyika.” As the fisherman states, effective implementation of the charter will demand cooperation of all four riparian countries. A forward-thinking challenge everyone is looking forward to!