Ethiopia’s Gambella region aims to export fish

With the aim of commencing fish export and creating 5,000 jobs for the youth, the Gambella Region of Ethiopia has launched technology assisted fishery development project.

The project will be executed in collaboration with Gambella University, which will be turned into excellence center for fishery development of Ethiopia. The Fishery development project of the country will be implemented in the coming three years. The Fishery center at the University will reproduce 40,000 fishes per annum, according to the new project.

The fishery resources development project aims to create jobs for 5,000 youths in Gambella Region. Gambella is one of the regions of Ethiopia endowed with rivers and lakes inhabiting various varieties of fishes. Gambella Region has the potential to produce 17,000 tons of fishes. Meanwhile at the moment the region produces less than 400 tons of fishes. At the launching of the project it is stated that so far neither the Region nor the country are benefiting from the rich natural resource in terms of fish production.

In addition to Gambella University, the new project will also engage the Ministry of innovation and technology, and the Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia, according to the information from the communications of Gambella Region.

The project is said based on a study conducted by the government in the past two years. The study recommended the proper utilization of the fish resources of the region to meet domestic demand for fish and commencing export.

Reports show that Ethiopian waters hold about 180 fish species, some freshwater shrimps and crabs, commercially important microalgae and a diverse vegetation, all together of great economic and socio-cultural values.

Rift Valley lakes such as lakes Chamo, Abaya and Ziway and the northern part of Lake Turkana) and Lake Tana, which although shallow, is the largest lake in Ethiopia; rivers; and small water bodies (reservoirs, natural ponds).

There is fishing on all these water bodies, but commercial production (i.e. serving markets other than the local communities) is concentrated on the five lakes, with Chamo, Ziway and Tana particularly dominant, according to a paper, “Fish Production, Consumption and Management in Ethiopia“, by Assefa Mitike Janko, published in 2014.