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Reversing the Tide in Rwanda’s Fishing Practices

An initiative to repopulate depleted waters is teaching villagers sustainable agriculture, providing jobs and improving diets. Eric Ndagijimana manages Gishanda Fish Farm, which is based on the banks of the lake to cultivate tilapia and restock the waters. In April, the first fingerlings (young fish) raised in the farm were released into the water. More than 100,000 have been released so far and the ambition is to produce 1.5 million fingerlings each year. Ndagijimana wants the farm to produce about 30 tonnes of tilapia annually, of which at least 10% will be sold to the 600 households who live around the lake at half the market price – £1.13 for a kilo, instead of 3,000. It is hoped the move will not only deter illegal fishing but improve nutrition for the villagers. The farm, which is powered by solar panels and requires a tenth of the water of traditional fish farming by using a recycling and filtration system, is also providing jobs and extra amenities. The farm receives funding and support from the conservation organisation African Parks; FoodTechAfrica, a public-private partnership of 21 companies and universities; and the Dutch government.