Ethiopia and South Sudan are consulting on taping into the more than 21,000 tons of annual fish potential in Baro, Akobo and Sobat basins in an integrated project.
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) ECOFISH department has organized a three-day bilateral fisheries coordination platform between Ethiopia and South Sudan in Gambella region of Ethiopia.
On the occasion, Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries Development Director, Hussen Abegaz said more than 21,000 tons of fishes can be produced from the Baro, Akobo and Sobat basin located between the border areas of Ethiopia and South Sudan.
“Over 21,000 tons of fish can be produced in the basin annually,” Hussen pointed out.
However, the fish being produced from the basin mainly for local market do not exceed 3 percent of the estimated potential, according to the director.
The plan to administer the fish potential in the basins in an integrated manner will benefit both countries, Hussen added.
IGAD’s Program Manager for Environment Protection, Eshete Dejen said a project has been designed to benefit the countries from the fish resource in the basin in an integrated manner after conducting detailed study to identify the basin’s fish potential and challenges, including lack of market, wasteful and illegal fishing.
“The 70 percent of the fishes are being wasted in the process,” the manager underscored.
The project will be instrumental to run other sustainable economic ties and trans-boundary resources development between countries beyond the designed fish production project, he added.
South Sudan’s Ministry of Environmental Conservation, Wetlands and Biodiversity Director General Jhon Ater said the project will improve the bilateral relation between the neighboring countries.
It will also improve income of the rural communities in the countries and showcase sustainable fish production to alleviate from poverty and ensure food security.
The project to be carried out between the borders of the two countries will ensure peaceful and integrated fish production for fishers in both sides, he added.