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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 1



PARTS I & II (44 pages)

paper published in the

Agricultural International Magazine
Kard Mercierlaan, 92
B-3001 Leuven Belgium
(Reviewed paper and completed in 2006)

Presented by

Justin Muzigwa Kashema

Université de Liège. LDPAE
10, Ch. de la Justice
B-4500 Tihange

Fisheries and Aquaculture :
how to manage them for sustainability ?
Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 2
PART I: Historical represented 60,000. That means fish

background and the means of consumption was about 30

Kg/caput/year. In 1955, Congo-
fish productions in the D.R.C.
belge had over 10 millions people.
(ex-Zaïre) With respect to fishery management,
(Muzigwa Kashema, et Jean Claude
very few has been done to protect the
Phillipart, Université de Liège. LDPAE
high value commercial fish stock.
10, Ch. de la Justice B-4500 Tihange).
Recent study, analysing fish
statistics, using the Herfindahl index
In the D.R.C. (ex-Zaire),
confirm that there is a change in the
fishculture and fishery management
taxonomic composition of the fishery
need more trained local technicians
of two periods (from 1973 to 1982
to encourage local private
and from 1984 to 1988). Old practice
investment, to help in recovery of the
using local toxic plants, as reported
collapsing fish stock and to become
in other african countries (Walker,
self sufficient in local fish demand. In
1928 ; Malaisse, 1969 and 1970) is
1952, belgian Congo had over
gaining more and more importance
46,970 fish ponds (2148 ha), 100,503
in this country.
(4171 ha) in 1955 (Gomez and De
Total fishery production
Kimpe, 1957) and 126,156 fish
yield at 150,200 tonnes per year
ponds in 1959 (Huet, 1957). In 1988,
(FAO/PNUD), 1986) while local
an official inventory carried out
demand is about 420,000 tons of
reported only 15,548 fishponds
fish per year. Having that in mind,
throughout the country. In 1955,
this investigation analysed the
local fish demand was estimated at
chance to success of the last FAO
about 300,000 tonnes/year (Gomez et
National Fish Planning Project to
De Kimpe,1957). The same authors
the D.R.C. (ex-Zaïre) (FAO /PNUD),
report that imported fish tonnage
Fisheries and Aquaculture :
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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 3
To compensate the national aquaculture engineering, fishculture
deficit we outlined how much foreign and fishery management require an
currency the National Bank of the expensive investment and specific
D.R.C. does spend each year. Local management skills for highly trained
fish production being (150,200 graduated officers.
tonnes/year which represent 6.6 g of However, in order to
fish/caput/day). Imported tonnage understand the destiny of fishculture
varrying between 82,000 and in this country, one should be aware
120,000/year (OZAC,1985). of the historical agriculture
Because the D.R.C. is still below the background especially in this country
african average of 10.5 where there is no fishculture
kg/caput/year (34 g/caput/day) tradition. Because the fishculture
(Huisman and Machiels, 1986) there activity depends on agriculture
is need to promote fish production in sector, any main constraint to
this country. agriculture development affects most
of the achievment of the fishery and
Key words: D.R.C. (ex-Zaïre), self- fishculture objectives. With respect
sufficient fish production, strategy. to the D.R.C. (ex-Zaïre)an
experience, evidence suggests that
Headline: Fish productions in the fishculture practice is the most
D.R.C. (ex-Zaïre). sensitive to regress in the country,
where there is no fishculture
1 - INTRODUCTION tradition.
Very few subsaharian FAO (1981, anonymous)
countries had mastered modern reported that fishing importance is
technology in fishculture continuously reflecting increase in
productions. Most recent advances in catch. He showed that between 1950

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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 4
and 1970 fish catch increased from fishing practices had lead to
19 to 63 million tonnes per year. collapsing and vanishing fish stocks
However in 1981, FAO, (MOOR and BRUTON, 1988;
(anonymous, 1981) data confirmed O'KEFFE, 1989; O'KEEFFE et al.,
that fishery yields were stabilised to 1989; MCGREGOR, 1990;
70 million tonnes per year. Since, OGUTU-OHWAYO, 1990a and
world fish catch continued to 1990b; NEILAND et al., 1991;
increase. SKELTON, 1991 and PITCHER,
In World's animal production 1994).
(1985) fish catch represented 90 In D.R.C. (ex-Zaïre), two
million tonnes. Meanwhile,in 1994, species Lobochilotes labiatus
the world aquaculture production has (Blgr.)Cardipharhynx schoutedeni
reached only 13,921,338 metric tons (Poll), had collapsed from Ndjili
(FAO, 1994). Fishery resource stream and three others
experts thing that increase in fish Channallabes apus (Günther),
catch does not keep peace with Cyphotilapia frontosa (Blgr.) and
increased fishery effort. Furthermore, Hemichromis fasciatus (Peters)
fishing practice, using toxic plants others species had vanished from
(CLAUS, 1930 ; WALKER, 1928; Makelele stream in Kinshasa region
BENSAI , 1944; DIETERLEN, (MUZIGWA, 1989). With respect to
1952; ALEXANDER, 1964 ; the D.R.C. (ex-Zaïre) river evidence
MALAISSE, 1969; 1970 & suggest that the number of threatened
MUZIGWA and MUTAMBUE, and endangered fish stock had
1993) , is gaining more and more increased. This could be either the
importance . result of the construction of Inga, the
In many african countries, hydroelectric dam on the Congo
uncontrolled and non regulated river either the use of the

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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 5
ichtyotoxins in fishing practices, or matters stand many reasons do
the use of very small size fishing nets justify urgently the need for both
to catch larvi and fingerlings for extensive and intensive fishculture
european aquariophiles. Thereby, productions in the D.R.C. (ex-
there is need for a new approach to Zaïre). Most of the principal reasons
fish production in subsaharian Africa could be summarized in five targets
and particularly to the D.R.C. (ex- to achieve:
Zaïre) which is considered to have 1- local fish production is not
one of the most important reserve (of matching the national fish demand ;
800 species) of the tropical fish 2 - fishing pressure to native fish had
species (LOWE-MCCONNELL, lead to threatening of some fish
1986). stocks ;
With respect to fishculture, a 3 - there is a need to keep going
more realistic strategy in fish governmental fishculture reference
production should be aware of that centers for those isolated fish farmers
african fishculture was initiated (in with very low income who had, on
subsaharian Africa) with a view to their own initiative , start a small
make up for animal protein scale fishculture exploitation ;
deficiency occurred toward white 4 - compared cost investment
colons during and after the second between fishculture and cattle
world war. Communication and breeding had proved that in
exchange were cut between developping countries the former
metropole and their colonies. could be available to everybody in
As a matter of course we the region with an important
should define the new motivation to potential hydrology ;
restart fishculture activity in any one 5 - a small scale fishculture
of these subsaharian countries. As exploitation require less schemes

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than poultry, sheep and cattle Recent investigations
breeding exploitation ; (UNICEF, 1987-1988), sample
Furthermore, evidence surveys (MUZIGWA, 1993) and
suggests that fishculture activity is FAO reports (1986) confirm that
not a traditionnal one in subsaharian animal protein deficiency in the
africa. Consequently, any extension D.R.C. had lead to a well known
service will be facing two kind of disease, the kwashiorkor in some
problems: regions (MUZIGWA, 1994).
- first of all, the rural african way of Nowdays, most kids suffering from
life (this include the low adaptation this disease are unable to developpe
to changes) as they will prefer proves their potential intelligence and they
to any changes and therefore, new do have also a very low somatic
technology for food production may growing performance. From white
not be accepted with the result that meat (fish) and red meat (i.e. beefs )
hunting and fishing activities still the consummers do gain different
have adepts even towards vanishing essential amino acids (table 1). Both
species; play an important role in human
- secondly, the ignorance and nutrition. With respect to mg/g
pauvrety. protein of some essential amino
For instance, most of rural fish acids, meat, wheat and fish can be
farmers do not agree that in compared.
culturing conditions fish should be Medical reports confirm
fed. Furthermore fish' feedstuffs may that marin fish can help consummer
not be expensive but their transport suffering from deficiency in some
and stocking may require a short amino-acids and fatty acids. Lovell,
term expensive cost investment in a 1986 reported that the american
viable infrastructure. catfish is rich in PUFA 3n

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(polyunsaturated fatty acids) species. (N.B.Fingerlings hatched
protecting consummers against heart from a governmental pilote
attack disease. fishfarming should be free to fish
farmers starting).
2.- MOTIVATION With respect to the
According to FAO data repopulating strategy, feeding and
(1986) in the D.R.C. the available management skills would not be
kcalories/day/caput in 1985 and 1986 required since fish will rely entirely,
were respectively 2,127 and 2,154. on the productivity of the natural
The african average in 1975-1977 environment. However, this suppose
was 2,282 kcal/day/caput ; and 2,448 an existing hatchery throughout the
kcal/day/caput in 1986 . However in country. Furthermore, local
developped countries it was 3,375 authorities should be helpfull in
kcal/day/caput and 3,652 application of the protective
kcal/day/caput respectivelly. legislation.
It is clear that in this Another alternative is to
country the D.R.C. most people are increase the proportion of the present
ill-nourrished (tables 8 and 9) beside fish catch, reducing spoilage by
the natural potential for aquaculture. improving the processing
Despite the existing dilemma technology.
some alternatives to production and Very few african
to rehabilitation strategy can be families can afford to pay a kg of fish
discussed. One of these should produced with high technology ( +
consider the alternative of fishery 250 - 300 fb/kg of fish ). Logically,
and fishculture complementary.The where fishculture is still possible,
strategy consist of repopulating some extension services should benefit of
rivers with threatened endemic Government special care (including,

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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 8
financial support, taxe free on represent 68.9 and 41.6 g of fish per
equipments purchased for fishculture day/person respectivelly.
project ) However, in the
Yields as low as D.R.C.(ex-Zaïre), total fish
5kg/are/year are still common. production is 150,200 tonnes pers
Recent improvment, thanks to year ( FAO-PNUD, 1986;
american and belgian extension MUZIGWA, 1989). In terms of fish
services resulted in the yields as production, this represent 4.3
much as 50-60 kg/are/year. Today, g/caput/year. Total fish import is
the Governement effort through about 172,000 tonnes/year (OZAC,
american and belgian aids is to 1985 ). Therefore, the total fish
recuperate over 34 pilote fishculture tonnage consummed in the D.R.C.
Stations and to organize a confident (ex-Zaïre) is 322 000 tonnes/year.
national fishculture Extension This represents an average of 9.2 kg /
Service. pers / year ( 25 kg/day/pers.) for 35
Not only the D.R.C. is millions of people. Meanwhile,
facing a chronic overall food Congolese (ex-zairean) ministry
shortages resulting in Council decided that each congolese
undernutrition,but more often, should eat at least 12 kg of fish/year (
condition of malnutrition is obvious Conseil Executif du Congo (ex-
in some towns by a shortage of Zaïre), 1987 ). Once again, the
protein (Fig. 16). In 1987 (FAO, D.R.C. (ex-Zaïre) is below the
1987; official declaration, in the african average.
annual year meeting ) suggested 25 Indeed, HUISMAN et
kg of fish/pers./year ( in developped al. (1986 ) reported an average of
countries) and 15 kg/pers./year (in 10.5 kg/caput/year (this aqual to 34
the third world ). These figures g per caput/year of fish production).

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Furthermore, the daily per capita 3.-HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
protein consumption shows a world Fishculture in this
average of about 70 g, while in 12 country was initiated by the belgian
equatorial african countries it was colons who just after the 2nd world
estimated at 48 g (BELL and war had lost their sources of animal
CANTEBERRY, 1976 ). CUNNA ( protein from Belgium, the metropole.
1982 ) reported that resulting protein Later, in 1949, this private initiative
utilization is 75-95 % for animal gained more and more governmental
protein, while it ranges from 50-70 attention. This included
% for the common plant protein governmental technical assistance
foods. In assesing the nutritional and financial support which
meaning of these protein intake contributed to develop in each
levels, the digestibility and biological region, a fishculture extension
value of the various protein must be service.
taken into account. BELL and In 1958, more than 35
CANTERBERRY (1976 ) showed fishculture demonstration centers
that in 1970, only 25 % of the protein were active which role consisted on
consummed in 12 equatorial african distribution of fingerlings to new
countries originated from animals, rural fishfarmers (HUET, 1957). In
including 11 % from fish. Therefore 1949, belgian-Congo became a
the effective protein intake is even fishculture reference on warm water
lower than the data indicated. fish tilapia , in sub-Saharian Africa.
We do believe that The first International
there are needs for aquaculture and Conference on african fishculture
fishery management to improve fish was organized by belgian and british
yields and production in Africa, in Congo-Brazzavillle. In 1959,
particularly in the D.R.C. belgian-Congo had 126,156 fish

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ponds. However, an inventory Furthermore, since the craftsmen
carried out on behalf of the Ministry fisher had realised that their
of Agriculture and Rural equipment was unappropriated to
Development (by the National fish in some water bodies
Service for Aquaculture ) in 1988 periodically full of fish, it’s a great
found 15,548 fish ponds only pity that fishing practice, using toxic
throughout the country. plants and dynamite, as previoulsy
However, in 1960, the denounced in some other african
country became independant. As countries (CLAUS, 1930;
direct consequency of the political WALKER, 1928; BEN SAI, 1944;
disorder due to the lack of prepared DIETERLEN, 1952; ALEXANDRE,
local officers to manage public 1964; MALAISSE, 1969 and 1970 &
goods, an inventory carried out on DECEUNINCK, 1990) is gaining
behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture more and more importance in the
and Rural Development, in 1988 Congo basin.This will lead very soon
recorded only 15,548 fish ponds to total extinction of the most
(FRANSSEN and MUZIGWA, vulnerable and rare species.
1988) while in 1959 belgian-Congo Therefore, to satisfy the
had 126,156 fish ponds (HUET, growing local fish demand evaluated
1957). at about 525,000 tonnes/year (FAO
recommandations related to
4.- EVALUATION OF THE consumption rate of 25 and 15
LOCAL FISH DEMAND Kg/caput/year in developped and
Fishery resource experts developping countries respectivelly)
thing that increase in fish catch does three alternatives can be examined.
not keep peace with increased fishery Compared to other type of
effort. fish production (lacustrian, riverine

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and fishculture), marine fisheries (MUZIGWA, 1991), each of them
represents only + 10 % of the should land at least 15,000
national production and 0.3 % of the tons/year.The actual average fishing
local fish demand. rate being 0.9 tonne of
First of all, one of these fish/year/craftsman fisher on the
could define how fishery and lakes of the D.R.C. and 2 tonnes of
fishculture could be complementary fish/year/craftsman fisher on the
with a view to attaining following river of the D.R.C. (CORSI, 1984).
objectives : Obviously, this appear to be an
1-To compensate the local deficit (of impossible project to realise in the
375,000 tons/year) in fish demand congolese geographical, economical
(table 2); and socio-political conditions. First
2-To use the regional fishculture of all, to equip all the fishermen
infrastructure in order to acclimatate (MUZIGWA, 1991).
and to study the biology of the most In case this could be possible
endangered species ; then we should get going a very
3-To control the breeding and the active extension service to look after
reproduction of these wild species these craftsmen fisher. However,
what could lead to repopulating fish how could we encourage to such
strategy in their native environments. extend an exploitation of unknown
The second alternative could size of any fish stock? What are the
examine the possibility to provide to different MSY (maximum
craftsmen fisher an adequate fishing sustainable yield) to the most high
equipment. That means for the price commercial fish, being the
25,000 craftsmen fisher ( half of most fished? We believe that any
these operating on the main Congo fishery project intending to promote
river and on its effluents) fish production in this country

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should, previous to any intensive 700 millions ($ USA dollars)2
exploitation, define that fishery outgoings foreign currency.
equipment to all fishermen could Before going for any one of
amount at about 750 millions BF. these suggestions one should be
(Cost investment to fish farmer aware of the main causes of the
compared to craftsman fisher1) . failure in fish production in this
Until now, nothing has been done in country.
this tropical fish reservoir to
ascertain how far has gone the 5.- MAIN CAUSES OF FAILURE
destructive fishing practice as IN FISH PRODUCTION
denounced above.
Furthermore, TAVARES DE 5.1- THE 1949-1959
potential fisheries production of the BELGIAN-CONGO AND RWANDA-
D.R.C. at a minimum and maximum URUNDI FAILED BECAUSE
of about 329,500 and 725,000 tons 5.1.1- There is no fishculture
respectivelly, whereas the 1988 tradition in this country;
World bank study confirmed that this 5.1.2- Arable soils were used
potential fisheries production could for fishculture on recommandations
not exceed 394,000 tons/year. of the colonizing administration
Obviously, we can not rely only on request ;
the local fishery potential to 5.1.3 - Fishculture practice
compensate the actual deficit in was popularized an obligatory
annual fish demand. Finally, the activity to rural farmers;
country could consider the 5.1.4 - Local waters (rivers
importation of the deficit and lakes) showed high potential in
tonnage.This could amount at about fishing activity;

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5.1.5 - Fish breeding 5.1.11- Tax on fish ponds
technology was less advanced; and on annual fish incomes required
5.1.6 - Infrastructure and by the local administration;
veterinary extension service as an 5.1.12- Increase of palludism
alternative meat production (cattle, and bilharziosis cases accompaning
sheep, pigs and poultry) were fishculture in some provinces;
available and very efficient in each 5.1.13 - Very few were
province; known on fish biology of the most
5.1.7- Private and cultured species, tilapia spp. and the
governmental funds to cattle and african catfish, Clarias spp.;
poultry farmers were available on 5.1.14 -The rarety of local
request of the most performing fish biologists and very few trained
farmers; fishculture extension officers;
5.1.8 - Hunting was still 5.1.15- Neither agriculture,
allowed; nor industrial and nor farming
5.1.9 - Very few tribes legislation could be applied to
privilege fish in their feeding habits; fishculture activity since it did not
5.1.10 - Poaching in fish belong (at that time) to one of these
ponds at night discouraged most three sectors.
concerned fish farmers; But why fishery, which is a
5.1.10 - The existing of an traditional practice in this country
unflexible traditional agriculture failed too? This activity encountered
schedule which does not allow the three types of difficults.
rural farmer to attend to something 5.2.- COMPULSIONS TO

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5.2.1.- Natural headaches: migratory fish never been The D.R.C. determined;
is an enclosed country to access to Processing
sea (only 40 km opening to sea); and conservation facilities do not lakes exist in most fisheries;
are shared with other countries; . Apart from existing fish,there is no interest towards other
of diversified fish species in the aquatic living resources;
Congo basin ( it may be difficult to
manage the different fish stock); inexisting lines between politico- geo- administrative regions (fish get
morphological location of the Congo spoiled on their long way to market).
river ( rapids area are not accessible
whereas it is full of rheophile fish); 5.2.3 - Administratives
5.2.2 -Technical difficults: fishing available juridiction is an old one and may not
total fishing area never been defined be applied, in some circumstances to
(landsat photographs needed to motivate private investors. The first
define the periodically inundated decree was signed in 1937 (Décret
zones); loi du 21 avril 1937, codes et lois du Non defined Congo-belge, 1954, Tome II,
MSY implicating that fish stock size p.1185), modified in 1957 (Décret du
remain unknown; 17 janvier 1957) completed in 1958 Spawning (Ordonnance législative n°52/273 du
grounds and hatching zones to 24 juin 1958), then ratified in 1960
(Décret du 27 juin 1960).

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____________________________________________________ country Fisheries and fishculture
does not organise any course on belong to two different Ministries.
fishery management and nobody has This could be an handicap to
been specialized in that field; coordination strategy to become taxes on complementary.
fishing productions (FAKA PAUNI, However, this does not seem
1984); to be the most determinant difficult No available spare to promote fish production in this
parts neither to industrial fishing country.
smack nor to craftsman fisher; Not only governmental funds Extension fishing allocated to Agriculture (from which
service never exist in this country; fishculture comes under) are enough There is no credit but they are never available on time.
granted to craftsman fisher ; Compared to other Ministries, Most of time the although in this country, for the last
government of the D.R.C. (ex-Zaire) 20 years Agriculture has been
was unable to honour bilateral claimed the most important priority
conventions signed with neighbours to any other national priority, funds
countries to fish in their water allocated to this ministry do not
bodies. confirm this official commitment
Having that in mind what (MUZIGWA, 1993).
could be a suitable strategy to Obviously, some ministries
promote fish production in this may get 80 % or more of their
country ? Is there any chance to demand meanwhile in terms of
success of the PNUD-FAO ordinary budget (B.O) the ministry of
84/015/1986 W/S 1721 National Agriculture never get over 6.53 % of
Fishing Programme ? its annual demand budget. Between

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1973 and 1981 agriculture budget Compared to Agriculture,
represented only 1.88 % of the fisheries and fichculture suffer also
Governmental national budget from less means of production (table
whereas during the same period, 3 ; figure 4 ) (including qualified
energy sector received an average of trained officers/numbers of farmers,
31.26% (Banque Nationale du Congo farm machinery, fertilizers, pesticids,
(ex-Zaïre),1970-1983). genetically selected and performing
This results in agriculture seeds and broodstock, fishfeeds,
production increase of about 1.44 % biological studies on real fish stock
whereas population growth rate is assessment (M.S.Y: maximum
amounted at 2.84 % between 1971- sustainable yield) (F.A.O., 1986;
1984 (Bureau d’Etudes du DECEUNINCK, 1991 and
Département de l’Agriculture- MUZIGWA, 1994). In spite these
Rapports synthèses 1980-1986; difficults to satisfy the local demand
Rapport synthèse avril 1987). fish had remained one of the most
Consequently, the agriculture important sources of animal protids.
yields in the D.R.C. remain below The national average calculated on
the african standard (MUZIGWA, two years basis (1982 and 1991) had
1994). Compared to two other confirmed this apprehension.
african countries (Ivory Coast, and to - Figures with asterisk (*) indicate
Kenya) and to one developped the number of trained officers in
country (U.S.A.), evidence suggest agriculture and the figures without
that although administrative and asterisk (in the same space)
technical difficults could be represente the number of farmers.
overcome, more political willpower - Ao, A1: Fully trained officers from
to fund agriculture is highly needed. university and from high school in

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- A2: Bachelors in general total annual production estimated at
agronomy; A3: technician in general about 30,000 T.
agronomy (after secondary school; The same regional
A3 and Mn are low level of training fishculture infrastructure fitted up,
technician in general agronomy including hatcheries will become
(very efficient in field works); immediately complementary to
- Mn: Monagri: low level trained fishery in studing biology of the
technician; most threatened species. Controlled
- NF/To: Number of farms per one reproduction of endangered species
technician. could lead to repopulation strategy of
Apart from this, main local rivers and lakes to promote
compulsion (the lack of funds), it is fisheries yield.
necessairy to outline also the lack of Compared cost invest
adequate road infrastructure which is between fishculture and craftsman
macro-economic problem. This fishing exploitation in the congolese
should not be considered in a short socio-economical conditions had
term project. Any (fisheries or proved that it is worth it to invest in
fishculture) development project fishculture than in the inland
suffer also from the same fisheries.
compulsion. Both activities include some
The same author reports that risks but in fishculture some of them
a long term fishculture project may be avoided or calculated thanks
captivating 500,000 farmers is to some management skills which
possible in three regions (Kivu, could be acquired with time.
Haut-Congo and Equateur) of this
country.This will lead to fishculture 6. - CONCLUSIONS

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The deficit is higher as To compensate the local
outlined above. Private retailers deficit of local production in fish, the
import from various countries national Bank grants enormous
(Belgium, Canada, Maroc, Norway outgoings foreign currency and more
and Spain) either smoked or salt wild meat from hunters had
dried or fresh fish depending on increased in the local market.
regional feeding habit. In the west With respect to imported fish
(Bas-Congo Province) part of the tonnage, the D.R.C. government
country, highly salted dried fish are declared in 1984: 85,000 T.
prefered to smoked whereas in the (O.Z.A.C.4, 1985) , in 1989, 120,000
North and North West (Equateur and tonnes. These represent respectivelly
Haut-Congo Provinces) consummers an outgoings of 340 and 480
do like fresh or smoked fish. millions dollars (at 2 $ USA dollars).
However , in the east region Nevertheless, local investors
(Kivu ) people do consumme either
should have in mind that it cost 6
simply dried (without salt), smoked
to 8 $ USA dollars (including
or fresh fish. In the Shaba region,
transport and handling fees) to
lowly salted and dried (locally called
import 1kg of fish. However it cost
Bitoyi) or freshly fished species are
1.7 $ USA dollars to produce one
prefered. Most freezed tonnage of
kg of fish at home. Indeed, the
fish (marine) is distributed in the
PNUD-FAO Fishery Planning
450 Kinshasa town cold stores
Project (N° 84/015/1986 W/S 1721)
before 1/3 of this tonnage is
from which generated the most
transported to Kasaï , Bandundu and
recent PNUD-FAO ZAI/88/002
to Congo-Brazzaville regions
requires 22.8 millions ($ USA)
(MUZIGWA, 1991).
dollars to produce more 92,400
tonnes of fish.
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That means, local fishery is PART II: Strategy to promote
able to produce 1 Kg of fish at about
Fish production and to
1.2 $ (USA dollar). With respect to
rehabilitate vanishing species
fishculture, prior studies
demonstrated that fitting up of 24
(Muzigwa Kashema, Jean Claude Ruwet,
fishculture demonstration Centers
Jean Claude Phillipart and Charles
(CAP)5 will cost 10 millions $ (USA Mélard. Université de Liège. LDPAE 10,
dollars) (MUZIGWA, 1991). Ch. de la Justice B-4500 Tihange).
The same amount of fund
will allow operating Extension Abstract
Services (on 5 years basis) to look The strategy to improve fish
after 40,000 family fish farmers production should first at all
producing 25 Kg of consider that in this country as well
fish/are/year.Then, the ratio is 1 $ as in all the sub-saharian Africa
(USA dollar) produces 1 kg of fish people do prefer freshwater fish to
in the D.R.C. fishculture conditions. marine ones. Control and
Deceuninck (1990) thinks that this rehabilitation of threatened and
yield can be improved at about 40 endangered species should be the
Kg/are/year. However to overcome main concern. Habitat restoration,
the national deficit of animal protein regular control of the mesh size,
people do try other sources of closing periods of the spawning
proteins as represented on the tables grounds should benefit from the
6 and 7 . most priority. Education
programmes, keeping going an
REFERENCES extension fishery and fishculture
(at the end of PART II) services are very important
indeed.With respect to national local

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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 20
deficit, any programme to its 2.1. VALORIZATION OF THE
compensation should be aware of the
home made infrastructure and the
colonial fishculture production Prior to any fitting up of the
facilities. Potential production and 35 neglected fishculture
yield (MSY: maximum sustainable demonstration Centers, the Ministry
yield) of the zaïrean rivers and lakes in charge of fishculture should
must be defined through a research consider chronologically the
programme funded by both FAO and following steps:
EEU (European economic union) or 2.1.1 To make sure that the
by other developped countries. national inventory of the local
farmers interested in fishculture
1.- INTRODUCTION practice is being carried out. Each
Apart from political stability potential fishfarmer should indicate
required in this country to gain more the available area for fish pond , his
international overseas confident, education background and his
some macro economics obstacles present agriculture status;
such as lines, should benefit from 2.1.2 To elaborate a national
more governmental attention. aquaculture planning (NAP). This
Furthermore, in order to assure more should define:
security and more confident towards Its
private investment, there is need to objectives;
permanent education of people. The national
targets to achieve in fishculture;
of funds (private, governmental,

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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 21
international or non governmental The
organisms-NGO); conditions in which fishfarmer could The benefit from credit ;
collaborative strategy with other The stages
international fishculture and fisheries to go through before any fish farmer
research centers; organization could get a cooperative The fish status;
species to be popularized in How to
fishculture; associate to the national targets, the The size of old operating private fishculture
the national fishculture extension projects .
service; 2.1.3.To lay down an The local operating regional and fishculture
need to processing facilities; extension service organigramme and The training its popularizing strategy (this include
schedule for both fishfarmers and the officer’s bunch, the number of
graduated ( biologist and agronomy fish farmers an officer could look
and veterinary sciences) for local after, the number and the frequency
specialization in aquaculture; of visits to each fish farrmer and the The periodical fish farmers meetings to
environmental norms to be respected be held). Here below a model of a
in keeping with fish farmers wastes coordinated extension fishculture
to down stream; strategy in which such type of A training programme could be
protective legal text (in favour of fish achieved (Table 8).
farmers) to be submitted to local

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2.2- STRATEGY TO PROMOTE populations dynamics have never
FISHERIES PRODUCTION been studied. Problems associated
with tropical multispecies
2.2.1. FISH STOCK management may be overcome by
ASSESSMENT NEEDED PRIOR studing at different seasons one or
TO HIGH SCALE EXPLOITATION two species on a short portion of the
(1986) reported that data on fish
ecology used to come mainly from 2.2.2. UNKNOWN
studies of commercially important MAXIMUM SUSTAINABLE YIELD
food fish (the larger species). (MSY)
Recent informations on underwater Fisheries reseach should,
observations of fish behaviour first of all, determine the MSY(
while scuba-diving and filming Maximum Sustainable Yield ) of
contributed to scientific knowledge the most important commercial
in fish eco-physiology. Although species in Congo river. However,
man made lakes cause some for the inland african water bodies,
problems to migrators fishes, very few has been done. Most
behind hydroelectric dams (Inga methods to study fish population
electric dam on Congo river had dynamics (including grow,
modified the original fish reproduction strategy, age size for
distribution on that proportion of spawning, rate and the causes of
this river, MUZIGWA (1991) have mortality, specific genetic strains,
provided large scale experiments hybridization occured, migration
for studying the changes from and their causes ) is expensive and
riverine to lacustrine fish it requires highly trained
communities. Congo river fish fishbiologists BAGENAL (1978 ),

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GULLAND (1978), 1983 )., Zaïre river system, this ecosystem
PAULY & MURPHY ( 1982 ) & has over 700 species. Congo basin
PAULY (1983 ). has the richest fauna excluding
Lake Tanganyika . 80% of these
2.2.3. DIFFICULTS species are endemic. Although it is
ENCOUNTERED WHEN reported that fish fauna are
STUDYING THE INLAND continuously receiving or losing
TROPICAL FRESH WATER FISH species from other, african fish
STOCKS ARE DUE TO : fauna is dominated (in number) by methods used in the cichlids species (nearly 700
the determination of the age in species) followed by Cyprinids
tropical fish community by the (over 450 species) (LOWE-
squelets chronoly and other bony MCCONNELL, 1986).Worldwide
structure especially when the there are over 20.000 species of
individuals do not live in rivers and teleosts, representing a wide range
streams with two regimes) of physiological adaptations.
(LECOMTE et al., 1986, Reseach conducted on fish
MERONA et al., 1988 & is confined to a relatively small
MUTAMBUE, 1992) ; number of species, often those The groups that have some commercial
existence of mumerous species value such as salmonids. However
living together ; sampling of any on a worldwide basis, Cyprinids
specific species presents some include the majority of freshwater
difficults.; teleosts. BELL-CROSS (1965), That fish quoted by LOWE-MCCONNELL,
grow at different rate and breed at discribed the movements of six
different places. With respect to species of fish

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(Barbus,Clarias,Aplocheilichthy, Tanganyika received a
Tilapia and Ctenopoma ) from the preadaptation from the rocky
Congo tributary to Zambezi system. habitats from the river Congo
BEADLE ( 1976 ) and LOWE - rapids. Accordingly Congo basin
MCCONNELL described the higher may be divided in six ichtyofauna
endemism of non Cichlids in Lakes regions (Poll, 1939 and 1959 quoted
Tanganyika and Malawi as the in LOWE-MCCONNELL, 1986) :
direct consequency of the probable
greater ages of these deep lakes. regions
of the Congo basin
ICHTYOFAUNA ON THE ZAÏRE Lover Congo, below Boma and
BASIN entering a mangrove lined estuary
The greater diversity of (most eryhaline species; marine fish
Tanganyika's fauna must be related families: clupeids, gobies,
in part to the rich Congo river stock tetraodonts, and freshwater species:
diversity. Indeed, seven of the ten cichlids , cyprinodonts ,
families which constitute endemics anabantids);
to the Lake Tanganyika fauna are A stretch
also represented by endemic fish to with 32 falls and rapids in 350 km
the rapids of lower Congo between Matadi and Pool Malebo;
(Characidae, Cyprinidae, Bagridae, Pool
Claridae, Mochokidae, Cichlidae 2
Malebo, 500 km , enlargement of
and Mastaridae). ROBERTS &
the river;
STEWART (1976) reported that the The great
Cichlids Lamprologus adaptation to
Center basin of the Congo, over
the rocky littoral of Lakes

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1.500 km upriver and almost on the diversified than swamps and
Equator; streams), the marginal water The upper (diversified series of biotopes and
Congo basin or Lualaba above very important to the fishes), the
Kisangani Fall; inundation zones (which carry The juvenile fishes of many species), the
Upemba lakes on the Lualaba flood streams (shaded with very small
plain. variations in microclimate), the large
Most species move into the lateral lakes.
inundated forest at high water to Because of the importance of
breed and to feed, and back to the the Congo river fish fauna and its
low water channels as the level falls. diversified ecosystems, particular
Young fishes stay behind in pools protection should be maintained. It
which become isolated as the level seems that those ecosystems with the
falls and fishes with special richest faunas are likely to be those
adaptations to withstand that are the most sensitive to
deoxygenated conditions may perturbation. Furthermore, field
remain in swamps (LOWE- works between Kinsuka and Maluku
MCCONNELL, 1986). The shallow on Congo river confirmed that
marginal waters along the banks and extensive among site variation in
island, and over there when the river food-web parameters was associated
is high, carry more fishes than do the with differences in species richness
open waters. and environmental differences
So, the main biotopes associated with rainfall patterns,
include the rapids below Kinshasa, physiography and gross primary
the swamps ( either permanent ), the production.Seasons generally
main river ( more numerous and influenced food-web parameters less

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than did site differences Over-
(MUZIGWA,1989). exploitation
The over-exploitation of the most
2.2.5. FISHING PRESSURE accessible Zaïre river ecosystem is
TO NATIVE FRESHWATER FISH due to the abscence of a planned
An investigation conducted aquatic ecosystem management
on 50 high value commercial fish strategy. Indeed, as stated LOWE-
species (listed above) showed that MCCONNELL (1986), most species
there is a market change in the move into the forest at high water to
taxonomic composition of the fishery breed and to feed. During this period
with reduction in diversity from poorly equiped craftsmen fisher is
1973/1982 to 1984/1988 (Figure 7). unable to fish. To overcome this
With respect to the Bagridae, difficult he uses ichthyotoxic plants
Characidae,Cyprinidae,Distichodonti (DECEUNINCK, 1990) and
dae, there is decrease in diversity dynamite in order to optimize his
calculated through Herfindahl index annual yield. Later on, back to the

of diversity (H : ∑ni=1 S2i ). low water channels as the low water

level falls, the same fisherman can
Obviously compared to 1973/1982,
not face Zaïre river rapids, preferable
fishing effort increased to catch the
biotop to well gauged fish. Once
equal weight in 1984/1988. The
again he resorts to toxic plants or to
1973/1982 Distichodontidae
dynamites for fishing.
Herfindahl index is 0.46 whereas in
Young fish stayed behind in
1982/1988 it decreased to 0.01
pools which become isolated as the
(Table 9) .
level falls and fish with special
adaptations to withstand
deoxygenation conditions remaining

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in swamps become preys to any home aquarium has been caught
predator. around Kinshasa region. Tilapia spp. of non reared around Kinshasa region had
native species populated Congo river and now
The introduction of non competiting for food (MUZIGWA,
native species had lead to some 1994). Permanent education
extent on competition and predation . programme through media facility is
One of the introduction which has required in these circumstances.
caused to much damage on
Distichodus spp. and Lates sp. has 2.3.- STRATEGY TO
been done unvolontary in fishculture REHABILITATION AND
in Central Africa (Ubangui), when PROTECTION
the scientists decided to use the Vanden Bossche (1986)
Heterotis niloticus as a carnivorous reported that most markets (in
fish to control over population in Mbandaka) were inundated with
Clarias spp. and Tilapia spp. fish fingerlings caught from marshes,
ponds. Unfortunately, some of this shallow marginal waters along the
carnivorous escapped from these fish banks and iland during subsiding
ponds and they are now competiting period (LWL) (Figure 8).
for food and now feeding on larvi of These figures should be
many species of the Congo river. useful in management strategy to
Fishermen are now complaining, protect very young fish by periodical
since catching effort had increased. closing of the spawning grounds Fishculture and especially during high water level
aquariological unwised action. (Figure 10).
Some of the imported species
(from South américa: Amazonie) for

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2.3.1. NON ALLOWED recommandations to extension
FISHING MESH SIZES officers in fishery management
The following monofilament should foresee a closing fishing
fishing gill nets with specific mesh period in the margin waters.
sizes should be prohibited in margin
waters in order to protect early stage 2.3.3.PROHIBITED
fingerlings (Surface monofilament FISHING TECHNICS
fishing nets: floatting rope : plastic Non ichtyotoxin neither
weights with lead : 9 g/m. Bottom dynamite fishing technics should be
monofilament fishing nets: nylon used during that period. Extension
weights with lead: 33 g/m)(Table technician officers to contrôle the
10). application of this regulation should
be very mobile, controling by air and
on water surface.


GROUNDS (at high water level: COMMITEE
during the flooding of the Congo Fishermen can collaborate to
river) this project. Most educated among
Because most of fish do them could be registered and being
spawn few days before the rising of trained for that perspective.
water levels (between October to 15 Gathering together in small
February in the high part of the committee, later on, in cooperative
Congo river and between 15 October may be helpfull. Periodical meeting
to the end of December in the low with regional officers in charge of
section of the same Congo river), extension service should be held at

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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 29
the main fisheries during which that most fishermen do rely on
targets to achieve in the strategy to fingerlings and very young
protect threatened fish could be specimen.
define. Accordingly, a coordinating
programme to protect or to
2.3.5 . CONTROL, MANAGEMENT rehabilitate any fish population in
AND PROTECTION OF THE these aquatic ecosystems should
SPAWNING GROUNDS define the closing grounds and the
Most critical months for control of the mesh size.
eggs and newly hatched larvi may be
identified in most tropical aquatic 2.4.-DIFFICULT TO POTENTIAL
ecosystems with respect to spawning MARINE INDUSTRIAL FISHERY
seasonalities process of cichlids fish The D.R.C. (ex-Zaïre) is
in Lakes Malawi (Malawi in Africa) cosi'gnee of the United Nations (UN)
and Jiloa (Nicaragua in South Conventions for management , to
America). protect and to access to sea water
Ripe females do migrate in resources, in accordance with the
the spawning grounds with the rising article 70 . Therefore, it is recognized
of water in tropical Lakes and rivers. to Zaïre the use of the EEZ
With respect to Congo river, around (Economic Exclusive Zone fixed at
Kinshasa region, this phenomenon 12 miles). Unfortunately, Zaïre has a
(in the middle of November) do very narrow opening to sea (40 Km
coincide with improving catch by the only). This natural handicap limits
fishermen of the most large species. the type of fishing smacks. Most of
Later on, (from December to time, apart from the compulsions to
January) the number of adults fish fish production described above,
caught decreases with consequence conditions required to in the

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neighbours countries’ waters to initiate integrated fishfarming and
(Angola, Namibie and Gabon), to poultry or cattle breeding .
congolese private fishing industries At least, more governmental
do not allow any blossom out to this effort should be required to educate
sector. Consequently, there is only permanently rural population through
one sea fishing industry (Pêche local media programme and to

industrielle de Moanda : P.I.M.3). include , in the universities

programmes, Aquacuture and

3.- CONCLUSIONS AND Fishery management training

SUGGESTIONS courses. A country like Congo, with

To become self sufficient an enormous natural hydrobiological

food production Zaïre government potential should prepare his officers

should first of all to become more to its management. Local busness

credible towards both local and men should encourage their

foreign investors then it should countparts from overseas to

allocate enough fund and honour his undertake complementary activities,

commitment towards agriculture investing more and more in

projects on time. Furthermore, agriculture than in mining .

macro-economic infrastructure (lines

Local deficit is continously
to allow exchange between regions)
growing. In 1951 it represented
should be the most important priority
244,046 tons, while in 1985, it
to others. Multidimentional agro-
reached 614,025 tons. Therefore, the
farming projects valorising the
annual fish production increment is
potential seats of integrated rural
about 3,263 tons per year while
development should be obligatory
zaïrean population grows at a rate of
encouraged. Existing colonial
565,801 habitants/year (Annual
infrastracture in these regions allow
Population growth rate reported is
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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 31
about 2.56% : Ministère de especially to Europe, North America
l'Agriculture, Service de and to Soviet Union Republic
Planification Agricole 1987). (URSS). (FITZ, 1968; CONROY,
However, fish production has one of 1975; BURD 1978; ANON,1985;
the lowest annual production CADWALLADER , 1978;
increment (it represents 0.13%), MACCALL, 1979; MACCALL et
calculated from the available official al. 1988; STEPHENS, 1983;
statistics. Obviously, this country WILLIAMS et al. 1985 and 1989;
seeks a more realistic and MOYLE et al., 1986; FAUSCH,
performing fishery and fish farming 1988; MILLER et al. 1989;
programmes. INGRAM et al., 1990 ; and
STEPHENSON et al. 1990 ).
The world number of
threatened and endangered fish had However, with respect to
increased. This is a response either to Zaïre river, recent studies and reports
aquatic ecosystem alteration or to funded by AGCD (ABOS)
fishing pressure. A varied number of (VANDEN BOSSCHE, 1986;
harmful external or internal factors to MUZIGWA, 1989, MUZIGWA &
their habitat may be avoided through MUTAMBUE, 1993; MUTAMBUE,
a practical habitat and fishery 1992; KANINGINI, 1994 confirm
management. This should include that the number of threatened,
publicity, politics, and law for endangered and declining fish is likly
conservation (WELCOMME, 1986; to increase in the face of escalating
NEILAND et al., 1990 and problems of habitat destruction and
McGREGOR, 1990). Few years ago, degradation.
threatened words of fish increased
In the absence of protective
and it seemed to be a specific
legislation and basic research for
problem to developed countries
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Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 32
structuring recovery in Congo, fish fauna, BUKAR et al. (
pressure had lead to such severe 1985),WELCOMME (1986) and
depletion that some stocks could be NEILAND et al.1990 ) reported that
unable to recover, if from now the decline of the commercially
nothing could be done. OGUTU- important species is the direct
OHWAYO ( 1990 a and b ) and consequences of damming, drought
MCGREGOR (1990) working on the and overexploitation in lake Tchad,
most collapsing african cichlid fish ( in river Niger and in river Benue
Haplochromis spp.) stated that respectively. Furthermore, in a crater
indications in Africa and elsewhere lake, in Cameroun, the World Wide
that the dramatic decline and demise Fund ( WWF ) research team was
of cichlid taxa in lake Victoria will alarmed by the decline of two cichlid
not be an isolated phenomenon. species due to internal factors
(agrochemicals, damming,
Evidence suggest that
deforestation, and overfishing ) and
following human exploitation and
to external ones (alien species,
introduction of non natives fishes has
aerials pollution, socio-economic
lead to reduction in fish species
pressures and visitors pressure
diversity in lake Victoria too
(BOUWMAN, et al., 1990 &
MCGREGOR, 1990). Predicted
et al., 1989 and OGUTUOHWAYO,
overpopulation in Africa will lead to
1990b ). Earlier than that, authors
increase in deforestation and in the
such as ROBERTS (1975 ),
advance of desert conditions, erosion
BOTKIN ( 1984) O'KEFFE ( 1989 )
and depletion of the soil (ENDA,
were hardly concerned with the
1980). Consequently, african
ecosystem context of the
widespread species from generalised
management of endangered species
habitats have to be threatened
of South African rivers. In Sudanian
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(O’KEFFE 1989 & Aquaculture in a given country, can
SKELTON,1990). be regarded as the reflection of the
potentials for technology transfer this
Most fish biologists do now
country has; on the other hand;
agree that for a quick recovery of
thanks to Aquaculture, man has
declining and collapsing fish stock,
proved he can control the production
the biology of the species should be
and thereby, guarantee his alimentary
clearly defined (KAUFMAN, 1987
& LE CREN, 1990). This could
include a captive husbandry of In short, this type of food
endangered species, identification of production is an evidence of the
unique gene pools for special enormous efforts that part of the
protection may be achieved humanity is outspreading to overstep
(MEFFE,1990). However, prior to the simple pic up, fishing and
any field and laboratory works, as a hunting. The African man,
part of strategy to help in recovery of perpetuating this state, generally
any vanishing or threatened species , prefers fish from rivers, streams and
its present status throughout the rather than, Tilapia from ponds.
world should be defined. Natural
Therefore, it is not surprising
distribution being clarified.
that, on the African continent, where
As matter of fact, most fishfarming has not been established
biologists do not hesitate to link " for several thousands years like in
Aquaculture and Development " ( Asia (HICKLING, 1950; BARD,
The Symposium on Aquaculture and 1962 and HUET 1968 ), it has not
Development. Nov. 1986. Univ. de been properly vulgarised, and
Liège). On the one hand, for the therefore failed.
simple reason that the standard of

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The related experience of the fishfarming extension service that
belgian-Congo and Rwanda - Urundi would be more realistic. For the sub-
is a good illustration of the problem, Sahara african , in our point of view,
although the lac of knowledge in two aspects of this new approach
basic biology as well as reproduction would be to introduce and farm some
and feeding behaviour ( RUWET, et of the currently fished species (
al.1983., PHILIPPART et al.1986), together with the intention of
the indistinctness in the identification restocking the progressively deprived
of the Tilapia species and the lack of water bodies) and to adjust the
home specialist, contributed to this rearing infrastructure to the farmer's
failure. income and needs.

Although these gaps have To answer to the problem of

been fullfilled, and this thanks to the food shortage in developping
work of some Scientists ( DE countries ,particularly in Africa
BONT, 1950; POLL and GOSSE, specialist have suggested, among
1963; THYS VAN DEN other possibilities, a more ratrional
AUDENAERDE 1971; RUWET and exploitation of the aquatic potential.
VOSS 1974 ) and, despite an Within the current economical
improvement in the rearing contest, it is out of the question to
techniques aiming at a maximum think of improving the fishing gear
production per cubique meter of and increasing their potential of
water, the Afican Fishfarming is still action by using more " harrier " boat.
seeking itself! It is a better option to encourage the
lagoons and the estuaries ( PAULY
Therefore, experienced men
1975; ERIC 1976; MOLL et al.
consider that it is time to
1972 ).
contemplate a new approach of

Fisheries and Aquaculture :
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In subtropical Africa, in kg of fish from the river Congo cost
Congo in particular, a very 980,000 (nearly 180 BF ).
diversified aquatic fauna can be
With respect to genetic
found. Its valorisation as a source of
approaches to conservation, since
protein should deserve a closer
genetic data are now used to monitor
attention. In addition to this, the
hatchery population of several
development and protection of the
endangered fishes as stated by
ecosystems previously mentioned,
MEFFE (1990), more informations
would insure an optimum
are needed in order to describe the
production.Anxious about the future
quantity and geographic distribution
of this fauna in Congo, a survey has
of genetic variation in threatened
been conducted and has enabled to
species, to estimate historical levels
list fish species, crustaceans and
of natural isolation and gene flow
floating plants with a high nutritional
among populations, to identify an
and an appreciable economical value.
unique gene pools for special
The liking of Africans ( protection, thus contributing to
those of Central Africa in particular ) taxonomic clarification, and to the
for freshwater fish, means that they choice of stocks to release into the
are ready to pay more money for wild.
continental freshwater fish than for
brackishwater or marin fish. REFERENCES
1) Achieng, A.P.,1990. The impact
In Kinshasa, one kg. of
of the introduction of Nile perch,
mackerel ( commonly called "
Lates niloticus (L.) on the fisheries
Mpiodi " ) cost, nowadays 550,00
of Lake Victoria.Journal of Fish
zaïre ( nearly 100 BF ) whereas one
Biol.(1990) 37 (Supplement A),17-
Fisheries and Aquaculture :
how to manage them for sustainability ?
Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 36
7) Beadle,L.C.,1981. The Inland
2) Alexander, C.S., 1964. Fish Waters of Tropical Africa:An
poisoning along the north eastern Introduction to Tropical
coast of Tanganyika. Tanganyika Limnology,2nd ed.
Notes & Records,1964, 62,57-60. London:Longmans.

3) Bagenal, T.B. 1978. Methods for 9) Bell, F.W. and Canteberry, E.R.
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Agricole.Division de Stratégie et de
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how to manage them for sustainability ?
Agricultural International Magazine/KUL-Belgium 37
Pelagic fish Community.Trans. Am.
13) Claus, F.,1930. La capture des Fish.Soc., 110:325-355.
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la période 1931 - 1970. Rep. du Zaïre
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