Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Boy with the fish fishing

A young Gambella boy with fish harvested from Gilo River.

Gilo sub-basin is enriching fish resources from lakes particularly from Tata Lake, and Gilo river. The communities’ livelihood is depending on fishing. The fish resources in the area are diminished through time as these water resources are affected by human factors. If a particular management intervention is taken, the area is capable of providing fish development.

The Gambella regional state is among the regions of Ethiopia having abundant water bodies of which Gilo River is the one. In Gilo sub basin there are a lot of different fresh water and natural lakes containing a tremendous number and species of fishes and other aquatic resources.

Gilo River is the home for different fish species that supports the communities residing along the river in providing food, income generation from the sale of fish and serve in other social services (recreational activities like swimming, boat transportation) and others.

Some of the common fish species in Gilo river and other water bodies (Lakes and other rivers) are (Barbus, catfish, Nile perch, electric fish) and others are named in local names are (Gur, Jer, ulwok, Oguwela, Udella, Uret, Puro, Ukura, Chuwo, Abali, Ukok, Aduwere, and Apido) are the common ones.

The two important lakes in the sub basin are “Bishan waka” which is in the upper Gilo sub basin in Mengeshi district of Mejengir zone and “TATA” lake in the lower sub basin Gog district of the Agnya zone. Fish production capacity of Tata Lake is very significant and fishing is the daily activity for the communities near and around the lake both for daily consumption and taking to Pugnido town which is some 12 kms distance away from the lake.

As observed by the study team during the survey the fishing activity is free access for all of the community from all angle of the lake at the individual household level and to partially organized cooperatives, so there is a threat as to the sustainability of fish production because of over fishing. On the other hand the fish population of “Bishan waka” lake is a bit difficult to quantify as the lake is very deep and circumscribed by dense forest which make the accessibility to the

lake a bit difficult. However it can be estimated that currently the fish output from the lake seems not significant.

In the sub basin riverside agriculture is common particularly maize and sorghum is widely practiced by Agnua people along the Gilo River. As the community is generally not cereal self sufficient alternative income sources such as fishing is also the most important livelihood of the community.

Fishing business

Gambella girls heading home after buying a sun dried & semi processed fish from fisher men in the Bienyang River of wantawa district.

Generally, one can estimate that the fish resources in different water bodies of the sub basin, can support the present population of the area and the region at large, provided that the sub sector is developed with further research and technical back up from all concerned bodies (both National and Regional Government, and development donor organizations) that may harness these all untapped natural resources with good market opportunities both for the producers and consumers.