Lake Tanganyika, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, has been losing its biodiversity at an alarming rate due to human-induced activities such as unsustainable agriculture and fishing practices, water pollution, and deforestation. Recognizing the need to protect its resources for the economic benefit of the two East African countries, Tanzanian and Burundian officials have agreed to combine forces and take measures to protect the lake.
The agreement between the two governments was reached On Thursday June 8th, after a meeting between Selemani Jafo, Tanzania’s Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office responsible for Union and Environment, and Sanctus Niragira, Burundi’s Minister for Environment, Agriculture, and Livestock, held in Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital.
This move comes after the March 15th, 2023 measure to halt fishing activities in the four riparian countries was not respected by fishermen. In Burundi, fishing activities continued as usual despite the measure. To protect the biodiversity of the lake, riparian countries will need to be ambitious and strict in enforcing the measures they take towards that end.
With this new agreement, Tanzania and Burundi hope to reverse the trend of biodiversity loss and protect the valuable economic resources provided by Lake Tanganyika. The collaboration between the two countries serves as a model for other riparian states to follow to ensure the conservation of Africa’s Great Lakes.
Tanganyika Lake is a precious treasure for its bordering countries, hosting hundreds of fish species. Spread over an area of 32,900 square kilometers, Tanganyika waters are shared amongst four countries, including Burundi (7%), the DRC (45%), Tanzania (41%), and Zambia (6%). The Burundian section of the lake is currently producing around 12,000 tons of fish, a significant decrease from the 20,000 tons produced in the 1990s, as reported by the National Confederation of Fishermen of Burundi