• Sustainable use of natural resources

Contribution to improving the territorial governance of Lake Edward in the Virunga National Park

ICON/BTN/arrow/2/arrow-down Created with Sketch. Contribution to improving the territorial governance of Lake Edward in the Virunga National Park

The Lake Edouard, (215,000 ha), is located in the heart of the Virunga National Park (780,000 ha), a world heritage site, and the first African park, created in 1925. This lake straddles the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Uganda. The Lake Edward has a remarkable flora richness due to its great diversity of biotopes and natural habitats as well as to its phytogeographic position. It is home to many species of fish, including Bagrus docmac (LC), Sarothelodon niloticus, Sarothelodon leucostictus, Haplochromis spp., Hemihaplochromis multicolur, and Schutzia eduardiana. The lake area is also home to many species of resident or migratory birds.

 

The populations depend on the many ecosystem services provided by the lakes, especially fishermen, the exact number of which is not known. The lake is under strong pressure due, in particular, to the non-existence of any policy for scientific monitoring of the fish population of Lake Edward with the granting of titles creating fisheries on Lake Edward without this following the procedure provided for by the applicable laws. Added to this is the increased presence of the Mai Mai militiamen on Lake Edward who rely on illegal fishermen who practice fishing using prohibited techniques in the areas of bays and spawning grounds of Lake Edward in order to get rich quickly without any consideration for sustainability.

 

Finally, the decree authorizing the exploration and exploitation of oil in Block V of the Albertine Rift impacts most of the PNVi and the limits of Lake Edward. The Federation of Individual Fishermen’s Committees of Lake Edouard (FECOPEILE) was created in 2012 to regulate fish production for the benefit of good living conditions for communities bordering Lake Edouard. FECOPEILE is supported by IUCN Netherlands. The objective of this project is to improve the sustainable management of the fishery resources of the Lake Edward and to improve territorial governance within this area.