At the creation of Virunga Park, local communities used to fish in Lake Edward with traditional tools and equipment under the local management structures. During colonial period, the Park was created and included Lake Edward as part of Virunga park. As part of the culture, the Park Manager has left the fishing privilege to communities and allowed local population to fish but under a cooperative structure.
As per now, the situation has worsened and became a threat toward conservation of the Park. At the creation of the Park, there were only two fishing villages and now there are more than 15 villages. These villages has also increased in size.
Nyakakoma fishing villages 2006
If fish was biological resource, it could be more important for local communities. In the region, fish is more important as it provides different benefits:
- food for community in the fishing villages
- food for surrounding communities
- commercial activity for fishing population
- opportunity for business of manufactured products
Beside these opportunities, fish is source of conflict between different stakeholders: conservation institution, marine and infantry forces, public services, local communities and administration.
The over fishing has led people to adapt themselves to the current situation and develop survival mechanism which implies fauna poaching, armed group creation, deforestation and encroachment.
We’ve been working with the different communities to solve this conflict.
Meeting with stakeholders
This has been done through a participatory process:
- conflict analysis
- strategy definition
- planning meeting
- set up a monitoring and evaluation team
- activity implementation
It appears that when interest of different groups are threatened, it become easy to get people involved into a resolution conflict process.
How do we go for fish?
The main interest is that local communities has noticed that fish stock has decreased and this has led to involvement of communities into the process.