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Fishing Lake Hawassa, Ethiopia: Rift Valley lakes and catching Tilapia and Catfish

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Published on May 13, 2012

Fishing boats on the side of Lake Hawassa, Awassa in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia.

Opening with a view of lake from a park next to the shoreline where fish is allowed to be landed, we move to the beach where about twenty 20' wooden rowing boats were landing their catch. People were taking the fish caught in the nets into the boat, the nets were carefully folded back onto the back of the boats, and the boatmen were selling the fish (a very fast transaction). Fish gutting took place while standing in the water (with the storks enjoying the guts), then taking the fish to a hall above the beach where they were filleted and the fillets skinned. Some fish were taken straight to the shops and deep-fried over wood fires for immediate consumption.

Only two species appeared to be caught: tilapia in large numbers, and a few catfish.

The size of the catch seems to be restricted firstly by the size of the nets, and all the tilapia appeared to be very similar in size, suggesting perhaps that most were caught once they reached that size. Secondly, the fishing boats were all located in a short piece of shoreline, surrounded by a military area on one side, and a restricted and patrolled park on the other where bathing and a small number of tourist boats were permitted, but no fishing boats.

Note the young age of the fishermen: half the population of Ethiopia, which is growing at 2.5% per year, are under 20 years old.
Films taken 6 May 2012 around 7 2' 31.7" 38 27' 35.2" at 1661 m altitude.
Content Relevant to University of Leicester Courses on Biodiversity and sustainability, BS2072 and BS2081

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