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Country information

Fisheries production (metric tonnes)


80.70 million

Inland production (2007)


Land area:

1,104,000 sq kms

Marine production (2007)


Fisheries contribution to GDP (FAO)


Aquaculture production (2007)


GNI per capita:

US$ 280

Total production (2007)



Description of the fisheries sector

Ethiopia is a land locked country and fisheries resource potential consists of lakes, rivers, reservoirs, small water bodies and aquaculture. Currently the bulk of the catch originates from 4 lakes: Tana (25%), Ziway and Langano (19%), Chamo (18%) and Abaya (12% of the national total production). Despite catches on these lakes declining in recent years there is still widespread belief in the country that potential exists to raise the annual production to over 49,000 tonnes per year possibly through the development of new constructed reservoirs, under-exploited river fisheries and aquaculture. Most fish from the lakes are sold fresh but there is an increasingly important market for frozen fillets in lakeside towns as well as Addis Ababa. Currently there is a little export only of fish to Sudan from Ethiopia but the country imports significant amounts of fish from regional locations. Although to date, aquaculture has seen little development in Ethiopia, the current administration is actively encouraging large scale fish farming developments through provision of investment incentives in line with the National Aquaculture Development Strategy (2009) developed with support of FAO.


Institutional/management arrangements

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) is the key ministry for fisheries issues including the Institute of Ethiopia Agricultural Research (IEAR). MoARD is responsible for the development and management of the fisheries and IEAR undertake research in response to fisheries management and development needs. The Federal system of government in Ethiopia use Regional Fisheries Experts in the 8 Regional Governments with significant fisheries. Many lakes have active fishers co-operatives charged with local decision making in fisheries and these co-operatives form the community-level basis of collaborative fisheries management.


Policy and legal framework

Proclamation No: 315/2003 Fisheries Development and Utilisation Proclamation is the principal legal tool available to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the management of fisheries. Based on this proclamation, two regional governments which have major fishery water bodies produced their own respective proclamation for management of fisheries under their jurisdiction. Although there is currently no fisheries policy document in Ethiopia, a range of national development documents identify fisheries as being a sector in need of support to enable it to increase production and contribute to the food security of the growing population. The Plan for Accelerated and Sustainable Development to End Poverty (PASDEP) and the Rural Development Policy are two such documents. Ethiopia is part of the ESA negotiating group for the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the European Union.