Ethiopia is a landlocked country depending only on inland water resources for Fish’s supply as a low-cost protein source. Ethiopia’s inland water body is estimated to encompass about 7,400 km2 of the lake area and a total river length of about 7,000 km. The country offers enormous opportunities and untapped potentials for increasing its fish production and market supply. Currently, the country depends on inland freshwater capture fishery supply for its population. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aquaculture in Ethiopia remains more potential than actual practice. This opens a wider room for commercial investment in a range of possible enterprises.
Ethiopia’s waters are classified into four systems: lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and small water bodies. Diverse aquatic life, ranging from microscopic flora and fauna to the giant African Hippopotamus, inhabits the lakes and rivers. The rich natural ichthyofauna includes more than 100 fish species. Sizeable fishery resources originate from these waters.
Over 70% of the fishes consumed in Ethiopia are harvested from lakes such as Tana, Ziway, Abaya, Chamo, and Hawassa. The rest are from artificial lakes like Finchaa. Lakes at the Great Rift Valley and Tana Lake are where 80 percent of the Fish comes from, while dams and rivers make up 14 and 6 percent, respectively. Society is starting to catch on to the benefits of eating Fish. In major towns, consumption is increasing dramatically, and the hospitality industry’s fast growth is contributing to increasing fishery business.
There are 180 different species of Fish in Ethiopia, and 30 of those are native to the country. The most consumed fish species are Cat Fish, Tilapia, and Nile perch. The aquaculture practice has been conducted with tilapia and African catfish. Farming of coldwater species could be achieved on about 11 percent of Ethiopia’s surface area, on the high central Plateau above 2,500 m. A wide array of Fish, ranging from cold water to warm water species, can also be farmed in the Central Highlands, presenting favorable temperature characteristics. Also, the lowlands representing about 33 percent of the total area could be suitable for the cultivation of tilapia and other warm-water species.