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Erkie Asmare, Sewmehon Demissie and Dereje Tewabe
Fishing plays a critical role as a ‘bank in the water’ for local populations that largely rely on this activity to access cash quickly. This study aimed: (1) to assess the importance of fisheries in improving farmer’s livelihood in the study area. (2) to assess households and individual's involvement in inland fisheries in terms of utilization and management, and (3) to recommend means of interventions for sustainable use of the resource and enhance benefits from the river fishery. This activity was conducted by using a combination of monitoring of fish catch, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. Fishing is seasonal and intensively carried out during the dry seasons starting from February up to April. The most popular fishing gears used for fishing are the seed of Millettia ferruginea (in Amharic called Birbira) and barks of Balanites aegyptiaca (locally called Bedeno). In the area the main fish type consumed by the community are Clarias gariepinus [catfish] and Labeobarbus intermedius [Barbus] fish species in fresh and sun dried forms but Oreochromis niloticus is not known as it is edible. The farmers have a good fish consumption habit which is by far greater than the town’s inhabitants. Hence, Farming and fishing are overwhelmingly the most important activities for household food supply and means of income generation. Fish catches from the rivers have declined significantly because of the destructive way of fishing, water pollution, and resource encroachment, thereby threatening the sustainability of Jemma and Wonchit river fisheries as well as the river’s ecosystem.