Egypt’s parliament — the House of Representatives — approved on Sunday a government-drafted law aiming to regulate the setting up of fish farms and protecting lakes and aquariums from pollution and land encroachment.
A report prepared by the House’s Agriculture Committee said the new bill goes in line with Egypt’s 2014 constitution, which states that the government shall take all measures necessary to develop the country’s water resources and safeguard them against pollution and bad use.
“With the constant growth of population in mind, this bill comes to help draw up integrated plans for developing Egyptian lakes and water surfaces to boost production and exports of fish and promote investments in fish farms,” said the report, adding that “the articles of the current law (124/1983) regulating fishing operations and fish farms have become no longer effective in preventing assault on lakes and water surfaces.”
The report further indicated that the new bill is in line with the National Project for Developing Egyptian Lakes, which was launched by President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi two years ago.
“The new bill will also unify all legal measures regulating use of lakes and fish farms into a single law,” said the report.
Ashraf Rashad, the spokesperson of the majority party of Mostaqbal Watan (the Nation’s Future) said there is a consensus among MPs that the new bill is necessary to protect Egyptian lakes from deterioration and develop their production of fish.
Soliman Wahdan, the spokesperson of the liberal Al-Wafd party, said Egypt’s annual production of fish is estimated at 2.3 million tonnes, and that fish represents 70 percent of the food in Egypt. “So, it is very important this bill contributes to boosting fish production to help meet the growing population’s need for fish,” said Wahdan.
Ahmed El-Awadi, the spokesperson of the Guardians of the Nation Party, said there are 11 lakes in Egypt, with 2500 kilometres of beaches. “These lakes and beach fronts are in a pressing need for development and regulation so that Egypt could be number one in Africa in terms of fish production,” said Al-Awadi.
The bill states that an “Authority on the Protection and Development of Lakes and Fish Wealth” will be set up to take charge of managing and preserving Egyptian lakes to double their production of fish.
It also states that the new authority, which will be affiliated with the cabinet, will be responsible for protecting Egyptian lakes and aquariums from pollution and land encroachment.
The bill also states that the new authority will be also be responsible for licensing fish farms and fish processing projects, as well as regulating fishing operations and managing fishing ports.
“The bill’s executive regulations will be issued within six months from the date of the law going into effect,” article 2 states.