Credit: Aliadoumadji Rimadoum (Chad)
Review: Aliadoumadji Rimadoum and Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
Lake Chad basin is one of the most important agricultural heritage sites in the world. The lake is shared between Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria whereas each country often has different fishing methods, laws, and conservation/production techniques. Lake Chad provides a lifeline to nearly 30 million people in the four countries. About 90% of the lake’s water comes from the Chari River.
The shrinkage of Lake Chad is the most striking fact. The lake is the remnant of a much larger inland lake, about 400.000 km2 at its largest around the year 4000 BC. Records show that in 1832, Lake Chad was one of the largest lakes in the world. In the 1960s, the lake covered 26.000 km2, making it the fourth largest lake in Africa. However, by 2014, it had shrunk to a mere 2000 km2. The lake is very shallow of about 7 meters at its deepest with an average depth of about 2 meters. Most of its shorelines are made up of marshes.
The increase in lake shrinkage has been attributed to population growth in the four countries whereas millions of people surrounding the lake partially depend on the lake for potable and irrigable water. Moreover, the overgrazing surrounding the lake, and subsequent decline in vegetation has caused extensive desertification. The global warming has been also blamed for the shrinkage of the lake.
The main ongoing activities on the lake are fishing, farming, ranching, and trade. In regard to fishery, Chadian fishermen employ hand nets, gill nets, fish traps and long-lines with multiple hooks; the four methods are found efficient while seine nets are the primary fishing practice in Lake Chad.
Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), is a regional management body that regulates the use of the basin’s water and other natural resources of Lake Chad.