VITSHUMBI, LAKE EDWARD, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, MARCH 2012: Scenes from Vitshumbi fishing village on Lake Edward, Virunga National Park, DRC, March 8 2012. There are over 800 registered legal fisherman on Lake Edward, they supply the main food source to over 40 000 people who live around the edges of the lake, the lake is also an important tributary for the Nile. Socco Oil, a UK based oil company, are attempting to prospect for oil in Lake Edward, located in Virunga National Park. This is illegal under Congolese Law and in 2011 the then Minister of the Environment declared that there would be no oil exploration in Virunga, a world heritage site and Africa’s first National Park, the second ever after Yellowstone in the USA. Since then that Minister has lost his seat and Socco has worked hard to obtain partners under suspicious circumstances which will allow them to begin oil exploration in Lake Edward in Virunga National Park. The fisherman of Lake Edward and the vast majority of people living around the Lake are firmly opposed to this, believing that there will be catastrophic damage to the environment from which they make their living and feed the local population. Socco and their local political allies have tried to sell them on the idea that there will be job creation, roads, schools and hospitals but the locals believe that the only people who will benefit will be certain politicians and not their local villages. Socco previously prospected in Selous National Park in Tanzania and created environmental damage there, locals fear the same now for Lake Edward. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Reportage for GEO magazine.)

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