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Kariba fishermen defy fish ban

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  • Government initially imposed a three-month-long fish ban on December 1, 2020 which would have run until February 28, 2021 but has since been extended to May 31, 2021.

By OLIVER SAMBOKO

SOME fishermen  operating on Lake Kariba have defied a fish ban  imposed by the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries aimed at allowing fish to breed on the man-made water body and other rivers in the country.

Government initially imposed a three-month-long fish ban on December 1, 2020 which would have run until February 28, 2021 but has since been extended to May 31, 2021.

However, those operating Kapenta rigs will be allowed to resume operations on February 3, 2021.

A check by the Daily Nation in Kabyobyo and Mundulundulu along the shores of Lake Kariba found fishermen and traders, respectively, openly engaged in fish trading during the day. And Mr Lloyd Bwalya, a fisherman lamented in an interview that it is not feasible to wait until May, adding that fishing was the only livelihood for many people in the area.

He also wondered why Government decided to impose a fish ban on Lake Kariba when it was fully aware that the water body was a shared one and that on the Zimbabwean side no similar measure has been put in place.  “The ban does not make sense considering that fishing activities on the Zimbabwean side of the lake have not stopped, meaning we are being disadvantaged by the ban,” Mr Bwalya said.

Meanwhile, Small-Scale Fish Farmers Association chairperson Victor Chatilika blamed lack of resources for the failure by the Department of Fisheries to intensify surveillance patrols and other enforcement measures.

He said without Government providing resources to the Department of Fisheries, the annual fish ban will remain an academic exercise that will not achieve its intended purpose.

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