By OLIVER SAMBOKO
BANNING fishing activities on Kafue River for five years as being suggested by some stakeholders is not a solution to the problem of fish depletion, Small Scale Fish Farmers Association (SSFFA) chairperson Victor Chatilika has observed. Some stakeholders have suggested that Government should consider banning fishing on Kafue River for five years and introduce new fish species to improve the population fish.
But SSFFA chairperson, Victor Chitilika, said contrary to the suggestion, Government should instead introduce fish farming on Kafue river as was the case at Lake Kariba and other water bodies where large scale fish farming was been undertaken.
He said the introduction of cages for commercial fish farming on Lake Kariba and other water bodies has not only resulted in improved fish stocks but also led to fishermen abandoning their illegal activities. Mr Chatilika said the Kafue River is one of the rivers in the country that can used for fish farming as the county strives to close the fish deficit currently stand at over 80,000 tonnes per annum.
He said fish has depleted on Kafue River to an extent that even if fishing activities were to be suspended for five years, it would not possible that catches would improve. “There practically no reason to ban fishing activities on Kafue River because already the river is empty and what needs to be done is introduce cages for commercial fish farming so that local fish farmers can be empowered and start producing,” he said.
Mr Chatilika said in the 1990s Kafue River was one of the few rivers in the country that had large fish stock but that due to wrong methods of fishing by the locals, the river is just a mere water path for other activities.