Zambia’s capture fisheries is fast depleting due to over fishing by the locals, the lack of observing the fishing ban and the effect of climate change on the natural water bodies where some have dried up.
While the alternative of investing into the aquaculture industry lies begging, farmers have not adopted the idea of engaging into this lucrative venture that will reduce pressure on the capture fisheries industry.
Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Professor NKANDU LUO has noted that Zambia’s aquaculture sector has not yielded the desired results because of lack of sensitization and buy in from the citizens in the country.
Professor LUO says that in spite of the capture fisheries being over utilized, the alternative of Zambians engaging in aquaculture has not being championed to the detriment of the sector contributing significantly to the gross domestic product.
She said this has further contributed to the deficit of fish stocks in the country which currently stand at about 50 million tonnes per year.
Professor LUO says the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock needs to start sensitizing fishermen on the importance of carrying out a fishing ban before the time of actualizing it comes.
She said this will enable farmers to understand the importance of the exercise and also encourage them to engage in other activities such as livestock raring and aquaculture as an alternative source of income generation for them.
“When we are carrying out exercises such as the fishing ban, we need to give people alternatives of generating income and this will make our work easier as they will venture into other activities as we also carry on doing our jobs” Professor Luo said.
She further observed that public health is a serious issue that government should work towards before the rainy season.
She said this when she visited tuta bridge fishing camp in Samfya district of Luapula province where she found several families living there without proper sanitary facilities.
“This is a time bomb. These families will soon get diseases such as typhoid, bilharzia, dysentery and cholera, because they clearly are using the same water body as toilets and bathrooms” Professor Luo lamented.
While the danger of these diseases will not affect the locals only, this will eventually spread to the rest of the country as the fish being caught here will be sold in other parts of the country.
BADRAM CHIMPAMPWE, a trader speaking on behalf of the fishermen at tuta bridge, pleaded with the Minister to give them an alternative place to live as they continue doing their business on the Luapula river.
Mr. CHIMPAMPWE said fish farmers had no alternative income generating projects to meet their family demands and sending them away from this place will mean that their livelihood would become difficult.
Professor Luo promised the fish farmers that she would engage her counterpart Ministers from the Ministries of Land, Local Government and Health to help resolve this problem before the onset of the rainy season.
Meanwhile, Luapula Province Minister NIXON CHILANGWA bemoaned the lack of funds for operations for the Fisheries department which affects the effective implementation of the fishing ban, thereby resulting in capture fisheries being over fished.
Mr. CHILANGWA said the breeding areas in the water bodies need to be protected from fishermen but this can only happen if the department of fisheries receives its funds regularly and on time.
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