Zimbabwe’s Environment and Tourism Minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu told Parliament yesterday that there was overfishing in the Kariba but this was difficult to control because the dam was shared by two countries which had two different management systems.
He said that the two countries were, however, working on reducing this. They had 500 fishing permits with 265 for Zimbabwe and 235 for Zambia but Zambia had 1 300 fishing boats and Zimbabwe 500.
Ndlovu said there was great improvement because previously there were 900 permits. These had come down to 500.
In the case of Zambia, they had 1 600 boats at one time and these were down to 1 300.
“It is work in progress; it is something that we will continue to work with Zambians.
It is a livelihood issue for communities there; it therefore causes a number of challenges for governments. On the Zimbabwean side, it is a national park area and on the Zambian side, it is a communal area. That is why it is taking much longer to have the issue addressed but I am happy that we are cooperating well with our counterparts in Zambia,” he said.
Q & A:
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I will preface my question by commending the Ministry for starting fish farming projects throughout the country. However, my question is – what is the Ministry doing to ensure that the depletion of fish populations in these numerous national projects is curtailed so that there is continued production in that particular area?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say ‘depletion’?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Indeed, Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You mean depletion, alright.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): I would like to thank Hon. Sibanda, first of all for the compliment on the fisheries programme that Government is rolling out throughout the country.
Coming to the issue of fish stocks, of course, Hon. Sibanda did not specify exactly where the fish stocks are being depleted. However, I have to point out that fish stocks have been going down in Kariba. This is both a national and international issue because we share Kariba with our neighbour Zambia. We will be working with our Zambian counterparts in making sure that we conserve the fish stocks by also restocking Kariba, especially when it comes to Kapenta because Kapenta used to have several tonnes of harvest from the 1990s but from the 1990s to now, it has been going down.
From a policy perspective, it is our policy to ensure sustainability so that we continue having the required fish. However, when it comes to areas where there is depletion like in Kariba, we will be working with our counterparts in making sure that we bring back the fish population and even begin to increase the fish population in Lake Kariba.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, in areas where fish stocks are depleting like Kariba where he has given an example, the Government agencies responsible for licencing of fishing business continue to increase licence fees whilst fishing stocks are depleting. What is, possibly this will require his colleague on his right; what is Government policy with regards to assisting the fishing business to remain thriving in areas where fishing stocks are depleting?
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