Zimbabwe Environment Minister says there is overfishing in the Kariba, but they are working on reducing it


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THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. S. NDLOVU):  The first issue to acknowledge is that indeed our stock levels of fish are depleting.  It has been happening for quite some time and the main reason has been overfishing but also the need to increase enforcement expenditure especially from fish poaching.  I am sure that the Hon. Member is also aware that part of the strategies we have implemented is to introduce what we call moon light days where there are days where fishing is not allowed in the river.  This has been successfully implemented on the Zimbabwean side to give time for our fish to reproduce.  In a month, fishing takes place around 22 days.  We have certain days that we allow for reproduction. 

The underlying cause is that the capacity particularly in Kariba for fishing, combined for Zimbabwe and Zambia a total of around 500 fishing boats.  Infact in total, Zimbabwe has an allocation of around 265 with Zambia around 235 depending on time to time assessments.  As we speak, Zambia has more than 1300 fishing boats in there and Zimbabwe is close to 500.  We have been taking measures to restrict issuance of new permits but also to increase the costs which the Hon. Member is asking so that we are able to meet the compliance cost.

Almost every night, we are out there looking for poachers and we are arresting them every night.  For us to be able to protect that resource that is depleting, we need to continue to unlock resources.  It is a painful period and I acknowledge especially for fish farming as a business at the moment but our understanding is, if we are able to conserve what is there, restock overtime, we will be able to increase profitability.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, I seek your indulgence. There is a part of my question that was not attended to.

At a time as this one when fish stocks have depleted, why should Government continue to charge fishing businesses the same exorbitant licencing fees instead of responding to the decline in the business. 

HON. S. NDLOVU:  I thought I had responded to the Hon. Member’s question in that it is mainly the cost associated with compliance; that is making sure that we deal with poaching issues that we have maintained our licencing.  Our belief also is that the people in the fishing business will also realise that the depleting stocks are also a result of over fishing and poaching as we have been working with them.  The institution charged with the mandate of dealing with poaching is National Parks and the resources they deploy to address poaching come from the fishing licences. That is why we cannot reduce otherwise it accelerates the rate of depletion that the Member is worried about.  I thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam.  What is the Hon. Minister doing about speculators or people who take fishing licences for onward leasing to other people as opposed to utilizing them at the primary inception?  Is there an audit process for the number of fishing licences that have been pushed out of the market in order to curtail the fishing that he has spoken to and about?

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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