‘Illegal fishing depleting stocks in water bodies’

NCHELENGE acting district commissioner Gift Mudenda has bemoaned the illegal fishing on Lake Mweru which is depleting fish stocks in the water body.
Mr Mudenda said during a briefing when a delegation led by Luapula Province minister Beson Kapaya paid a courtesy call on him recently, that one of the major challenges that the district faces is illegal fishing because most people depend on the business to sustain their livelihoods.
“… The fish stocks in the lake are very low because of fishermen using bad fishing methods such as seine nets, poisonous substances and mosquito nets among others,” he said.
Mr Mudenda also cited non-compliance to the annual fishing ban by fishermen and limited funding to carry out sensitisations and surveillance patrols contributing to fish depletion.
He said close to 10,000 illegal fishermen are on the lake every night to catch fish.
“What really happens at night is shocking because between 8,000 and 10, 000 fishermen go fishing every night… you can imagine how much fish is being caught. Our fish stock in Lake Mweru is depleting on a daily basis,” he said.
He, however, commended the Finnish government for helping in controlling the vice.
The Finnish government has come up with an initiative where Village Fishermen Management Committees under the Programme for Luapula Agricultural and Rural Development is helping carry out patrols on the lake to prevent people from fishing illegally or from using bad fishing methods.
“In the midst of all these challenges, we would like to thank the Zambian Department of Fisheries in its quest to develop the fish sector with the support from PLARD where they have come up with a project to promote fish cages to help recover and increase fish stocks in the lake,” he said.

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