NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
THE fisheries sector should integrate climate change into its â€˜pre-cautionary approachâ€™ to help reduce on the setbacks associated with weather variation, a research organisation has said.
Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) has observed that as long as climate change is not an integral part of fisheries management, the fisheries sector will continue to be vulnerable to shocks, and management practices will have no framework to adapt to the changes.
â€œThis will consequently affect peopleâ€™s livelihoods that depend on the fisheries sector,â€ IAPRI notes in its submission made to the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture which was commenting on the Auditor Generalâ€™s Report on sustainable fisheries recently.
IAPRI notes that there is need to recognise fisheries as a priority sector and scale up incentives, especially in aqua-culture, to encourage production at small-scale level.
â€œThis can be done by intensifying research in the fisheries and aqua-culture sector within the existing research institutions. Much of the focus has been on crops and livestock and less on fisheries,â€ the submission read in part.
It is also necessary that existing research institutes supplement work that is being done by the Department of Fisheries in acquiring biological and socio-economic data.
â€œSetting up an independent fisheries research institute in the future would help the fisheries department in data collection and analysis,â€ it states.
IAPRI has since called on Government to consider increasing funding to the fisheries sector to enhance its development, especially with regards to enforcement of regulations both at landing sites and in the water.
It has also called for the enactment of the aqua-culture and fisheries fund, provisioned for in the Fisheries Act of 2011.
The institute has recommended that there is need to split the Department of Fisheries into two departments with the other being the Department of aqua-culture for it to gain prominence as a solution to the unsustainable harvesting of fish in Zambiaâ€™s natural waters.
â€œThe department of capture fisheries can be tasked with the responsibility of managing wild fish resources while the department of aqua-culture can monitor aqua-culture production,â€ the submission reads.
NANCY SIAME, Lusaka