Letter to the Editor

What plans has Government put in place to cushion extended fish ban?

Dear editor,
I WISH to comment on the story published in your paper of January 28, 2020 where Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Nkandu Luo is quoted to have said Government is working on a Statutory Instrument to increase the fish ban from the current three to six months.
As a native of the Bangweulu Swamps, Lunga in particular, with most of the family members surviving on fish, I find this move to be against the interests of the people who depend solely on fishing for their livelihood.
Already, the three-month ban is an economic nightmare for them, most of whom cannot even tell the real impact of the ban.
While we appreciate the intentions of Government, we cannot quite tell, in the absence of empirical statistics, the positive impact the ban has on the fish population. What are the quantities of fish in concerned water bodies before and after the ban? Does anybody really know?
Secondly, bearing in mind that fishing is the source of income, not only for fishermen, but fish traders around the Copperbelt, what mitigation plans has Government put in place to cushion the negative effects of this move? Will Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit be able to contend with the results of these prolonged bans?
I would agree if the minister’s efforts were directed at controlling the negative fishing methods such as using mosquito nets and weirs than prolonged fish bans which will change, in my opinion, nothing but shackle people to untold misery.
I will appreciate if these concerns were published in your newspaper.

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