Tuesday, 24 March 2015

PMRC Urges Government To Enhance Management Of Fisheries

Bernadette Deka
Fish, consumed as food and a source of protein, is a very important part of many Zambians’
livelihood. Zambia has 9 major fisheries in Kariba, Tanganyika, Itezhi-tezhi, Bangweulu, lake Mweru, Mweru-wantipa, Kafue River, Zambezi River and Lukanga. In 2007 the fisheries sub-sector accounted for 1% of Zambia’s GDP, which amounted to US$109 million.

This means that the Fishing sub-sector has the potential to contribute to Zambia’s economic development. The Fisheries Act of 1974 under the Laws of Zambia was enacted to enable Government to regulate the Fisheries Sector. This Act was amended, introducing the Fisheries (Amendment) Act of 2007. The amendment was intended to facilitate for improved community involvement in the management of fisheries and promote development of the aquaculture sector (Fish farming). 

The Ministry Agriculture and Livestock through the Act is mandated to impose a Fishing Ban and this is done on annual basis to allow for the fish to breed and also regulate fish population in the water bodies. The Annual Fishing Ban in Zambia spans from 1st December to 28th February the following year. The Fish Ban was introduced to specifically protect the breeding of the commercially preferred species (Tilapia species) whose breeding peaks during this period. 

During the 2014-2015 Fish Ban, PMRC Researchers Miselo Bwalya and Chileshe Chaunga carried out field research in Nchelenge, Mansa and Samfya districts of Zambia. The findings of the research revealed two major challenges and these are: 

1. That the sector faces various administrative challenges which include inadequate funding and inadequate staffing. 

2. The sector also lacks of constitutional capacity to enforce the Fish ban. The fisheries extension officers do not have the capacity to enforce the fish ban.

Recommendations/Way Forward 

PMRC urges the Government to: 

1. Increase human and financial resources to the Department of Fisheries. This will enable the
Department to effectively carry out the implementation of the Fish Ban as well as their other core activities.

2. Actively engage with Traditional leaders in the management of Fisheries located in rural areas and around chiefdoms. Traditional Leaders play an important role in community sensitization and behavioural change of people in rural areas. 

A fisherman casts his net
3. Set up a division within the Department of Fisheries that will be tasked with the enforcement of the law pertaining to Fisheries. This division will ensure effective enforcement.

Executive Director
Policy Monitoring and Research Center

Monday 23rd March, 2015

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