A Zambian traditional leader, alarmed by the destructive use of explosives to fish, has called on government to intervene, especially because of an increase in the use of explosives.
Chief Machiya, from Copperbelt Province, said so rampant is the use of explosives that he feared fish stocks will be completely depleted in the Kafue River which runs through his chiefdom.
“Government must come in and curb this vice so that the fish can be allowed to grow and breed,” Chief Machiya said.
The rampant use of explosives to fish recently made headlines when a fisherman died after the dynamite he was using, accidentally exploded.
According to industry reports, the harmful practice contributes to Zambia’s 40 000 ton fish deficit. Annual demand is estimated at 120 000 tons. Fishing also contributes a mere 1% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Chief Machiya said punitive measures must be brought against fishermen who engage in harmful fishing methods and fail to observe the annual ban to allow for breeding.
“There is a need to protect our natural resources, like fish, and we must ensure the right fishing methods are used,” he said.
A recent WWF report estimates destructive fishing methods represent more than 40 of fish catches. In many cases the fish caught are fingerlings, creating dire consequences for sustainable marine life.