The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) is proposing that government introduce fishing licences in the 2018 national budget to curb the depletion of fish stock.
“Fishing licenses for fishermen will help to control the depletion of stocks mainly caused by rampant and illegal fishing.
“The licenses will be fundamental in allowing government to systematically collect levies and create more jobs in the sector,” said JCTRA Programme Officer, Innocent Ndashe. Government is set to table its 2018 budget at the end of the month.
JCTR’s proposal formed part of the consultative process for input from stakeholders. “The licenses would be fundamental in identifying who is involved in fishing and how much they are fishing,” he said.
The annual fish catch is 75 000 tons, while total consumption is pegged at 130 000 tons. There are 9 major fisheries in Zambia: Kariba, Tanganyika, Itezhi-tezhi, Bangweulu, Mweru Luapula, Mweru wantipa, Kafue River, Zambezi River and Lukanga Swamps. Minor fisheries include Lusiwashi dam, Lower Zambezi and Chambeshi River. There are more than 400 fish species in the fisheries.
Over-fishing and unsustainable fishing methods threaten to exacerbate the situation that has led to the country’s per capita fish consumption declining to 10.3 kg/per person/annum from 12 kg.
Stakeholders previously recommended effective regulation and active monitoring, including frequent fish audits in major lakes. They also proposed that feed ingredients be zero VAT rated, that aquaculture be promoted and that capture fisheries management strategies be reviewed.