Over-fishing and unsustainable fishing methods have led to the decline of Zambian fish stocks according to a recent report released by the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI). Falling fish stocks are directly related to a decline in the per capita fish consumption, which has dropped from 12kg/person/annum to 10,3kg/person/annum.
The report stated that an increase in demand had put pressure on local fishermen (and women), to the extent that they used environmentally unsound methods to capture fish.
Fish makes up 53.4% of total animal protein in the Zambian diet. The annual fish catch is 75 000 tons, while total consumption has been pegged at 130 000 tons.
IAPRI called for specific measures to curb bad fishing practices and help increase the fish population.
Researchers recommended effective regulation and active monitoring, including frequent fish audits in major lakes. The report also proposed that feed ingredients be zero vat rated, that aquaculture be promoted and that capture fisheries management strategies be reviewed.
IAPRI advocated education and encouragement of stakeholder participation at all levels.
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.