KATIMA MULILO - The annual fresh fish moratorium came into force in the Zambezi Region on Saturday, in order to conserve and allow fish to spawn without any disturbances.
This was confirmed by spokesperson of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Recourses, De Wet Siluka, who said the three months fish moratorium has been imposed from the 1st of December, and will be lifted on the 1st of March 2019.
Siluka stated that the moratorium applies to the entire Zambezi region, which includes Lake Lyambezi, Kwando, Chobe and Zambezi rivers, and all its channels. He, however, explained that the ministry does not forbid the eating of fish during this period, but only fishing activities are prohibited.
“We are not forbidding people from eating fish. People can still eat fish from ponds, and fish mongers can also still sell fish from ponds; what we are forbidding is fishing activities in the rivers, as we want to allow our fish to breed without disturbances,” he said.
Even though the moratorium is always imposed each year, getting people to comply is always a great challenge for the fisheries ministry. Last season, about 191 kg of fresh fish, and an estimated 50 kg of dry fish were confiscated during the moratorium.
While a fish guard died when he was attacked by two illegal fishermen from Zambezi that he had arrested, who later overpowered him and threw him in the water.
Siluka stressed that ensuring the moratorium is imposed should be a joint venture. He, thus, called on conservancy members, members of the police, and the traditional authorities to assist them in ensuring that the order is adhered to.
“I am appealing to all community members, especially conservancies and traditional authorities to ensure that no fishing activities are allowed in their areas,” said Siluka.
He further explained that those who will be found fishing during the closed season will be given a spot fine of N$1500 or six months imprisonment.