KATIMA MULILO – Fisheries and marine resources permanent secretary, Dr Moses Maurihungirire has called on member countries of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) to strengthen cross border participation in the management of fish resources, by involving riparian and floodplain communities.
Maurihungirire made these remarks at the official opening of a two-day information-sharing workshop of the KAZA TFCA member countries in Katima Mulilo this week.
According to him, the strong involvement of floodplain communities will reduce the risk of collapsed fisheries that would further impoverish the rural communities and food supply of local people.
He further stated that even though fisheries regulations are gazetted, getting people to comply and follow the regulation was a great challenge. He added that the unsustainable use of destructive fishing methods and the influx of fishermen from outside the region has greatly contributed to the current decline of fish resources.
“Recently we have seen a move towards the commercialisation of the resource due to the huge demand within the region, and fish are exported even as far afield as the Democratic Republic of Congo. All these factors put tremendous pressure on the resources, reducing the sustainability of the fisheries,” he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, governor of Zambezi Region Lawrence Sampofu pointed out that fisheries has long been important for local tourism and is greatly supporting the growth of the fishing sector in the country.
He added that although poaching of fish and the use of water ways is posing a major threat, the Zambezi Region has led the way in fisheries management in the country. “The Zambezi Region has initiated the first fish protection areas in Namibia at Sikunga and Impalila conservancies, with more wanting to join. In addition we reached out to our neighbours and implemented a harmonised ban on fishing with Zambia to ensure river-wide coverage,” said Sampofu.
The workshop, which is aimed at discussing and identifying key priority actions in the development of the fisheries resources in the region, is being attended by regional members of KAZA TFCA from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.