Alarmingly low numbers of fish have caused Zimbabwe to suspend all registration of new fishing permits for Lake Kariba. This decision has been made alongside ZimParks for the sustainability and management of kapenta.
Kapenta is a common fish found in Lake Kariba. The lake supplies around 20 million kilograms of fish per year, providing a large amount of food and trade for both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The current number of registered fishing rigs currently triples a sustainable limit of 500. “This has led to overfishing of the resources,” said Mr. Farawo, ZimParks spokesperson.
While a suspension will stop the rig numbers from increasing, Kapenta Workers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr. Rhodes Madyira says there needs to be more action towards the licenses that are already issued. License holders lease their rigs for a lower cost than a new license would cost. This allows overfishing to happen regardless of the number of rigs.
ZimParks has implemented a 10-day full moon stoppage and a ban on monofilament fishing nets. This time would allow the kapenta population to recover whilst the ban on nets will reduce the rate of fish caught.
The suspension of fishing permits will continue until the number of rigs has been reduced to a sustainable number of 500.