One tonne fish bootleg seized

Source: One tonne fish bootleg seized | The Herald December 7, 2016

Walter Nyamukondiwa: Chinhoyi Bureau

At least four Zambians illegally camped in Zimbabwean territory have been arrested in Kariba and a tonne of fish recovered. The arrest follows joint operations and patrols by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit recently.The identity particulars of the four; two men and two women believed to be their wives, could not be established immediately. Patrols around the Kota Kota area established that there were illegal fishing camps suspected to belong to Zambian nationals. They were inspected and found to be vacant leading to further foot patrols, which found a camp tucked across Namagwaba island.

The Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit reports that skirmishes broke out but the team of rangers managed to subdue them.

“A routine patrol around the Kota Kota narrows area yielded evidence of a number of illegal fishing camps established by Zambians on the Zimbabwean mainland and islands,” reads the BHAPU website.

“A number of well-known camps were checked and found to be uninhabited but a foot patrol across Namagwaba island uncovered a new camp.”

Investigations established that the four had been camped on the island for the past three weeks. The couples were using prohibited twine nets with a combined length of about 1,2km to fish during the night.

They would catch fish indiscriminately regardless of size and specie and they were smoking and drying them when they were arrested. The fish recovered weighed about 300kg which is estimated to be around one tonne live weight.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo, confirmed the arrest of a number of illegal fishermen in Kariba. At least 200 fishermen have been arrested so far with 30 of them being Zambians.

“Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority can confirm that a number of fish poachers were arrested in the period January to date,” she said.

“Most illegal fishing activities happen during night, but the authority’s rangers always patrol the length and breadth of the lake, hence the arrests. During the day, the teams also maintain their presence as part of law enforcement.”

The arrests spanning from January to date have managed to recover 2 658kg of fish and 300kg of kapenta. At least 78 illegal boats have been confiscated and 22 fishing rigs impounded. In the latest incident, the illegal camp was destroyed while the fishermen and their wives were handed over to the police.

Their boat and the illegal nets were impounded.

Meanwhile, a Zimbabwean kapenta rig was impounded for fishing in an illegal area without a permit. Kapenta fishing is done at designated areas with a depth of more than 20m to circumvent shallow breeding areas. Such an offence attracts a fine of $20 and a further $2000 to secure the release of the rig.