Overfishing menace at Lake Kariba

Source: Overfishing menace at Lake Kariba -Newsday Zimbabwe

UNSUSTAINABLE fishing is contributing to the depletion of fishing yields in Lake Kariba, NewsDay has heard.

Speaking to journalists during  Media Institute of Southern Africa-Environmental Management Agency sponsored belated Mashonaland West World Press Freedom  commemorations in Kariba last week, fishermen chairperson Nisbert Mapfumo said overfishing was disturbing the water ecosystem, greatly reducing fish population.



“Dangerously low water levels and laws governing fishing practices in the lake are causing overfishing as fishermen compete for fishing space,“ Mapfumo said.

The emergence of pirates in the lake is not making the situation any better as fishermen lose their catch, equipment, fuel and sometimes lives, he said.

“The problems of theft by pirates in the lake are on the increase as they forcibly take fish, fishing equipment and fuel from fishermen. Sometimes fishermen lose their lives to pirates” Mapfumo added.

Early this month, a fisherman was killed by pirates after refusing to hand over his night catch.



Fishermen appealed to the government to relax laws that only allow fishermen to fish in areas 20 metres deep and 3 kilometres from the shore considering the dwindling water level.

“There is need for government to review laws governing fishing practices in the lake because of the unusual low water level” said Pedzisai Kondowe a fisherman.


 Zimbabwe and Zambia have an agreement which govern the exploitation of fish in Lake Kariba.



Last year, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority confirmed that studies showed that fish populations were depleting in Lake Kariba, with lack of rainfall reducing the algae that is at the base of the lake’s food chain.

According to research, fish harvesting has been on a decline since 1989, when a peak of 30 000 tonnes between Zambia and Zimbabwe was realised.