National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority this year arrested 42 Zambians for poaching fish on the Zimbabwean side of the Zambezi River.
Spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo yesterday said the latest arrest was of 31 Zambian fish poachers on November 20, near the Jota area in Binga along the Zambezi River.
She said the 31 were convicted and were still struggling to pay fines to have their eight rigs impounded by the State released.
Those arrested included five juveniles aged between 14 and 17 while the eldest was 28.
“Their arrest resulted in the confiscation of eight commercial fishing rigs they were using,” Washa-Moyo said.
“All accused persons had no identification particulars.
“The rigs belonged to Chiyafa Fishing, Jembo Jalata Fishing, Mulolo Fishing, Mass Fishing and Manyoni Fishing corporatives.”
She said 29kg of kapenta were recovered in the process and all accused persons appeared before Binga magistrate Stephen Ndlovu who warned, cautioned and released them.
“He also ordered them to pay a release fee of $4 000 for each rig to National Parks.
“They have managed to secure the release of five rigs and are yet to clear fines for the remaining three,” she said.
Washaya-Moyo said on May 29, seven Zambians were also arrested along the Zambezi River while fishing illegally and their three commercial rigs were confiscated. She said the rigs were later released after the court indicated there was no evidence to show that they were fishing on the Zimbabwean side.
“On August 20 this year, four Zambians were arrested at Sebungwe Mouth along the Zambezi River in Binga while catching kapenta fish in a prohibited breeding zone.
“A joint operation by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management and the police led to their arrest.
“Their two fishing rigs were also confiscated,” Washaya-Moyo said.
“The total number of Zambians arrested is 42 for the whole year.”
Washaya-Moyo said the authority was facing a number of challenges in its quest to police the water body, chief among them being resource constraints as boats were needed to patrol the area which stretches over 1 000 square kilometers.