BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
FISH farmers have raised concern over the theft of fish from their operations, which is now threatening their businesses’ viability.
In its latest report following a meeting held recently, Livestock and Meat Advisory Council revealed that farmers were also facing difficulty in quantifying fish stolen for valuation
“At their meeting, producers noted their grave concern about the theft of fish from their operations and when reporting these incidents to the police, there is difficulty in quantifying fish stolen for valuation purposes,” the report reads in part.
“There is also need for the courts to appreciate the seriousness of fish theft, including breeding stocks, from aquaculture operations. The council is gathering information about specific cases to address the lack of provisions under existing legislation to sufficiently address theft of farmed fish as well as the lenient penalty fines,” it said.
Lmac recently revealed that as the fish farming industry was growing, there was need for accredited and certified trainers to provide expertise and practical training to fish farmers as well as bio-security requirements for fish farming, including effective pest control, regular monitoring of water quality and correct handling of fish to ensure that fish are maintained in a healthy environment for optimum production.
Zimbabwe Fish Producers’ Association (ZFPA) believes that fish production in Zimbabwe will grow significantly, with aquaculture proudly taking its place alongside the chicken, pork and beef industries as a key supplier of tasty, nutritious, home-grown protein for a growing population.
Zimbabwe has a relatively developed aquaculture and is one of the top 10 fish farming countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to ZFPA, the country’s aquaculture sector can produce 20 000 tonnes of fish, creating 10 000 direct jobs and another 10 000 indirect ones.
Currently, Zimbabwe is producing approximately 15 000 tonnes of fish per year in a number of small dams. If all the dams can be fully utilised the country has the potential to increase fish production to almost 1,5 million tonnes per year, according to experts. Some of the commercial fish farms in Zimbabwe include Lake Harvest Aquaculture (Kariba), The Bream Farm (Kariba), Mazvikadei Fish Farm, Clairmont Trout Farm, The Trout Farm and Inn on Ruparara.
Fish producers want government to introduce a 10% surtax on all fish imports entering the country to support the local fish farming industry.