BY OBERT SIAMILANDU
The Kapenta Producers Association (KPA) has bemoaned low kapenta catches in Lake Kariba against increased demand.
Association chairperson Nesbert Mapfumo said the sector had of late experienced low catches due to various factors such as over-fishing, climate change and turbid water.
Normal kapenta catches in Lake Kariba in the 1990s used to be between five to 15 trays per vessel, but this has decreased.
“Even though product demand remains high, producers are experiencing low catches of mostly one or half a tray per vessel and this has been a result of factors such as turbid water which makes it difficult for light to penetrate in water, climate change and over-fishing.
“The huge number of fishing vessels in Lake Kariba from both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides has also led to a decrease in catches,” he said.
Mapfumo said the COVID-19-induced lockdown had presented opportunities for the kapenta players after government exempted the fishing industry from the current level four movement restrictions.
“Government presented us with good opportunities after exempting us from the current lockdown. The fact that we are an essential sector, we continue feeding the nation,” Mapfumo added.
In 2020, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority stopped the issuance of fishing permits to curb the depletion of kapenta.
The maximum fishing rigs allowed in Lake Kariba should be 500. Out of this, 275 should operate on the Zimbabwean side, while 225 should operate on the Zambian side. But currently, the lake houses more than 1 500 fishing vessels.
On the Zimbabwean side, Lake Kariba is divided into five hydrological basins — basin one (Mlibizi), basin two (Binga), basin three (Sengwa), basin four (Bumi/Chalala) and basin five (Sanyati).
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