Overfishing threatens kapenta industry

THE kapenta industry is under threat of extinction on the Kariba lake because of lack of patrols by the Fisheries Department, according to fishermen in Sinazongwe district.

Mr George Bbabbi, a fisherman and representative of Chief Mweemba of Sinazongwe, said because of lack of control the number of vessels catching kapenta had increased while the department had failed to contain the situation.

He said the stocks of kapenta on Lake Kariba would be depleted because a lot of people were fishing without licences.

Mr Bbabbi said the number of rigs had been increasing on a daily basis and exceeded the number of those licensed by the department.

He alleged that the department was inactive because of failure to conduct patrols, as was the case in the past.

“ The kapenta industry in Sinazongwe is collapsing due to the high number of illegal fishing vessels on Lake Kariba,” he said

He said the kapenta fish industry, which was the largest employer of people in Siavonga and Sinazongwe districts in Southern Province, was threatened by illegal fishermen.

“There is no control in the kapenta industry; we are appealing to the Government to quickly respond to the cries of the people in Sinazongwe,” he said.

Mr Bbabbi said the PF Government was determined to improve the welfare of the people and that he was aware that they would respond promptly to the cries of the people.

And Mr Bbabbi urged fishing firms in Sinazongwe to improve the conditions of service for  the local people they employed so that they too could benefit from the industry.

Mr Bbabbi said he had received complaints from the local people about the poor working conditions offered by the operators.

He said commercial fishermen were producing about 60 bags per month sold at between K1, 300 and K1, 500 per 50kg bag of fish.

Mr Bbabbi threatened to write to the Government so that such bad employers were banned from the area.