The Mbala Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed concern that the extension of the fish ban will disadvantage fishermen who depend on fishing as their source of income.
Chamber President Christopher Siame said that a water body such as Lake Tanganyika is a shared entity with neighbouring countries that have not imposed a ban on their side, hence the ban on the Zambian side poses a challenge.
Our fishermen are at a disadvantage [as compared] to the other countries that are still able to fish in some of the water bodies, it is therefore important that government revisits its decision,Mr. Siame.
He added that if the ban is not lifted, it would continue to affect the availability of fish in the country and as a result lead to a hike in the price of fish.
Meanwhile, the Aquaculture Development Association (ADA) has welcomed the extended period for the annual fish ban.
Speaking with Lusaka Star, ADA Chairperson Fisho Mwale said the ban is important because it allows sustainability of the ecosystem whilst ensuring that phases of fish regeneration are allowed.
From the environmental perspective, it is important that the stakeholders and those disadvantaged for quite some time during the fish ban understand that in the long run, the ban is for the well-being of not only the fishermen but also for the species to continue to regenerate,Mr. Mwale.
He added that he feels the prolonging of the ban is associated with the adverse effects of climate change and that government must have noticed that the normal three months period has not been sufficient to achieve desired results.
We are living in difficult times where climate change has negatively impacted many natural occurrences including fish breeding,Mr. Mwale.
The ADA chairperson however noted that the ban is a difficult period for those living below the Poverty Datum Line and subsisting on fishing activities.
He advised the largely affected to find alternatives to diversify their income generating possibilities during the fish ban period.
The fish ban is a statutory requirement and an annual event that stops people from fishing so that the rivers and waterways with natural fish should be given an opportunity to let the fish breed.
Government has extended the fish ban which was supposed to end on February 28, 2021 to May 31, 2021 on major water bodies in the country.