Over 36 fish species are on the verge of extinction in the Kafue Flats in Monze District of Southern province if the Lower Kafue Fisheries Management Plan meant to regulate fishing is not implemented soon.
The Fisheries Department has since called for the promotion of aquaculture in the district to reduce on pressure on the Kafue River as the only source of fish.
In a statement made available to Lusaka Star, District Fisheries Officer, James Mukosa said besides the annual fish ban, there was need for both government and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) to support small scale farmers to venture into fish farming to reduce over fishing in the Kafue basin and allow the fish to breed.
He added that lack of implementation of the Kafue Management Fisheries plan has contributed to the reduction of fish stocks as fishermen are free to use any bad fishing methods without much restrictions.
Mr Mukosa expressed fear that in a few years’ time all the fish species on the Kafue flats might be depleted due to lack of robust measures put in place to allow fish to breed.
“We are facing a serious risk of all fish species depleting in the lower Kafue flats if robust measures such a Fisheries Management Plan, and promotion of aquaculture in the District among others are not implemented,” said Mr.Mukosa.
He also called on the government to provide resources that would enable the Department to ensure effective enforcement of the fish ban and total compliance on fishing methods in the locality.
Mr Mukosa said there was a need for intensified surveillance to ensure compliance adding that fishermen take advantage of the lack of presence of the fisheries officers in the Kafue flats to contravene the fishing regulations wantonly.