fish bream.jpgThe fish industry at Lake Chivero is facing collapse as poachers are destroying the breed due to unorthodox fishing practices.

 

The poachers stand accused of using nets that catch small fish in large quantities, a situation that is threatening the future of the fishery industry in near and around the capital.

 

The Chairperson of Lake Chivero Fisheries Association of Zimbabwe Mr. Peter Ndowa said members of his association could soon be out of business as they are catching an average of 15kgs of fish a day, down from around 350kgs in March this year.

 

Mr. Ndowa said the biggest contributors to the fishermen predicament are poachers, hence the need for national parks department to engage the community in curbing the illegal practices.

 

“The breed is almost finished. They are the worst enemies to the industry. We need the national parks to put neighbourhood watch committee in the area. It’s really bad and the parks department needs to boost its workforce…,” he said.

 

Other fisheries concurred with the chairperson, with others accusing the national parks authorities of accepting bribes from the fish poachers.

 

“The national park ranchers are the problem. They are not doing their job properly. I can assure you that the fisherman pay rent to ranchers in exchange of fishing slots. How can we survive in business under such circumstances,” said one disgruntled fisherman.

 

When ZBC News crew visited the lake, some fish poachers could be seen going about their business just adjacent to the spillway dam wall in broad day light, raising questions on the effectiveness of the security at the lake.

 

Stakeholders say the future of the industry can only be protected if the policy makers put stiffer penalties on poachers.