Zimbabwe and Zambia have been urged to reduce fishing rigs operating in Lake Kariba to ensure the survival of the Fish industry.

The Technical Committee on Development and Management of the Fisheries and Aquaculture of Lake Kariba has urged the two countries to implement their 2014 agreement of reducing fishing rigs operating.

The 2014 agreement was to the effect that Zambia and Zimbabwe would reduce the number of rigs operating in the Lake.

The committee which recently met in Kariba for its 8th Technical Consultation workshop also resolved to engage the management committee comprising of permanent secretaries and ministers from the two countries ahead of their meeting scheduled for November in Zambia, to ensure that the agreement is implemented.

Speaking at the workshop, Zimbabwe’s Chairperson and Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality chief environment officer Joseph Shoko said the two countries should find ways of resolving emerging issues.

“The purpose of this meeting is to make sure there is sustainable fishing in our water bodies,” said Shoko.

“Lake Kariba is a shared resource and we are saying Zimbabwe and Zambia should take measures to ensure that our fish does not deteriorate especially considering climate change issues where deterioration can occur naturally.”

He said the major reason for the depletion of fish in the lake was the rate at which people were fishing and that there was need to look at the number of fishing rigs in use.

Fish is regarded as an integral component of food security in the country with Lake Kariba accounting for about 70 percent of fish protein.

The two countries which have over 1 500 rigs on the lake, had agreed in 2014 to reduce this in line with scientific studies that recommended the lake can only sustain a maximum of 500 rigs.

Zambia which officially has 1 076 rigs will remove 50 from the lake every year while Zimbabwe which has 399 will reduce its fleet by 13 rigs per year.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority chief ecologist Itayi Tendaupenyu said apart from reducing the number of rigs in the lake another issue was of reducing the kapenta fishing nights.

This comes amid indications that the current fishing nights are 324 000 instead of 109 000.