Lake Tanganyika fish stocks dwindle
Mpulungu, May 24, 2013, ZANIS–The Fisheries department in Mpulungu district has appealed to local fishermen to invest in aqua-culture and fish farming because of the depleting fish stocks in Lake Tanganyika.
Senior fisheries research officer Danny Sinyinza said in an interview that the fish stocks and catches have been declining due to a combination of factors including the increase in population coupled with climate change.
He said fishing on Lake Tanganyika has become very costly as fishermen now had to cover long distances to catch the fish..
”That is why these days you will find that most of these commercial fishermen have even stopped going on the lake…..they are now depending on smaller fishermen to buy fish because the returns are not as rewarding and attractive like in the past,” Sinyinza said.
He said there was no doubt that the many fishing vessels had created pressure on Lake Tanganyika adding that the only option now was to diversify into fish farming.
He expressed happiness that some companies like Great Lake Product (GLP) and Mpende Fisheries in Nsumbu had already gone into fish farming.
”On the issues of climate change we have projects like the Lake Tanganyika Integrated Management Programme (LTIMP) who have been handling issues of sedimentation, tree planting and conservation,” Sinyinza stated.
He revealed that though Lake Tanganyika had over 350 species of fish, some areas like the ornamental fish business were still under exploited.
Mr Sinyinza noted that fish was a major resource and a great supplement of animal protein that must be utilized to the fullest.
And commenting on the fishing methods employed by some fishermen, Mr Sinyinza said the department had intensified Lake patrols to deal with fishermen who were in the habit of using wrong fishing gear.
Recently, the fisheries department with the help of state police apprehended 13 fishermen for using wrong fishing methods with five having been fined while the rest are still appearing in court.
Mr Sinyinza warned that the department would arrest and prosecute any local fisherman or foreign national fishing without a permit.