AUTHORITIES in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have released five Zambian fishermen who were arrested last year for illegal fishing on Luapula River.
Mwense district commissioner Victor Kasuba, said in an interview from Mwense yesterday that the fishermen were released on Tuesday.
Mr Kasuba said the five Zambian fishermen strayed into the DRC territorial waters on Luapula River and they were caught illegally fishing by that country’s marines.
He also said officials in Mwense district released five Zambian fishermen two weeks ago, who were caught fishing illegally on Luapula River.
“Our people must comply with the fish ban which runs up to February 28, 2014. The five Zambian fishermen who were arrested last year by Congolese officials after they were caught fishing on Luapula River have been released, they were released after paying a fine of K150 and those who were arrested on the Zambian side were also released after paying a fine of K 500,” Mr Kasuba said.
He said the fishermen were cautioned against disregarding the law.
“A 15-year-old boy is among the five Zambians released by our colleagues in Congo. This boy was arrested on Monday after he was found fishing on Congolese territorial waters. We need to desist from activities which can deplete fish stocks in our water bodies,” Mr Kasuba said.
He said fishing nets were confiscated from the fishermen and burnt in their presence.
Mr Kasuba also said Zambian authorities also convicted and deported a Congolese fisherman who was caught fishing on the Zambian side last year.
He said it is important to protect the fish industry because it has potential to contribute to the national economy.
“We have formed Village Management Committees to curb illegal fishing. The villages involved are Kapala, Lukwesa, Lubunda, Kashiba and Mulundu. We are working hard to curb illegal fishing. We have also continued sensitising our people on the dangers of fishing during the fish ban,” Mr Kasuba said.
Photo Credit: BestofZambia