Illegal fishing methods worry Nchelenge authorities

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—Fisheries authorities in Nchelenge district of Luapula province say the rampant use of illegal fishing gears is frustrating the sustainable management of the fishery.

District Fisheries Research Officer, Masiliso Phiri, said fishers in the area have continued using illegal fishing gears with impunity and have no regard for the law.

Ms Phiri says the lawlessness that is being exhibited by the fishers, especially the illegal settlers in the government-gazetted fish breeding areas of Potolo, Kashilu, Kanakashi, Mupitwa and Mifimbo, is an assault on the prudent management of the fish resource.

She complained that a combined team of Village Fisheries Management Committees (VFMCs), police officers and officers from the Department of Fisheries (DOF) were pelted with stones at Kanakashi during routine operations yesterday.

In an interview with ZANIS today Ms Phiri said the combined patrol team was forced to abandon their work at Kanakashi because of the unruly conduct of the fishers.

“The patrol team was forced to abandon what they were doing yesterday as stones and other objects were thrown at the officers by the ungrateful fishers,” she said.

However, Ms Phiri disclosed that nine illegal fishing nets, five mosquito nets, seven heaps of ropes and five sticks used during fishing were confiscated and burnt during the operation.

She said 12 seine nets, six ropes, two boats, six paddling sticks and 32 kg of fresh fish were also confiscated during the same operation.

Ms Phiri said the fish has since been disposed of by the court order and added that the other confiscated items will be destroyed according to the provisions of the law.