Government says it places the fisheries sub-sector high on the economic development and poverty reduction agenda of Zambia.
Agricultural and Livestock deputy minister Lackson Kazabu said this is evidenced by government focusing on small holder aquaculture development, sustainable capture fisheries management, fisheries research and marketing.
Mr. Kazabu noted that over one million people in the country were directly or indirectly involved in the fishing industry through fishing, fish processing, fish trading, transportation and boat building.
He disclosed that over the past 40 years, total fish production from natural fisheries had increased from about 40,000 to 78,000 metric tonnes annually.
And Mr. Kazabu has revealed that Zambia’s total fish consumption per annum was 156,000 metric tonnes.
He explained that considering the fish consumption figure against a total production of 98,000 metric tonnes from capture fisheries and aquaculture, there was a deficit of 58,000 metric tonnes.
Mr. Kazabu however disclosed that government had embarked on the promotion of fish farming among small scale farmers using ponds, cages and pens in order to meet the deficit.
He added that government was also promoting the conservation and sustainable management of capture fisheries.
Mr. Kazabu said this during the Committee for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture of Africa (CIFAA) meeting in Lusaka today.
Meanwhile, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Assistant Director General, Bukar Tijani noted that the objective of CIFAA was to promote the development of inland fisheries and aquaculture in Africa.
Mr. Tijani disclosed that FAO was able and willing to work with CIFAA and that it needed its consented efforts.
He urged the delegates to strengthen support by taking concrete decisions which would help in transforming the CIFAA objects into a reality in the region.
CIFAA, which was established by FAO, represents a continent-wide, regional Inland fisheries and agriculture body which works to foster and promote international cooperation in the development, management, utilization and conservation of fisheries resources of inland waters of Africa.