July 20, 2011
Zimbabwe's aquaculture sector undeveloped, under threat
Zimbabwe's potentially lucrative freshwater aquaculture sector is threatened by poaching, illegal fishing, and corruption, according to Garikaimose Tongowona, programme officer for Aquaculture Zimbabwe.
Tongowona said that fisheries activities have risen sharply over the years and still provide the bulk of local fish supplies, although the aquaculture sector is not among the top GDP contributors.
"The capture fisheries resources are almost stretched to the limit in present-day Zimbabwe, as shown by the massive presence of fishing cooperatives on the major lakes," Tongowona said.
He said there are more than 160 co-operatives at Lake Chivero, more than 160 at Darwendale Dam, and more than 1,000 fisheries at Lake Kariba.
The situation is made worse by the fact that there are no breeding programmes in place to replenish fast-dwindling aquatic resources, according to Tongowona.
"There are challenges of too many fishers, illegal fishing, corruption and no political willingness to develop the sector," he adds.
According to Aquaculture Zimbabwe, the country has more than 3,910 square kilometres of fresh water.
Tongowona adds that there are no local investment incentives and support schemes for the development of the fisheries sector.
There is also a need to adhere to international protocols like the Southern African Development Community (SADC) trade protocol/code of conduct for responsible fisheries, he said.
He added that to develop Zimbabwe's aquaculture sector, including the fisheries industries, there is a need for an overall legislative framework structure definition to provide the basic context in which aquaculture can operate.