THE Parliamentary Committee on agriculture says the population growth has continued putting pressure on the country’s natural fishery.
The committee chairperson Villie Lombanya says the population of fishers at independence was reasonably small but has since multiplied exerting pressure on the natural fisheries throughout the country.
Speaking in Nchelenge yesterday during a public hearing held at the council, Mr. Lombanya said as a result the fish stocks in the natural water bodies including the Mweru-Luapula Fishery have drastically dwindled.
Mr. Lombanya said fish is the livelihood of the people of Luapula Province but because of population growth, poor fishing methods and the violation of the annual fish ban the stocks are eluding at a fast rate.
He bemoaned the rampant and indiscriminate use of mosquito nets and other destructive methods to catch fish on the Mweru-Luapula Fishery and urged the stakeholders in the fishing industry to stop the vice.
Mr. Lombanya observed that Luapula Province has produced very educated people including some parliamentarians because of income derived from the fish industry.
He was accompanied by Lufunsa MMD MP Kenneth Chipungu, Mambilima PF MP Mighty Mumba, Lufwanyama PF MP Annie Chungu, Livingstone Central PF MP Lawrence Evans, Kalabo Central UPND MP Miyutu Chinga and Mpongwe PF MP Gabriel Namulambe.
Earlier Mr. Lombanya under CAP 12 of the Laws of Zambia had conferred immunity to the people that gathered to allow for free participation in order to generate more contributions from the stakeholders.
He said the government would want to learn the role of the stakeholders and understand fully the challenges that they face in order to revamp the fishing industry in the country.
He said the government envisions a lucrative fishing industry that thrives through aquaculture and cage fish farming as opposed to the traditional fishing from the natural fisheries.