Fish traders in Kalabo District of Western Province yesterday staged a peaceful demonstration against the extension of the annual fishing ban from 28th March to 30th April.
The over one hundred traders who matched to the office of the District Commissioner told ZANIS that Government must consider lifting the fishing ban in order to alleviate household poverty.
One of the traders Pelekelo Chalula noted that fishing is the main source of livelihood in the area.
Ms. Chalula said proceeds from fish trade are used to enhance household economy, send children to school, look after the vulnerable and strengthen family ties.
Another trader, Oliver Mafo lamented that floods have ravaged crop fields forcing some farmers to venture into fish trade in order to fend for their families.
Mr. Mafo noted that extending the fishing ban had potential to promote illegal activities such as poaching as a way of earning income.
A youthful trader, Namangolwa Kahilu, observed that fishing is a major source of employment for many unemployed youths and that those in the industry have already purchased fishing nets in readiness for the venture.
Meanwhile, Malilo Chikeba argued that extending the fish ban has potential to worsen her HIV positive status because she relies on fish protein to improve her health.
The traders have since appealed to Government to allow them to locally fish and trade the commodity within the district as opposed to being subjected to the Cholera epidemic affecting urban areas.
And justifying the protest, Luanginga Ward Councilor Francis Mungomba likened the area’s fishing sector to a mine that offers employment to many local people.
And Kalabo District Commissioner Fridah Luhila says Government has taken note of the concerns raised by fish traders.
Mrs. Luhila told ZANIS in an interview that Government will consult key stakeholders before responding to the traders’ concerns.