Over 36 fish species are on the verge of extinction in the Kafue Flats in Monze District if the Lower Kafue Fisheries Management Plan meant to regulate fishing is not implemented soon.
The Fisheries Department has since called for the promotion of aquaculture in the district to reduce on pressure on the Kafue River as the only source of fish.
Speaking in an interview today, District Fisheries Officer, James Mukosa said besides the annual fish ban there was need for both government and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) to support small scale farmers to venture into fish farming to reduce over fishing in the Kafue basin and allow the fish to breed.
He added that lack of implementation of the Kafue Management Fisheries plan has contributed to the reduction of fish stocks as fishermen as free to use any bad fishing methods without much restraint.
Mr Mukosa expressed fear that in few years’ time all the fish species on the Kafue flats might be depleted due to lack of a robust measures put in place to allow fish to breed and multiply.
“We are facing a serious risk of all fish species depleting in the lower Kafue flats if robust measures such a Fisheries Management Plan, and promotion of aquaculture in the District among others are not implemented,” he said.
He also called on the government for resources to enable the Department to ensure effective enforcement of fish ban, and total compliance on fishing regulations.
Mr Mukosa noted there was need for intensified surveillance to ensure compliance adding that fishermen take advantage of lack of presence of the fisheries Department in the Kafue flats to contravene the Fishing regulations wantonly.
He however, said the Department managed to arrest and prosecute over 97 people for contravening the fish ban during the 2018/2019 annual fish ban running from 1 December to 1 March.