Fish traders in Itezhi -Tezhi district in Southern Province have complained about shortage of fish in the district which has resulted in the prices of the commodity to increase.
In an interview with ZANIS, some fish traders said the shortage has led to sardines fetching as much as K120 from about K100.
Precious Muwema, a fish trader who sells fish in Lusaka, said the fish business used to be profitable but is no longer.
She blamed the shortage on the difficulties fishermen face when catching fish.
Ms. Muwema said from the time the fishing season opened in March, there has been scarcity of Kafue breams.
According to Elizabeth Mutelo, a lack of fresh breams has forced many traders to switch to sardines (Kapenta).
“We used to have an adequate supply of breams, and the prices were reasonable, but now you cannot find that kind of fish,” Ms. Mutelo explained.
She said fish traders do not have enough to buy these days because of the restrictions imposed by Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
Another fish trader Margaret Malanga, said she had been in the business for more than three years and had never seen such a low supply from fishermen.
“In the past, we used to make a lot of money because fish was cheap and always available to buy and sell.” Mulenga explained.
“Nowadays, we make less profit, sometimes no profit at all, because it is even more expensive to buy from the fishermen,” Mulenga explained.
Meanwhile, Oscar Chanda, a fisherman explained that the scarcity of fish was due to the high cost of fishing.
Mr. Chanda said that rising fuel prices have increased the cost of fishing.
“In the past we used to sell fish at K100 per dish but now we are selling at K120,” Mr Chanda said. In the past, we could buy fuel at between K300 and K400 but now we need between K600 and K700 worth of fuel to fish,” Mr Chanda said.
He stated that fishermen pay fees to Fishermen Federation, to the council, as well as license fees amounting to K2, 000 at the Fisheries Department and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.