REPORT: Kapenta fishing ban lifted. Government has exempted kapenta fishing in Lake Kariba from the current lockdown and set stringent measures which have to be followed to minimise spread of the Coronavirus.
Among a raft of measures was a strict monitoring and sanitisation in the kapenta value chain including limiting the number of crew members and decongestion of harbours. In a letter to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management director-general Mr Felton Mangwanya, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary Munesu Munodawafa directed that Zimparks officials facilitate resumption of fishing in the lake.
The directive follows representations by players in the fishing industry in Kariba and Binga to the National Taskforce where the Attorney-General advised that the fishing was part of the food industry.Fish from Lake Kariba accounts for about 75 percent of the country’s fish protein and the lockdown had caused consternation among people in Kariba and surrounding areas who rely on the lake for survival. By yesterday afternoon, some players were preparing to launch into the lake after a two week absence.
However, they were later recalled after venturing in for some distance into the lake amid reports that there were some loose ends that needed to be tied with the local taskforce.“The Attorney-General was duly requested to advise the meeting (National Taskforce meeting) by the chair, Honourable Vice President Kembo Mohadi, and he advised that the fishing, being part of the food industry is indeed exempted from lockdown in terms of the relevant Statutory Instrument. May you therefore instruct your officers on the ground accordingly,” said Mr Munodawafa.
However, he said there was need to observe strict precautionary measures aimed at minimising chances of transmission of the Coronavirus.
Particular attention, he said, should be given to hygiene at selling points. Some of the measure include having deliveries made to customers through overnight carriers such as Swift for markets outside Kariba.
This means that buyers will no longer be allowed to travel into Kariba to buy fish and kapenta and use private or public transport for deliveries. The development excludes locals who usually buy fresh fish for drying at home in a bid to decongest the harbours where especially women buy for resell.Kariba has around 400 boats.Fisherman Mr Eddie Chirayi welcomed the development saying the nation needed to be fed during the lockdown.
“We are most likely going to start tomorrow (Sunday) as one or two things need to be ironed out with the taskforce team. We are generally very happy to start work because matemba is food and we need to feed people during the lockdown,” said Mr Chirayi.Indigenous Kapenta Producers Association member Mr Garikai Stande implored people to follow the guidelines set out for the industry.
At least eight landing sites have been approved and selling pf fresh kapenta has been suspended with only registered companies now allowed to package the fish.All boats have been ordered to fish in their designated basins as stipulated on their permits. Failure to adhere to the provisions could result in permits being cancelled.
Source- The Herald
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