Fresh fish price soars in Zambezi

21 Dec 2015 18:30pm
KATIMA MULILO, 21 DEC (NAMPA) – With the halting of all fishing activities in rivers and lakes in the Zambezi Region, the price of freshwater bream has soared.
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau announced last Thursday that fishing activities here have been halted to allow fish stocks there to increase.
Fishmongers who Nampa spoke to on Monday at the Katima Mulilo open markets said they increased the price of the limited fresh fish they still have in stock because the ministry’s announcement has left them in a financial predicament.
When this news agency visited the fish stalls, only dried fish was available. The price of bream has increased from the normal N.dollars 20 to N.dollars 30 to N.dollars 50 to N.dollars 70.
The fishmongers however said they conceal their stock, which they bought in excess when news of the ban on fishing became public, from the fishing inspectors who are patrolling the area.
“Many of us still have some fresh bream which we bought in excess before the closure was imposed. We are not allowed to sell this fish at the local markets as we might face arrest. This is also why we have increased our price for buyers who are buying from our homes,” one of the vendors only identified as Kachana said.
Another fishmonger, who asked not to be named, said she also sells bream from her house at an increased price because fresh fish sells faster than the dried fish currently being sold at the local market.
“Any fish seller here at the market will tell you that relying on the sales of dried fish alone, you will not generate as much money as you would with bream. This is why many of us bought enough bream to sell to private clients,” she said.
Esau last week explained that the decision to close off all fishing activities, except for recreational angling, is to allow for improved management of fisheries resources which are being depleted in the Zambezi River due to overfishing.
The ban on fishing came into effect on 01 December 2015 and will only end on 28 February 2016.
The Sikunga channel, which falls under Sikunga Conservancy in Kalimbeza area, and Kasaya channel situated in Impalila Conservancy, are now fisheries reserves. The conservancies identified the need to protect the fish stocks in the two channels.