Government has released over K3 million to all the ten provinces in the country for use to carry out water patrols and enforce the fish ban for the 2020 to 2021 period.
Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Permanent Secretary Benson Mwenya told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka that the idea is to ensure that the damage caused by illegal fishing is controlled and reduced at the source rather than secondary control.
Dr Mwenya said a total of 3, 479, 173 Kwacha has been released to officers that are on the ground curbing all forms of illegal fishing activities rather than just focusing on fish traders.
He said 300 people have so far been arrested across the country with a total of 4, 276 Kilograms of assorted fish confiscated and disposed by the courts law while 624 fishing nets and 97 boats have also been confiscated.
“Our only concern is that the conviction rates are still low at 10 % of the total arrests given that some of the cases are still active in the courts of law,” Dr Mwenya said.
He disclosed that Luapula province has so far recorded the highest number of arrests and fishing nets confiscated at 165 and 160 respectively while the least number of arrests have been recorded from Copper belt province with no arrests recorded at all.
The Permanent Secretary further said Lusaka province has so far recorded the second highest number of assorted nets confiscated at 144 and only eight arrests.
“We are monitoring officers in Eastern Province to concentrate on water patrols as records show that they are not focusing on curbing fishing activities but rather focusing on traders,” said Dr Mwenya.
The 2020/2021 fishing ban was launched by the Hon Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Prof. Nkandu Luo on November 30 2020 and is on until March 1, 2021.
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