Fisheries management by the Department of Fisheries in Zambia is primarily focused on effort regulation. A number of nation wide fisheries regulations have been gazetted and one of the duties of the Department is to enforce them.
Regulations currently in place are:
- a closed fishing season from the first of December to the first of March. It is not allowed to fish in this period and transport of fish is prohibited as well.
- mesh size restrictions. In the Bangweulu fishery mesh sizes smaller than 51 mm (2 in) stretched mesh are prohibited.
- fishing gear and method restrictions. All forms of active fishing are prohibited, this includes the popular kutumpula fishing and seine netting. Although not explicitly mentioned in the fisheries act, fishing weirs are generally regarded as illegal gears as well.
- industrial fishing is not allowed in the Bangweulu fishery.
Furthermore Bangweulu is declared an open access fishery. This means that everybody with a fishing licence and legal fishing gear is free to enter the fishery.
In practice however, these regulations are hardly followed by the fishers who disagree with most of them. Fishermen claim that catches of most of the small species as Tilapia sparmanii, Barbus paludinosus, Petrocphalus catastoma and others, are not economically viable if the regulations were to be followed (Chanda, 1998). On the other hand the Department has neither the means nor the manpower to enforce the regulations other than through sporadic patrols. Only during the closed season the transport of fish from the Bangweulu fishery to the outlet markets is controlled to some extent, and with that possibly the levels of fishing effort during that period.