|INFORMATION ON FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA|
LOCATION OF MAIN LANDING PLACES
Lake Mweru-wa-Ntipa lies
to the west of the southern tip of
Lake Mweru Luapula is situated to the west of Lake Mweru-wa-Ntipa, straddling the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It has historically been an important commercial fishing area because of the strong markets for fish in the nearby Copperbelt and Shaba Province (DRC) mining districts. The most recent available information indicates that between 6 000 to 8 000 fishers are active in Zambian waters, operating between 4 000 to 6 000 smallcraft. Reliable production figures for recent years are not available in FAO records.
Bangweulu Lakes/Swamps. Landing sites are widely dispersed. Annual production the entire complex in recent years is estimated at around 9 000 – 10 000 mt. Recent statistics on fisher and fishing craft numbers are not available in FAO files. In the mid-1980s the Zambian Department of Fisheries estimated the number of fishers at around 7 700, and of canoes at around 4 700.
The Government of Zambia has recently undertaken a major review of policies and objectives in connection with the Agriculture Investment Programme. New policies identified under the Fisheries Development Sub-Programme emphasise sectoral growth consistent with rational management practices. Major policy elements highlight:
legislation and management measures
The Fisheries Act, No. 21 of 1974 serves as the principal legal instrument governing development and control of the national fisheries sector. The Act empowers the Minister (and, through the Minister, the Director of DOF) to employ the following basic management measures:
Country-wide measures that actually have been taken under authority of the Fisheries Act include:
Summary of main fisheries regulations
The basic content of fisheries regulations has been reviewed above. Relevant acts and statutory instruments are listed below, with the caveat that new legislation is pending:
Management status of major fisheries
Information available in FAO records relating to specific management measures for the major fishing areas is summarised below.
measures applied for the management of the Zambian sector fisheries
include prohibition of monofilament net of a mesh size less than 120mm
and a general net mesh size restriction of not less than 10mm. Seine/draw
nets and gillnets are allowed. A restricted fishing zone exists along
the shoreline of
Lake Mweru-wa-Ntipa has
been subjected to heavy fishing pressure in recent decades. Target species
include tilapia or bream (Oreochromis
macrochir), various catfish, and the small pelagic clupeid Poecilothrissa moeruensis known as ‘chisense.’
Decreasing CPUE has been accompanied by increased use of smaller mesh
sizes, beach seines, and the kutumpula
method of scaring fish into stationary net walls, despite regulations
to the contrary.
Measures specific to the Mweru/Luapula complex include the December through February closed season, declaration of permanently closed areas around the mouths of the Luapula and Kalunwishi Rivers (both considered major breeding areas), prohibition of gillnet mesh sizes of less than 51 mm and monofilament net mesh size of less than 120mm, and prohibition of seine or draw nets, except for chisense fishing. The fisheries have deteriorated to an alarming degree over the last decade due to several factors. The local DOF office lacks sufficient funds and staff to conduct adequate patrols, and at the same time there has been a substantial increase in the population of fishers, many of whom have settled in permanent camps either close to or actually within the closed areas. Use of active fishing (kutumpula) and other illegal techniques and gear is rampant, and considerable opposition and outright hostility towards regulatory measures and DOF staff exists within local settlements. In addition, the fisheries on the DRC side have for some years been out of control and overexploited, owing to civil strife in that country. This has exercerbated overfishing pressures within the Zambian sector.
Bangweulu Lakes/Swamps. Some 25 species of fish are of commercial interest. Chisense fishing has developed into a major activity in recent years, in conjunction with the depletion of the more valuable fish stocks. Management tools include a prohibition of seines and draw nets, and net mesh size regulation (gillnets not less than 51mm, monofilament nets not less than 120 mm). Despite their prohibition, beach seines are reported to be in widespread use. Infrastructure is weak throughout this extensive fishery area and local DOF staff, subject to the usual budgetary and operating constraints, are not in a position to effectively monitor or enforce regulation compliance.
Lake Kariba has witnessed a substantial growth of fishing activity over the last two decades, particularly with regard to the kapenta (Limnothrissa miodon) fishery, after the species was introduced in 1968. Other commericially important target species include tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus), mormyrids, and tilapias. The small-scale fishery is largely unmechanised and based primarily on the use of gillnets deployed from dugout canoes along inshore areas. The commercial ‘semi-industrial’ kapenta fishery involves motorised pontoon rigs equipped with lamps and ring nets. Kariba is prone to the same management problems common to the other major commercial fishing areas. DOF staff, hampered by budget shortages and weak operational capability, have not been able effectively to monitor and enforce regulation compliance. The fisheries of the reservoir are subject to the general set management tools authorised under the Fisheries Act (commercial fishing area licensing requirements, technical restrictions and prohibitions). Technical regulatory measures specific to the Zambian fisheries of Lake Kariba include prohibitions on: a) seine and draw nets of any mesh size; b) gillnets of less than 76mm mesh size; c) monofilament nets of less than 120mm mesh size; and d) kapenta nets of less than 8mm mesh size.
A new approach to management based on strong community involvement (co-management or community-based management) was initiated in the early 1990s through the SADC project (Management of the Lake Kariba Inshore Fisheries Zambia) in consultation with local and traditional authorities, fishers, DOF and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Basic elements of the scheme include: a) relocation, regrouping and organisation of dispersed fisher camps into a few designated places; b) formation of Village Management Committees (VMCs); c) division of the shoreline and adjacent waters into zones; and d) establishment of Zonal Committees chaired by traditional Chiefs. Functions of VMCs are primarily directed at implementing an integrated community-based approach to manage aquatic resources in the lake, enforcing fisheries regulations and collecting license fees. Zonal Committees supervise, assist and coordinate the work of VMCs. Zonal Committees are in turn supervised by a Fishery Management Board for the fishery area. This approach reportedly is to be expanded into other fishery areas, under provisions to be framed into the new draft fisheries bill now being considered.
The Zambezi River drainage encompasses four declared commercial fishing areas – viz.: Kafue, Lukanga Swamp, Lusiwasi, and Upper Zambezi. Catches in the swamp and floodplain areas are comprised mainly of tilapia and Alestes spp. The main rivers also provide significant catches of tigerfish. All of the standard set of management measures laid out under authority of the Fisheries Act apply (commercial fishing area licensing requirements, technical restrictions and prohibitions). Production from the Kafue Flats area has been adversely affected by dam construction, which has altered the natural flooding regime, and by persistently heavy fishing pressure. In recent years the situation has deteriorated further by the spread of water hyacinth along the Kafue.
No specific regulations are currently in place for the management of aquaculture, although provisions for their establishment are made under the current Fisheries Act. Existing legislation also places prohibitions on introduction of non-native species and import of fish without authorisation. The new Fisheries Bill (Draft) under consideration establishes a regime for the control and management of fish farming.
Investment in fisheries
The total number of artisanal and traditional fishing smallcraft active in Zambia can be estimated at around 21 000, and of industrial units (purse seiners and kapenta rigs) at about 200. Based on indicative average capital investment values for the early 1990s (the latest period for which information is available) of US$650 for traditional and artisanal canoes (typically equipped with gillnets or boat seine nets or used as light boats) and US$20 000 for industrial purse seiners and kapenta rigs, it can very roughly reckoned that private investment in the Zambian fisheries harvest sector amounted at that time to some US$ 17.7 million. Information on other dimensions of investment in the Zambian fisheries sector, whether private or public, such as landing site support facilities and other infrastructure, processing and market buildings and plant, Government administrative and research offices, etc., has not been compiled.
Zambia presently (1997 figures) hosts a population of 9.4 million inhabitants, and has an average annual growth rate of 2.7%. Present annual per caput supply of fish within Zambia is estimated at 7.3 kg. At its current rate of growth the national population will nearly double (to 18.3 million inhabitants) over the next 25 years. Assuming no marked increase in supply from capture fisheries production, aquaculture, or imports, this will obviously result in a halving of present per caput fish supplies.
Organisational structure of National Fisheries Authority
The national fisheries institutional framework is reportedly undergoing substantial revision, including possible changes that will amalgamate individual departments within the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other arrangements proposed in recently drafted legislation. At present the Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries is headed by a Director, supported by two Assistant Directors for Fisheries and Aquaculture respectively. Departmental sub-divisions include Fisheries Research, Aquaculture Research, Fisheries Management, Aquaculture Extension and Development, and a Training Branch. The basic structure of administration is diagrammed below.