Inland Fisheries

Report of the Technical Group Meeting on Bioeconomic Modelling of the Kapenta Fisheries in Lake Kariba

Managing inland fisheries

A technical group meeting on the bioeconomic modelling of the Kapenta fisheries in Lake Kariba took place in Siavonga, Zambia, from the 14 – 18 October 2013. This Working Group was set up under the framework of the implementation of recommendations from the joint consultative biannual technical meetings between Zambia and Zimbabwe and those of the Technical Committee set up under the Memorandum of Cooperation between the two countries for the management of the Lake Kariba fisheries. The meeting was organized in two phases. The first phase was a three-day technical meeting aimed at: (i) introducing the concepts of bioeconomic modelling, (ii) presenting and validating the bioeconomic model, the data used (notably those of the 2013 Economic Survey), its assumptions, and (iii) developing different management scenarios to produce recommendations for the management of the fishery. The second phase was a two-day workshop bringing together decision-makers in which: (i) the results of the modelling and management recommendations were presented, discussed and validated and (ii) a roadmap was established to implement priority recommendations.

The results of the 2013 Economic Survey and the bioeconomic model of the Kapenta fishery show that the situation of the fishery has greatly deteriorated both biologically (overfishing) and economically (lower resource rent of the fishery and increasingly difficult for large fishing companies nowadays whose results no longer guarantee their sustainability). The situation is therefore now critical. The main causes are an excessive development of fishing capacity, the number of fishing pontoons increased from 645 in 2006 to over 1,000 in 2013 (the exact number is not known, but the 2011 Frame Survey recorded 960 fishing units) and the ensuing dramatic increase in fishing effort. Other aggravating factors are the development of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, including more unauthorized fishing vessels and the illegal trade of Kapenta at night on the lake.

Different management scenarios for various time frames were developed using the bioeconomic model and were then discussed. These scenarios included a situation where no decision would be taken (status quo) and various other options where decisions would be taken on: (i) the allocation of fishing effort according to the Memorandum of Cooperation binding the two countries and (ii) the reduction of the illegal trade of Kapenta on the lake at night. This report presents the results of each of these simulations for both the macro level of the fisheries and the micro level of the fishing enterprises (fishing pontoons).