Fish conservation reduces poverty in Mwandi

Zambia Daily Mail
2 February 2015

GIVEN the low levels of employment and low agricultural yields in Mwandi district, overfishing is threatening fish stocks in the upper Zambezi River and it is feared the problem may in the long term wipe out aquatic animals.

Fish is a source of livelihood for about 28,000 households along the Barotse flood plains of the Zambezi River, which is endowed with an estimated 122 fish species.

Small-scale farmers, who live along the upper Zambezi River basin, mainly rely on fishing for a living.

Over-dependence on fishing by the people in the area has also resulted in over-fishing to the point of almost depleting fish stocks.

To help conserve biodiversity in the Zambezi River, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), a non-governmental organisation, has partnered with the Inyambo Community Development Trust (ICDT) to preserve aquatic life and also improve livelihoods.

AWF Kazungula landscape director Nasson Tembo said fish stocks were being depleted due to unsustainable fish harvest methods using illegal fishing kits. Illegal fishing is propelled by people’s desire to meet household needs.

Restocking fish stocks in water bodies is crucial to safeguarding food security. Therefore, AWF, with support from the United States government through Sustainable, Conservation Approaches in Priority Ecosystems (SCAPES), is promoting community participation in fisheries management.

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