Patrols Pay Off

| June 17, 2015

Chief wildlife warden at the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) in Maun, Mr Timothy Blackbeard, says about 1 000 fish has been confiscated together with the nets belonging to illegal fishers at Lake Ngami.

DWNP suspended fishing at Lake Ngami in March this year and conducted a series of patrols with the Botswana Defense Force (BDF) and the police to curb illegal fishing. In an interview recently, Mr Blackbeard said they intensified their patrols in the past two weeks.

He noted that the current fine of P200 or two months imprisonment did not deter the illegal fishermen. The new system of patrol, he said, allowed them to cease the fishing nets valued at about P2 500, adding it might help abate the situation.

Mr Blackbeard pointed that their mission was not to stop fishing as it might be the notion but to control fishing. He said the fishing law was being reviewed to curb some of the problems experienced, adding that the fishing license will be for a year only not three years as it has been.

Furthermore, he said the issue of influx of fishers will also be looked into to allow a manageable number of people at a camp when the Lake Ngami Trust takes over.

Mr Blackbeard said they use community involvement as another strategy, noting that members of the community will know perpetrators better or recognise foreigners.

He pointed that in most cases, the perpetrators were not people who live in the periphery of the lake but those who come far and foreign countries such as from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Mr Blackbeard said three Batswana were recently caught for illegal fishing and appeared before the customary court in Sehithwa.

He said two of the offenders were sentenced to two months imprisonment while the third one opted for a magistrate court trial.

The chief wildlife warden said the fish nets and fish confiscated by the patrol team are burnt, while some fish is sold through auction at Sehithwa.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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