Lake Ngami Trust in Race Against Time for Early Fish

| January 13, 2015

The acting coordinator of department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mr Shaft Nengu says Lake Ngami Conversation Trust is not ready to operate in the coming fishing season.

In an interview, Mr Nengu explained that the trust was not ready to operate because it had no funding and no office, whilst the fishing season starts in two months to come.

The fishing season, which stopped end of December would start beginning of March. He said the department was intending to organise a stakeholder meeting to discuss the issue and map the way forward before the start of the fishing season. “I do not think the trust would manage to function by March because it cannot function without resources,” he added.

Mr Nengu said the trust was supposed to apply for a lease, take control of the lake and also formulate bye-laws which would augment fisheries regulations in place.

Also, he pointed out that the trust had no resource user rights to manage the lake adding that they thought the trust would be given the overall rights to manage the lake but it had been realised that the leases would be issued according to activities carried at the lake.

He said they would engage Botswana Tourism Organisation to clarify the issue of resource user rights. He said a lot had to be done to mobilise the trust to work effectively.

The acting coordinator also indicated that Fisheries Division had come up with measures that would address issues experienced in the last season at the lake. Mr Nengu said they had reviewed their regulations and currently they were being finalised adding that there were a lot of changes which address concerns at the Lake.

He noted that one clause in the regulations calls for fishermen to use nets not exceeding 150m noting that currently the clause was violated as the fishermen placed many nets.

He said the clause had been changed and fishermen were expected to tag their fishing net to ensure proper implementation. The tag would indicate all the particulars of the fishing nets owner. “We have addressed the fishermen about some changes in the regulations”.

Mr Nengu had also dismissed reports by the trust chairperson that there was conflicting interest between the two bodies of fishermen and the trust. He said the trust was mandated to manage the lake while the fishermen had formed a cooperative which would facilitate marketing of their products.

He said there was no conflict of interest as the trust had nothing to do with the cooperative.

Regarding the issuance of fishing licences, Mr Nengu said his department was investigating an incident in which 14 licences were issued to some fishermen to fish at Lake Ngami during the just ended fishing season while the issuing of fishing permits at the lake were stopped in 2012.

It had been established that the licences were issued at Gumare Office and Mr Nengu said the fishermen obtained illegal licences under the pretext that they were fishing within the area.

Mr Nengu said efforts were ongoing to enforce the law on fishermen but were hampered by lesser fines as fishermen without licences were charged P200.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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