Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Fish trade booms in Maun despite ban

With Batswana having secured a lucrative fish market in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and other neighboring countries, Maun police  say they are still unconvinced that the many stacks of fish leaving Maun to these areas daily were not obtained from Lake Ngami which has been declared a no-go zone for fishermen.

Nevertheless ever since the closure of Lake Ngami, fishermen have been allowed and given options to fish at other designated places, amongst them Chanoga and Nxaraga areas which are also known to have good fish. But still there have been recorded cases whereby people still steal fish from the lake, leading to deaths as a result of drowning.

Although they could not rule out the possibility of illegal fishing at ungazzeted points, Maun Station Commander Superintendent Peter Gochela told The Telegraph that they are also challenged as they do not have the expertise to distinguish between fish obtained from the lake and those obtained elsewhere. 

“We are very much concerned though because of recent, rivers and water points in and around Maun had either dried up or had little water, not enough to contain fish,” he said.

 “But despite all this, we could still see people with large volumes of fish. The other challenge is that we cannot charge people with unlawful possession of fish. The only offence is when they fish at undesignated areas.” 

Quizzed on how they manage the exportation as well as influx of foreigners coming in to buy both fresh and dried fish in Maun, Gochela said there is no law that prevents people from dealing in fish sales, even when it means doing so across the boarders as long as right procedures of exportation are followed. In the meantime, he said they are busy monitoring Maun and its policing area to try and curb illegal fishing. He confirmed that ever since the closing of the fishing season, they have never had any reports concerning illegal fishing. Should there be any, he said, it will be easy for them to arrest such people, particularly when they find them selling fresh fish. The fishing season has been halted from December 31st to the 1st of March 2016 to allow for breeding season.

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.