Fishermen in the Chobe district are up in arms over new fish protection regulations which came into effect on April 1st. Their bone of contention is mainly the new license fees which theybelieve are too high.
In a meeting addressed by David Mbanga, the secretary of Chobe Fresh and Dry Fish Association, he decried the high license fees and requested a meeting with minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama.
According to Mbanga, the P300 increase is beyond comprehension and is likely to have serious repercussions on their businesses. “We used to pay P200 for a license that ran for three years and under the new regulations, we will be expected to pay P500 for a license that runs just for a year.”
Although he said they would abide and implement the new regulations, he reiterated that they were not amused with the new regulations. He also said that restrictions on the length of fishing nets was going to put them out of business as they were now required to use a 25-metre fishing net as opposed to the traditional 150-metre net.
According to a press statement from the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, “The issuing of new permits and licenses will commence on 1st April 2016.”
Chairperson of Chobe Fresh and Dry Fish Association also expressed displeasure with the new regulations saying they are mostly applicable to dams with smaller surface areas. He said he could not make sense of the regulations as the river is almost dry.
As a gesture of goodwill, the Bio-Chobe project in liaison with UNDP will build a cold room for the Chobe Fresh and Dry Fish Association. The association will also receive larger fishing boats in a bid to encourage bulk selling.