Following government’s decision to impose a fishing ban at lake Ngami, illegal fishing has escalated, The Telegraph has learnt.
Government has since imposed a 12 month fishing ban at both Lake Ngami and Lake Xau. Reports indicate that the decision has not gone down well with some communities who are questioning the wisdom of imposing a ban since no consultations were carried out.
Sehitwa Police Station Commander Superintendent Zakes Masike has said his office is inundated with reports that some people are involved in fishing activities behind the scenes at the area.
He said because of intensified daily patrols carried out by the police, wildlife officials and members of the Botswana Defence Force, most fishermen have either abandoned fishing or have relocated to nearby Nxaraga where business is not as profitable as compared to what they used to make at Lake Ngami.
Just over the past weekend, Masike said they caught people fishing at Thollamoro settlement near Legotlhwane which is along the lake. They were fined P200 each.
“Because they are aware of the routine patrols, people now do daily walks on the banks of the lake and think they can cheat the law enforcement officers, and always lie when caught red handed that they had obtained the fish elsewhere,” he said.
Meanwhile a group of fishermen who had relocated to Chanoga expressed worry about the number of illegal fishermen amongst themselves who do not possess fishing licenses and still continue to be involved in fishing activities in spite of the ban.
Chinese nationals are amongst the many foreigners who frequent the place.
“Since the numbers of people who have multiplied at the alternative fishing site have led to congestion, clashes have become common, and people there have become uncontrollable,” said one of the residents of Chanoga village.
Their fear is that should the current situation continue, then the department of wildlife might go on to close the place, their only hope as it has been the case with Lake Ngami.