Fears have been expressed that the export of fresh fish as opposed to dried fish will disadvantaged the already marginalized communities of Okavango and Chobe.
However the government has moved ahead with the ban of dried fish export allowing the exportation of fresh fish a move that is feared that it will disadvantage a small fisherman and giving advantage to those with financial muscle over a small fisherman in the far remote corners of Lake Ngami, Okavango and Chobe. Most fishermen in the affected areas have no financial muscles to acquire storage facilities to store fresh fish for export.
In a statement the Environment, Natural Resources Conservation, Permanent Secretary, Rule Opelo indicated that the ministry is considering coming up with measures to assist with controlling and monitoring the business to ensure that it benefits the country and the citizens.
Opelo indicated that for now the country only allows the exportation of fresh fish as opposed to dried fish. Pundits argue that the governance issues and poorly ÔÇôthought out management approaches disfranchise fishers from accessing the resources in Ngamiland.
University of Botswana Okavango Research Centre, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa says the export of fresh fish as opposed to dried fish will disadvantage already marginalized fisherman.
He said that the fisherman have no financial muscles to buy equipment to keep fresh fish hence opening for fresh fish export has no value to small fisherman.
Small fisherman in Chobe, Lake Ngami and Okavango were using traditional method such as drying the fish because they are unable to purchase refrigerators to keep fish for export.
Mbaiwa has difficulty in understanding why dried fish that most of the communities that reside in the river basins rely on for their livelihood was banned.
He said that the export of fresh fish will benefit only individuals living more fishermen reeling in poverty.
In his Food Science & Technology Research article titled ‘Fisheries governance, management and marginalization in developing countries: Insights from Botswana’ University of Botswana Okavango Research Institute, Ketlhatlogile Mosepele indicated that the governance of the sector is also misaligned between food production needs and conservation imperatives.
Mosepele indicated that poor physical infra- structure due to low government support and investment has limited the optimal performance of the sector in enhancing people’ livelihoods.
In his research he recommended a realignment of fisheries legislation and governance, paradigm shift in management, increase funding for research and marketing, infrastructural development and cultural shift in fish valuation.