Thursday, October 28, 2021

Gaborone Dam fishermen rub hands in glee

Local fishermen whose happy hunting waters are the Gaborone Dam wait in anticipation as sporadic downpours continue which are likely to have a positive influence on the unbanning of fishing imposed last year.

The annual ban came around to allow the the aquatic species to multiply and will be lifted on March 1, according to government authorities. 

This was a government move to save endangered species from indiscriminate harvest, largely for commercial purposes, from what it termed an “increasing number of dwindling fish species across the dams and rivers in the country”.

With the heavy downpours flooding and filling Botswana rivers and dams to satisfactory levels, the development is a source of excitement for both the local farmers and the fishing industry alike.

Currently employed by a construction company at Broadhurst, Gaborone Old Naledi resident Peter Mosesane can’t wait for the hunting season to begin.

“To wait for month end to get paid weighs heavily on me. I cannot wait for end of March any longer,” he said, as he and his friend stretched fishing net along the pavement in anticipation of the looming season.

They are searching for any holes in the fishing nets to patch in time or if impossible buy new ones.

Plying his traditional trade along the Old Lobatse Road to passing motorists, Mosesane could on a successful day pocket over P500 from his catch.

“It is a far cry from the paltry wages I will get from the construction company at the end of the month. Every day I am certain of something on the table for my kids unlike in my current job,” he said.

Mosesane and others harvest fish species ranging from barbra, kappa to brim when the season is open eking a living from what he terms “unreliable trade” but “quick to bring the food on the table occupation”.

His top earner income is brim, earning him most of the money on a busy day because of its “delicious taste perhaps”, he says.

“My customers are mostly the foreigners coming from north … the Zambians and Zimbabweans and even the white tourists who buy in bulk,” Mosesane, the father of two further said, criticising the locals for lack of appetite of brim.

“If they ever buy, it is with credit,” he pokes a joke.

But while Mosesane and his team mates could be relishing over the imminent re-opening of the hunting season at the Gaborone Dam, the same could not be said of the fishermen sharing the border rivers with neighbouring countries up in the Okavango.

While Botswana is hell-bent on securing the fish species through a temporary ban, the neighbouring countries’ fishermen continue to fish – a development that has even reached the walls of both Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and Parliament.

Contributing to the State of the Nation Address recently, Member of Parliament for Chobe Constituency Ronald Shamukuni could not suppress his disappointment as most of his constituents depend on the harvest from the Chobe river which borders Zimababwe, Zambia and Namibia.

“Fish knows no boundary, no protection laws,” he said, meaning fish flows with the water.

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