Reports have surfaced that the government imposed the fishing ban over Lake Ngami without first conducting an environmental study. This was revealed on Friday at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meetings.
Member of Parliament for Francistown West Ignatius Moswaane inquired as to why the decision to ban fish harvesting came about and what informed such a decision.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Elias Magosi responded by saying no study had been conducted. “We did not conduct any study. We were concerned about the environmental aspect as even the inhabitants of the areas themselves were equally disturbed,” said Magosi, adding that “the uptake of fish for export with a bunch of big trucks carrying the same outside the country made us feel it was time to take action.”
Another point of contention that Magosi highlighted was the fact that despite both locals and foreigners engaging in fishing, it was the latter who are the main beneficiaries as they end up returning to their respective countries with a huge trove of fish and without paying tax which is beneficial to Botswana.
“Such a development prompted us to suspend fishing. We have made some arrangements with our neighbouring countries we share waters to protect and conserve of the same. We will talk with them about the importance and reduction of the ecosystem,” Magosi reiterated.
The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism imposed a ban on the fishing industry on April 1st only to retract after facing strong opposition in Parliament.