Under its programme to promote marine and inland aquaculture, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources will ensure that these resources are used optimally to increase income generation, enhance food security and reduce poverty.
The responsible utilisation of marine and freshwater resources will create employment, improve rural livelihood and increase investment. This is according Fisheries Minister Bernhard Esau, who explained that his ministry is committed to the continuous monitoring of catches in order to protect and sustainably manage marine and freshwater resources.
One the most important aims of the programme is to sustainably manage the Zambezi, Kwando, Kavango, Kunene and Orange rivers. Esau said the ministry has not been able to operate within the limits of allocated funds over the past two years and this led to the cancellation of important activities (including scientific research) in the regions.
The closing of the Zambezi system for fishing during the crucial fish breeding season will become an annual event to allow fish populations to recover to sustainable levels. He said his ministry worked tirelessly over the past couple of years towards the creation of fish-protected areas in the Zambezi River system, in consultation with traditional authorities and registered conservancies in the area.
AII these efforts were rewarded with the announcement by Government Gazette of the Sikunga and Kasaya channels as fish-protected areas in those conservancies. He believes this will allow the conservancies to protect their own fishery resources from external and unauthorised exploitation.
On aquaculture Esau said most of the funds allocated last year to the centres responsible for the resources went into fingerling production, training, extension services, fish production and research. He said funds will be needed to continue with aquaculture activities at all the centres mentioned above, as well as for the new hatchery in the Zambezi Region and other new projects.