Artisanal fishers improve their skills in Zambia thanks to ECOFISH programme, technically supported by Incatema

16 September, 2022

More than 2,400 artisanal fishers from seven districts in Kafue and Luangwa regions have received training through ActionAid Zambia to improve their fishing skills as part of ECOFISH programme, financed by the European Union with the technical support from INCATEMA Consulting & Engineering, as we mentioned here. This training allowed fishers to acquire various skills such as marketing, leadership, fisheries politics and regulation, fisheries sustainable management, fisheries-agriculture integration as well as postharvest value adding strategies.

This way, the training has benefited artisanal fishers as much as their surrounding communities, allowing the first to know better fisheries regulations and get licenses to practice fisheries legally.

Fishers have asked their fellow colleagues to follow their example and comply with the laws fighting against illegal, unregulated and unreported fisheries (IUU). Some of them even asked for legitimate access to fishing zones excluded by those who own the land near the riverbeds, implying a substantial progress towards preserving biodiversity and guaranteeing food security in the region.

Knowing fisheries rules, key to respect closures and increase the number of licenses

Artisanal fisheries could understand as well the importance to allow fish to reproduce during annual closure. In fact, several members from fisheries committees are expanding a community sensitization programme on the importance to respect fisheries rules. As a result, more than 500 fishers from Chanyanya that used to fish illegally have asked for their license. This resulted in an increased number of registered applications, facilitating fisheries control in the region.

Training sessions have allowed improving artisanal fishers’ relationships with the Department of Fisheries. Furthermore, they brought to light the need to reinforce said relationships, particularly when it comes to effectively applying the law. As an example, fisheries committees have urged the department to act promptly against offenders when they are reported. This facilitates, once again, fight against IUU fisheries.

Fisheries training, a lever for a sustainable future

Fisheries communities are committed to take action and develop appropriate structured solutions to face present challenges. Among them, we point out the formal transition from fisheries camps to multipurpose cooperatives and facilitating the provision of financing and business development services by interested stakeholders such as Zambia Development Agency and Zambia Cold Storage.

Most fisheries camps have submitted applications to the District Development Fund to support fishing companies, as a sample of their commitment with local authorities. Likewise, the district fisheries committee has addressed the Department of Fisheries to reinforce patrols during the closure period.