Mmegi Online :: BCP plans to resolve fishing ban
Last Updated
Thursday 18 January 2018, 13:00 pm.
BCP plans to resolve fishing ban

FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) deputy leader, Kesitegile Gobotswang said that they are going to intervene in a protracted battle with the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resource Conversation and Tourism over a fishing ban at Lake Ngami.
By Lesedi Mkhutshwa Wed 21 Jun 2017, 17:39 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BCP plans to resolve fishing ban

When responding to a questionnaire send by this publication, Gobotswang said that in their own view, the responsible minister must withdraw the fishing moratorium and offer unconditional apology to the affected local fish traders. 

Gobotswang said that the decision came after a delegation representing desperate fish traders made an appeal to BCP leadership when they were in Maun on party assignment for them to intervene over the fish prohibition at Lake Ngami.

He said that the meeting took place by Ema Reje shopping complex where some of the trucks loaded with dried fish have been grounded since March.

BCP deputy leader stated that during the meeting it was revealed that about 40 local fish traders or exporters mainly women and close to 20 truck drivers and their crew have been affected by the fishing ban.  Moreover he said that the government must compensate fish traders or exporters as well as truck drivers for the huge financial losses they incurred as a result of the moratorium. 

He stated that the government is out of order and is being tyrannical in dealing with poverty-stricken women who are toiling to make ends meet. He said that they are still going to table the issue before the party executive committee and pursue the matter in Parliament. BCP deputy leader revealed that if the matter is not taken care of, they would report the issue to the Ombudsman. 

Gobotswang said that fishers had the necessary documentation and eventually started fishing when the 2017 season began and fish was dried as usual in readiness to be transported to Zambia. He said that the ministry then unexpectedly slapped the traders with a fishing moratorium for the 2017-fishing season on April 2017.

He indicated that the situation where the trucks full of dried fish are parked is deplorable since the fish is beginning to go rot and releasing a terrible smell. He said that traders are


already feeling the pinch of the ban, as they cannot sell rotten fish.

Gobotswang disclosed that they learnt that already officials from the Department of Environmental Health, Ministry of Health and Wellness have frequently visited the site since they are concerned about the situation that poses a health hazard.

He further said that some of the truck drivers and crew are stranded in Kazungula with the hope of extending their stay in the country. Gobotswang said that they were informed that the remaining drivers are still stuck in Maun because they cannot leave their trucks and cargo unattended.

He said that they were also reliably briefed that some of the fish traders and crew have already overstayed because they do not have money to travel to Kazungula. “

The story narrated to us really horrified us. We could not belief that this was happening in Botswana. Obviously, the government is deliberately taking advantage of the weak and economically marginalised to deprive them a crucial source of livelihood,” he said. He added that such decision is also an abuse of public office on the part of the minister concerned because the fishing ban should not have been applied retrospectively.

He said the affected fishermen and women have the required fishing permit and documents from Lake Ngami Conservation Trust and a Commercial Fishing Licence from the Department of Wildlife and National parks. “We ascertained that indeed the affected persons possessed all valid permits and licences.

We even learnt that dried fish from Lake Ngami has a lucrative market in Zambia,” he said. In March this year the government issued a statutory notice banning export of dried fish for a period of 12 months. It was said that the lifting of the ban would depend on when the government will compete the fish census and a review of how Batswana will effectively benefit from the dry fish export trade.



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