Small-scale fisheries globally face many challenges that render them vulnerable to global climatic and socio-economic changes. Enhancing sustainability of small-scale fisheries is necessary for improving fisheries management and also improving availability of fish for food security and economic growth. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Government through the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry (MECTHI) launched the 10-year Lake Kariba Inshore Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) to achieve optimal and sustainable utilization of fisheries resource for the benefit of humankind whilst safeguarding the ecosystem.
Since 2021, through a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) anchored on achieving sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources of Lake Kariba, FAO and MECTHI facilitated the resuscitation of the fisheries co-management structures through research and capacity building in application of the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) to enhance resilience of small-scale fisheries. The development and launch of the FMP is one of the key outputs of this TCP demonstrating the commitment of the FAO, Government, fisheries and aquaculture stakeholders who also participated in the launch.
“FAO’s work in fisheries and aquaculture is geared towards bringing about Blue Transformation, a vision committed to building sustainability and resilience. The Fisheries Management Plan contributes to the attainment of national targets and plans set for the next 10 years to achieve sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources in Zimbabwe,” said Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa and Representative to Zimbabwe.
The FMP was developed through an extensive consultative process with fish industry captains, community members and leaders, civil society, private sector and the fishermen in all fishing zones of Lake Kariba and the Zambezi River. The process was led by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) and the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development Institute at the University of Zimbabwe. The discourse and experiences on the ground informed evidence-based interventions incorporated in the 10 year plan to ‘climate-proof’ fishers’ livelihoods and ensure that fishery-dependent communities are resilient while deriving maximum benefits from the fisheries activities set in this plan.
“The plan will assist in unlocking partnerships for activities which are crucial in attaining the objectives and desired outcomes specified in the strategy. It accords an opportunity to meet a growing demand for fish and fishery products while maintaining a sustainable Lake Kariba socio-ecological system,” said Dr. Fulton Mangwanya, ZimParks Director-General.
Aligning to Zimbabwe’s Country Programming Framework 2022-2026 priority area on sustainable management of natural resources, the fisheries management plan aligns with FAO’s Strategic Framework whose guiding thrust is the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for Better production, Better nutrition, a Better environment and a Better Life – leaving no one behind.
“The launching of this plan marks the beginning of a new era of sustainable fishing practices which will ensure that future generations will benefit from the fishery of this lake. The Lake Kariba Inshore Fishery Management Plan is part of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1) goal of ensuring food and nutrition sufficiency to all and improving the health of ecosystems,” said Honourable Minister Nqobizitha Ndhlovu in his remarks officially launching the fisheries management plan.
During the launch, stakeholders underlined the importance of joint-efforts to implement the plan taking advantage of the cross-sectoral policy linkages that already exist. The launch facilitated a ‘walk-through’ of the Plan’s objectives, principles, methodology and pillars of implementation in order to critique and adopt pragmatic activities. Acknowledging that Lake Kariba is a shared water resource with neighbouring Zambia, the launch called on learning and sharing of experiences to enhance sustainable transboundary inland fisheries management in the Zambezi river basin.
To affirm agreements set in the plan, national fisheries key stakeholders signed the Kariba Declaration, a document which asserts their commitment to implement a sustainable Lake Kariba Inshore Fisheries Management.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.