Politics & General News

Risky fish poaching villagers dice with death

Onward Sibanda (41) walks an estimated two kilometres distance almost daily from Mpofu village to Lupane shopping centre and nearby residential suburbs where he sells fresh fish to local residents.A bucket of fish earns him between US$25 and US$30 depending on the size of the fish. “We have no fixed prices as some customers negotiate for lesser prices and most of the time we compromise,” Sibanda, an illegal fisher, says.Other villagers in Mpofu and Madojwa Village and surrounding areas have also embraced fishing for a living.One has to be licensed and given a permit to operate fish legally.Environment Agency officers also have the powers to seize equipment and vehicles belonging to fish poachers.But the majority of villagers are into illegal fishing using makeshift boats and mosquito nets to capture huge amounts of fish.Sibanda’s wife drowned when a boat they were using capsized while crossing the Bubi-Lupane Dam on their way to Madojwa village.Despite the sad memories, Sibanda says the need to take care of his family outweighs the risks.“At the end of the day, we have to survive hence most people are forced to engage in illegal fish poaching,” he says.

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