Sun drying fish on Lake Kariba. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Fishing:Lake Kariba

  • It was constructed on the Kariba gorge between 1955 and 1959.
  • The dam has produced a lake with a surface area of 5 364 km2.
  • Commercial fishing on Lake Kariba begun in 1962.
  • It has a potential fish yield of around 31 000 tonnes per year.
  • Several fish species have been introduced into Zimbabwe lakes and dams over the years.
  • The most successful was the introduction of the Lake Tanganyika sardine (kapenta) into the lake in 1966-67.
  • Commercial kapenta fishing started as early as 1974 and now accounts for 90% of Zimbabwe’s commercial fishing harvests.
  • The kapenta fisheries are shared between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
  • There are no regulation on the Zambian side.
  • On the Zimbabwean side the kapenta fishing is regulated by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
  • The ministry issues fishing permits which have to be renewed annually.
  • The permits are issued in relation to the levels of fish in the lake.
  • This is meant to prevent over-fishing.
  • Kapenta fishing is mainly carried out by fishing co-operatives operating in the eastern Sanyati and Bubi river basins.
  • The co-operatives operate five fishing rigs.
  • A few commercial fishing companies also operate in the area.
  • Subsistence fishermen are also a common sight.
  • Fishing takes place at night when the kapenta is attracted by powerful lights on the fishing rigs, before being encircled by seine-purse nets.
  • Most of the catch is dried on the shores of the lake before being packed and transported to the country’s urban and rural markets.
  • Some small quantities of kapenta are frozen and sold fresh or canned.
  • Associated with the introduction of the kapenta in Lake Kariba was the increase in tiger fish which preyed on the small fish.
  • Tiger fishing has therefore become increasingly popular for both commercial purposes and for recreation.

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