AS a Zambian who likes eating roasted fresh fish, the first thing I turned to in the August 6, 2015 issue of the Daily Nation was the story about President Edgar Lungu saying it was scandalous for Zambia to import fresh fish and has called for a stop to the trend because Zambians were capable of producing sufficient stocks for home consumption and export.
The issue is not whether Zambians should reverse the seemingly growing trend of importing fish: they must!
I had no complaints, and totally agree with his analysis! It is very clear that Zambians in Luapula and Western provinces with a low natural resource base, isolated in location and increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, aquaculture is not just a concept, it is the only avenue for sustainable development in these regions.
The lakes and rivers have always and will always be fundamental to their existence. The economy and the identity of these people are firmly embedded in their water body heritage and its resources.
Admittedly, aquaculture is a sustainable development concept that is now in vogue in China, and so much has been talked about how the Chinese have become the main exporters of tilapia to Zambia.
It is a shame that over 50 years of independence have done little to change the way we practice fishing methods, especially the use of mosquito nets that have been distributed by Ministry of Health intended for malaria protection.
It is high time that Zambians woke up and embraced the ideals of aquaculture, as we seek to eradicate poverty, disease and, most importantly, ignorance. Restoring the health of fish stocks in our lakes and rivers has become an enormous challenge because of illegal fishing methods being practiced by our fishermen.