All about fish in Zimbabwe.......
Fish Farming in Zimbabwe
There are three major fish industries in Zimbabwe - Bream Farming, Trout Farming and Kapenta Fishing.
Zimbabwe has no tradition of aquaculture, although the concept was first introduced as early as the 1950s. The main activities at that time were stocking farm dams and commercial trout farming in the Eastern Highlands. Intensive research was also initiated at the then Hendersen Research Station.
Most fish farms are relatively small, A large number of farmsuse manure as the main nutrient input but a significant number use commercial fish feeds. Nearly 75% of farmers produce their own seed while 14%, mainly trout farmers, depended on National Parks for fingerlings. Approximately 70% of farmers are farming tilapia, with an increasing number of farms growing Orechromis niloticus. However, the requirements to obtain permits to import this non-indigenous species have been considered a constraint by some producers. Trout were the next most important culture species , while catfish and carp were farmed to a lesser degree . In addition to producing fish for the food fish market, a popular reason for growing fish was for farm workers' food and for recreational fee fishing. A number of dams have been converted to angling waters. In several of these cases, feeding is promoted and some waters have yielded record bass in recent years. The recent upsurge in interest in tilapia fillets on the American and European markets has inspired considerable commercial interest in growing the fish in Africa, maximizing on the warmer climatic conditions and relatively cheaper resource and labor base.
Visitors to Kariba may notice the many lights shining brightly on the lake at night from the kapenta fishing rigs, and be interested to know briefly how this fishery was formed. It was only in 1969 that substantialnumbers were observed on the Zimbabwean side. Various experiments wereundertaken by Lake Kariba Fisheries Institute in catching this fish, based ontraditional techniques used on Lake Tanganyika. In 1973, however, the firstcommercial fishing enterprise formed, pioneering purse seine and square liftnet techniques. Over the years, however, the dip net method has proved to bemost productive, together with high-technology fish finders, hydraulic winchesetc.
Dip nets are suspended from a boom on the rigs. They are
fitted onto a 6 or 7meter diameter ring - conical in shape they are some
10 or 12 meters long. Tocommence fishing during darkness [kapenta are
light attracted] the nets andunderwater lights are lowered into the water
and the overhead lights switched onto attract kapenta into the vicinity
of the rig. After half an hour or so, theoverhead lights are switched
off to concentrate the shoal around the underwaterlight just above the
net. The net is lifted at least three or four times duringthe night -
more when the season is good.The kapenta thus caught are transferred into
baskets and coarse salt added tomaintain freshness. On return to harbour
in the morning, the fish is placedonto drying racks where it is sun dried
losing two thirds of its wet weight. This dried high protein product has
the benefit of having a long 'shelf life'and easily transported into remote
areas without refrigeration.It is of interest to note that the size and
life cycle of this species hasadapted to harvesting over the years. Lake
Kariba kapenta are smaller than their Lake Tanganyika brothers, reproducing
at a smaller size and more frequently. Like grass - it grows better when