THE Department of Fisheries in Monze says the fish industry has not received much attention as a vibrant industry that can contribute to national development.
In an interview at Mansangu Research Station, the departments senior research officer Simon Phiri called on the government to effectively support the fish industry because of its potential to contribute to the country's economic development.
Phiri said government needed to pump in a lot of money to revamp the industry and ensure that management of fisheries was made effective.
He said that there was need to invest in research programmes that were an integral part of fisheries management by equipping the department with the required equipment and tools for carrying out research programmes.
Phiri said Mansangu Research Station had the potential and all it required was increased support from the government in terms of adequate funding, transport and staff as lack of all these had critically affected operations of the department on the Kafue flats.
He said that the laboratory that was put up at a cost of KR14,000 in 2011 at the station was fully operational, installed with a biological microscope through efforts made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock particularly the Department of Fisheries and was being used to carry out research activities on the Kafue flats that lie on the Kafue river.
Phiri said that the laboratory was also equipped with other types of equipment and specimen such as a water analysis kit, zoo plankton net, test kits which were used to undertake data analysis, fixing samples, a zoo plankton and phytoplankton.
He explained that currently, the Department of Fisheries was carrying out a stock assessment survey on the Chunga lagoon of the Kafue flats to ascertain the status of fish stocks in a given fishery at a particular time.
Phiri said that under the stock assessment survey, there was also gillnet survey which involved experimental gillnetting with a fleet of nets of different mesh sizes to determine the catch of its species composities, growth parameters and breeding status among others.
He further called on the government to ensure that the fisheries act was reinforced in order to help the department effectively control illegal fishing methods that had affected the breeding of fish.
Phiri said that fishing during the ban was a challenge to control due to lack of both water and road transport at the department to carryout patrols and monitoring.