Aquaculture for all

Botswana Fish Demand Exceeds Supply

BOTSWANA - The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism has not been issuing import permits for fresh fish. Instead, veterinary permits were being issued by the Agriculture ministry for disease control purposes until November 2007 when they stopped the practice.

Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mrs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, told Parliament that authorities were not aware of the repercussions of this move to the fish market in the Chobe District.

Answering on behalf of Minister Kitso Mokaila of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Mrs Venson-Moitoi said it was not advisable to to restrict fish imports from Namibia into Botswana at the moment because the demand for fresh fish in the Chobe District exceeded local fish supplies.

She said this was because the best and productive fishing areas occurred on the Namibian side of the Chobe/Zambezi floodplain. Therefore, the Chobe District and small businessmen should benefit from this steady supply of fish from Namibia.

Mrs Venson-Moitoi added however that control on trading in fish within the district, especially retailing by non-residents, was the responsibility of the local authorities through enforcement of their bye laws.

She said these measures, if effected, should protect the small businessmen, and said therefore the ministry was not considering introducing any permits.

The MP for Chobe, Mr Duncan Mlazie, had asked the minister why the requirements for import permits for fresh fish from Namibia were stopped by the ministry in the Chobe District, considering that all other fresh produce, that is meat, vegetables and others required permits to enter Botswana.

He also wanted to know if the minister was aware of the repercussions of this move to the fish market in Chobe District, which included an influx of Namibian fishermen selling fish in the villages of Chobe to the disadvantage of small businessmen whose livelihood depended on fish trade, and if there were no considerations for re-introducing these permits.

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