Fish vendors irate at massive fee hikes

Fish vendors here have accused the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and Binga Rural District council of charging exorbitant fees for fish selling permits. Fishmongers told The Zimbabwean the fees introduced this year has adversely affected their businesses.

Women vendors selling fish at Mlizi Camp.
Women vendors selling fish at Mlizi Camp.

“We are now required to pay $80 to both NPWMA and Binga Rural District Council every three months for the permits. This has gone up from $15 last year. This is too much, considering the small amount of profit we get,” said Nehemiah Mbude, a fish vendor. Another fish dealer, Titus Makombe, said council and NPWMA had already dispatched officials along the Zambezi River to demand the new fees.

“Instead of increasing the fish permits fees, the government should actually consider the exemption of locals from paying anything for fishing in the Zambezi river. A lot of people here survive on fish,” said Makombe.

A fisherman, Noel Gandi, said: “We are not making much profit due to high operational costs. One needs fuel to transport the fish to places like Bulawayo and Victoria Falls where there is a market.

Sometimes, especially in winter, we make very insignificant catches.” Last year the parks authority revised upwards the annual fishing permit fees for kapenta to $300 from $100, courting the ire of locals.

Most fishing rigs on the river are owned by powerful people from Harare such as senior army officers and Zanu (PF) politicians. The Zambezi is home to a variety of edible fish including Tiger fish, Bottle fish, Kapenta, Bream, Eel and catfish.

Despite rampant poaching by both Zimbabweans and Zambians, fish are in abundance and attract scores of buyers from both countries.

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