Communities Have a Hand in Saving Zambezi Fish

Communities Have a Hand in Saving Zambezi Fish

For centuries, local people have fished the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, home to more than 200 species of fish, including tigerfish, kilifish and the great Vundu catfish. But over-fishing -- along with rapid human settlement, pollution, and other factors -- has taken a toll on the Zambezi's ecological health.

The result is an unsustainable equation: more fishermen competing for fewer fish.

"We fight with the crocodiles and hippos, we can't fight with one another," local fisherman Bornface Tenepa said in a recent article in South Africa's Mail & Guardian. Tenepa welcomed the work of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to help reverse the decline in the river's fish population.

That work most recently entailed holding workshops and facilitating talks between community and government leaders to develop a better way to implement protocols for managing the river's fish resources. The workshops were made possible with support from Southern Africa Trust.

"Our goal is to help community and government leaders collaborate and to give local people a greater say in how fisheries are managed," says Jimmiel Mandima, director of AWF's work in the Zambezi Heartland. "This will ensure that the river's resources can be conserved and shared for a long time to come."

AWF has also joined with The Nature Conservancy's Great River Partnership to fortify the Zambezi's ecological health. The Great River Partnership was formed to protect large river systems critical to the world's fresh water supply.

> To read the Mail & Guardian article on efforts to combat overfishing in the Zambezi, click here.

> To learn more about AWF's efforts to support Zambezi fishermen, click here.