By Mwiza Nzila
The newly-formed Musele Community Resource Board (MCRB) should ensure that Chisola and Musangezhi dams are properly managed.
North-Western Provincial Fisheries Coordinator Dr Charles Lwanga said this during a handover ceremony for the dams which will be managed by Musele MCRB which was formed with the help of the Trident Foundation Ltd which falls under Kalumbila Minerals Ltd.
From inception of the two dams, Kalumbila Minerals has introduced more than 81,000 fingerlings into the Chisola and Musangezhi dams and is scheduled to restock 10,000 fingerlings before the end of 2021.
At the ceremony held at Senior Chief Musele’s palace in Kalumbila District, Dr Lwanga pledged technical and scientific support from the Department of Fisheries.
The Musele MCRB will work with the Government through the Department of Fisheries to provide fishing licenses and ensure proper fishing methods are being adhered to.
Kalumbila Minerals has provided logistical support for surveillance of the dam, development of the governance system, fish restocking and aquatic ecosystem monitoring.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, TFL Manager Joseph Ngwira said the programme will enable the community to adequately benefit the fish resources through revenue generation and guarding against over exploitation of the fish resources to ensure sustainability of the initiative.
“The combination of community structures through Musele CRB, the governance systems put in place and the technical input of the Department of Fisheries gives us assurance that this initiative will be managed effectively, transparently and sustainably,” Ngwira said.
He counseled that in view of the impending challenges ahead of the fishing programme including the pressure of fishing which will be placed on the two dams, the community must consider putting up a hatchery to be a reliable source for fingerlings that will periodically restock the dam.
“In addition, we would like to encourage the community to develop fish ponds where the fingerlings will be supplied by hatcheries. This will inevitably relieve and mitigate the fishing pressures on the dam. We anticipate the hatchery will play a role in promoting aquaculture in the Musele chiefdom and beyond.”
Ngwira said the initiative will provide alternative and sustainable livelihoods beyond the life of the mine.
“The support from the mine is intended to ensure sustainable fishing for nutrition and for income, going beyond the mine life. Kalumbila Minerals believes that a structured governance system shall help avoid community conflicts and optimize the water resources already developed by the mine.”
And Senior Chief Musele Musokantanda urged his subjects to take care of the fish resources God has blessed his community with, and advised the fishing community to buy licenses and use recommended fishing tools so that future generations could benefit from the inheritance.
“If you want to practice fishing for business, you must get a permit because if you are caught selling fish illegally, you will be arrested and no one will speak for you because this information has been shared openly here today,” Chief Musele advised.
He urged the MCRB to ensure that they deal diligently with anyone found flouting set procedures.
The chief encouraged the community to acquire private breeding cages from the Department of Fisheries and enhance their income.
The Chief thanked Kalumbila Minerals for providing financial support to establish a system that shall enhance a coordinated resource utilization and support livelihoods.