By Peter Matangi
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Investigations Department is intensifying its effort to curb escalating cases of fish poaching in Lake Chivero Recreational area. The Zimparks Investigations Department vowed to work tirelessly to ensure that they end all forms of poaching.
The department said they are going to employ different forms of controlling poaching at Lake Chivero which includes continued extended patrol deployments in known crime hotspots as well as dedicated daily law enforcement patrol along the lack shores and river patrols with boats.These are some of the steps that are going to be taken but however there are others like self policing through the use of registered fishing corporatives, stakeholders participation through the Lake Users Association in mobilizing resources for anti-poaching and combined anti-poaching patrols with other law enforcement agencies like Zimbabwe Republic Police.This came at the wake of increasing rate of fish poachers who are now causing all sorts of problems in the lake through some of the illegal materials they use.
“There are non-selective fishing methods that threaten the fish population in the lake which might end up depleting the whole fishing population as well as dugout canoes which are seen as not worthy resulting in a number of people capsizing and drowning,” said a source within Zimparks Investigations Department. The source also stress about the danger imposed by these fish poachers to the law enforcement agencies as they attack whoever they deem to stand between them and their illegal fishing activities."Poachers are also dangerous in that they attack law enforcement agencies in their continuous robbery of fish. Catches from registered operators will end up making these legal operators to incurr enormous costs through employing extra security personnel to guard their laid nets over night,” said a Zimparks Investigator
However the investigation team shows dissatisfaction on the way in which the Zimbabwe Republic Police officers operating in this area are conducting their duties.A team of fishermen went to Norton police camp wanting to demonstrate against Zimparks patrol officers whom they accuse of being heavily armed against them since fishing is only their source of income but you can’t survive on crime. The police accepted this claim and end up being used by these poachers to stop Parks patrol officers from conducting their daily patrols in the lake.
"These poachers lie to the police that they are being abused and then the police in turn summon our patrol officers to court for abuse, forgetting that it is these people that are the robbers and thieves," said the source. The police must be taught how to work with other forces of the state working against crime, rather than being selfish, fraud and preventing people committing crime and they must know that these people say whatever they deem neccessary in defence when they are implicated in crimes.