THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has launched a multi-million-dollar kapenta fish project at Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Chivi as efforts continue to ensure that the country starts accruing socio-economic benefits from Zimbabwe’s largest inland water body.
About 100 000 fingerlings have since been stocked in the nearly $300 million reservoir for breeding purposes under the kapenta fish project.
The project is being rolled out under Government’s Command Fisheries programme.
In his address during a ceremony to mark the official stocking of kapenta at Tugwi-Mukosi last week, Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Senator Josaya Hungwe hailed the Command Fisheries programme for its role in accelerating socio-economic development in the country.
Senator Hungwe said Command Fisheries was being intensified countrywide at a time Zimbabwe was celebrating the successful implementation of the Command Agriculture programme which saw farmers delivering at least two million tonnes of maize to the Grain Marketing Board in the 2016-17 farming season.
“Following the successful launch of the Command Agriculture programme, Government has embarked on other programmes to complement it. The Command Livestock, Command Fisheries and Wildlife Management and other programmes such as Command Water Harvesting have been initiated countrywide,” said Sen Hungwe.
He said Command Agriculture and Fisheries were welcome in the province which is home to many underutilised water bodies.
“The Command Fisheries programme today has brought the much admired kapenta fish to Masvingo. This is not only historical, but it is a great milestone for the province.”
Senator Hungwe said for a long time, Lake Kariba was the only source of kapenta fish in Zimbabwe.
The fisheries industry has been producing approximately 9 000 tonnes of fresh kapenta equating to 3 000 tonnes of dry weight per annum.
The industry has also been contributing about $15 million to the national economy annually.
“All these economic benefits are now coming to Masvingo province with Tugwi-Mukosi Dam set to be the second largest water body after Kariba Dam to be stocked with kapenta fish.”
The introduction of kapenta at Tugwi-Mukosi is expected to boost the ecology at Zimbabwe’s largest inland dam which was officially commissioned in May last year.
Most of the fish of economic significance and presence in the lake do not generally occupy the open pelagic water and is therefore vacant.
A number of dams across the country have also benefited from the Command Fisheries project and in Masvingo a cumulative 225 000 fingerlings have already been stocked in four different dams in the province.
Siya Dam in Bikita received 1 000 fingerlings, while Mabvute and Nyatare in Zaka received 2 000 and 2 500 fingerlings respectively.