Reduced tourist inflows to Nyanga National Park and the pricing levels have affected the trout fish business at its hatchery. Trout is a fresh water species that thrives in cool climates, and at a minimum price of $9 a kilogramme, the fish have potential to yield handsome returns. Trout fishing is also one of the major attractions in the vast Nyanga National Park, but this has not been so due to limited foreign tourist inflows in the region.
Nyanga and Cape Town, South Africa are the only two areas on the African continent where trout can be successfully farmed. Speaking to journalists on a tour of ZimParks' Nyanga National Park, Chidaushe Mutyasira, a senior ranger at the fisheries attributed the low uptake of trout fish to a decrease in tourist arrivals in the area.
"The market used to be very good because of high tourist arrivals, however a decline in Game Park arrivals coupled with decreased hotel frequency and occupancy have led to a sharp fall in the sales of the trout fish," Mr Mutyasira said.
"We have since stopped supplying hotels and restaurants in areas like Masvingo and Mutare because of business viability. Trout costs $9 per kg while you can get other types of fish at $2 per kg," he said adding however that they continued to supply the local hotels.
The Nyangombe River on the Rhodes Estate was first opened for trout fishing in 1938 although the earliest attempt to introduce trout into Africa was in Malawi in 1905. Mr Mutyasira, said as an exotic fish, which strives in cold temperatures, Nyanga was the only area in the country suitable for trout. "Trout do not like mud or sand and this area is most ideal as the streams running through rocks fulfil the condition. They also require temperatures of between 7 degrees Celsius and 18 degrees."
According to Mr Mutyasira, trout spawn from June to November, but only in their third winter, when they are over two years old are they harvested.