Over the past three months more than 76 km of illegal fish nets have been confiscated from illegal fishermen and burnt by the Sikunga Fish guards, while 14 arrests have been made in conjunction with these illegal fishing practices.
"Altogether 13 Makoros were confiscated along with the nets and by destroying these illegal nets, the fish guards have most certainly conserved more fish stocks in the Zambezi River," said Amy Blair, who runs a tourism operation along the Sikunga Fish Protection Area, and assists in managing the Fish Protection project.
Blair added that in June and July illegal netting increased as the level of the river began dropping. "Our team did a fantastic job on their patrols. We are also happy to report that the Ministry of Fisheries and the Namibian Police have joined the fish guards on their patrols and are doing a great job. They intend to join the fish guards for more patrols in the future."
FNB, through the FirstRand Namibia Foundation donated N$200,000 to the Gondwana Care Trust's Sikunga Fish protection project in Zambezi at the beginning of the year. This is the third year that the FirstRand Namibia Foundation has supported this worthwhile initiative.
Revonia Kahivere, FirstRand Namibia's Corporate Social Investment Manager said, "Our planet is one of the focus areas of the Foundation's CSI strategy and this means, that we assist in guarding the natural resources of our country which includes it's rivers and our ocean."
Kahivere advised that they were well aware of the numerous challenges faced by the Sikunga Fish Guards such as the fear for their safety due to possible exposure to the armed illegal fishermen. "We are honoured to assist them in their quest of safeguarding and protecting our fish stocks for future generations."
Sikunga Fish guards was implemented as voluntary endeavour in 2018 and has since grown to a permanent programme with ten dedicated employees, who patrol 8km of the river and backwaters where fish are protected and allowed to breed undisturbed.
The Sikunga Protection project is run by Sikunga Conservancy and supported by the Masubia Traditional Authority and various tourism enterprises. The area represents a small part of the Zambezi River where fish stocks are protected.