Despite being a landlocked country, Zimbabwe takes the implementation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 seriously, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has said. Addressing a partnership dialogue on sustainable fisheries here yesterday, Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri called for a holistic approach to sustainable fisheries that includes addressing all forms of pollution.
"Despite Zimbabwe being a landlocked country, the country takes the implementation of SDG 14 seriously.
"Good land use and agricultural practices have a bearing on sustainable fisheries," she said.
"Poor practices are a source of pollution, for example, misuse of fertilisers and pesticides can affect river systems.
"Polluted waters also end up in oceans through the river systems," Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
She also pointed out that Zimbabwe has extensive inland water resources with over 10 000 medium to large dams.
"In these inland water bodies, there are over 50 000 small-scale artisanal fisheries with fishing permits.
"These small-scale artisanal fisheries are contributing significantly to the achievement of SDGs (number 2 and 3), which focus on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and ensuring healthy lives and well-being for our people," she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri told delegates that Government had launched a command fishing programme to ensure local communities benefit from fish stocks.
"My Government has embarked on a Command Fisheries Programme, which will be largely driven by rural communities, mostly women and youths at small-scale artisanal fisheries level.
"In order to make this programme sustainable, the Government has partnered the private sector and NGOs to provide technical expertise on breeding and management of fish stocks," she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri called for drastic measures by all member States to ensure that the goals of SDG 14 are met.
"In the case of Zimbabwe, we have the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority mandated to enforce fisheries policy and legislation.
"Enforcement is carried out in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies such as the police.
"We also have regional partnerships such as the Zambezi River Authority between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
"We also have bilateral partnerships with Mozambique and South Africa in managing fish stocks in shared water courses," she said.
Sustainability, Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said, rested on involving and ensuring that local communities benefited from fish stocks.
"Zimbabwe has put in place mechanisms to ensure that communities are benefiting economically from the resource. We believe the only way to ensure sustainability is to incentivise communities and include them in all decision making processes in fisheries management," she said.
The Sustainable Fisheries Dialogue was one of seven such dialogues that constitute the programme of the ongoing Oceans Conference that ends tomorrow.