Stakeholders in the fishing sector have urged the government to introduce aquaculture studies in the educational curriculum to empower students with an entrepreneurship mindset.
BY Hazvinei Mwanaka
Speaking on the sidelines of a consultative workshop on the fisheries and aquaculture in Masvingo on Tuesday, chief environment officer in the Water and Climate ministry, Joseph Shoko, said there was need to equip students with knowledge about aquaculture from early stages to avoid a collapse of the sector.
“Looking at the previous curriculum, of course, people looked at conservation per se, and fishing is just touched in passing and now that we are getting into trying and develop our aquaculture, it is very important that we have it in our institutions, particularly our school curricula from grade one or even zero grade to university level.
“Zero grade is the idea of catching them young, where we are saying our children should know even the type of fish we have in the country, where they are obtained as well as the value of the fish,” he said.
Shoko said at tertiary level, there was need to train people in terms of fish management, which looks at how to harvest fish and manage the resource to avoid dilapidation.
“Like now, for instance, we do not have people that are trained in fisheries. Those that go out in the community to teach the farmers get some kind of induction, they do not have enough training themselves,” Shoko said.
“Like when we have fish diseases, how to counter those diseases, it is actually a challenge. We have veterinaries, but some of them do not specifically specialise in fish production, more are into livestock such as cattle, but in terms of fish, we could have very few.”
Zimbabwe Fish Producers’ Association chairman Paul Mwera said expertise in aquaculture was essential in fish production.
“In terms of training in our institutions, they should include aquaculture, whether at diploma or certificate level, that should be done. If we have extension officers that are trained, I am sure they will be able to impart that information to fish farmers,” he said.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation defines aquaculture as “farming of aquatic organisms, including fish and aquatic plants …”