By George Maponga
Communities in Chivi district have implored Government to make sure they also get licences being issued to fishing co-operatives for commercial fishing projects at Tugwi-Mukosi Dam.
Tugwi-Mukosi is located at the border between Chivi and Masvingo rural districts and communities there are pinning their hopes on the potentially lucrative fisheries ventures at the dam to uplift their lives.
Government has already called for the formation of fishing co-operatives that will be licensed to legally extract fish from Tugwi-Mukosi where more than 200 000 fingerlings (young fish) were stocked last year under the Command Fisheries programme.
Tugwi-Mukosi is now a major source of fish amid fears of rampant illegal poaching that was not accruing benefits to locals.
Chivi Rural District Council chair Councillor Godfrey Mukungunugwa last week said there was urgent need to make sure people in the arid district benefited from fishing projects at the dam.
“There are very high hopes amongst our people in Chivi that they will get the lion’s share of the fishing projects at Tugwi-Mukosi because there is no other big investment in our arid district besides this dam,” he said.
“We appeal to the responsible authorities to make sure there is organised fishing so that everyone, especially the people of Chivi, benefit from this resource found in their area.
“It is common cause that Chivi is traditionally an arid district where opportunities are limited and the coming of Tugwi-Mukosi has opened a new avenue which we think will change the lives of our people if properly managed.
“We have already urged our people to set up co-operatives and register to venture into commercial fishing at Tugwi-Mukosi.”
Cllr Mukungunungwa urged Government to stem rampant poaching by beefing up anti-poaching activities at Tugwi-Mukosi.
“We are optimistic that a vibrant fisheries industry will emerge at the dam if the whole situation is properly managed.”
Cllr Mukungunugwa said his council will soon facilitate familiarisation tours by registered fishing co-operatives from his district to visit places such as Lake Kariba and learn how communities there benefit from their fishing resources.
He said Tugwi-Mukosi Dam had potential to sustain a vibrant multi-million-dollar fisheries industry that will economically transform the arid Chivi district creating thousands of jobs.
With a full capacity of 1,8 billion cubic metres, Tugwi-Mukosi is located at the confluence of Tugwi and Mukosi rivers.