Illegal fishermen hijack govt drought relief (Maun, Botswana)


Boniface Keakabetse, Mmegi Online

Date Published

On Monday, North West District Council Chairperson, Reaboka Mbulawa
said since the introduction of the subsidised feeds, as part of the
drought relief, many salt bags procured to feed cattle had been sold
to illegal fishers.

“I am so worried because after the introduction of subsidised stock
feeds a lot of salt bags procured were not used for the intended
purpose but were instead used for illegal fishing,” he said.

“This has caused the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board to put up
measures to arrest the situation in the wake of the heightened abuse.
Part of the interventions by the Board involve allowing farmers to buy
only 50 bags of salt per week to avoid misuse for illegal fishing,” he

On other issues, Mbulawa lamented about the low level of cleanliness
in Maun village, placing the blame for the filth on fun lovers whom he
said indiscriminately litter popular river spots such as the Big Tree
area, Shashe Spot and the New Bridge area.

“There is nothing wrong with these places being used for leisure but
our failure to tame these places and keep them clean leaves a lot to
be desired,” Mbulawa said.

“We have all sorts of environmental degradation including the turning
of some of these sensitive spots into car washes where public
transport buses, taxis and private cars are washed. This may pollute
the environment, water and affiliated bio-diversity which are
dependent on the river,” he said.

Mbulawa also called on the Ngamiland community to stand against cases
of vultures poisoning, which are gaining currency in the district.

He appealed to the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and
the Directorate of Intelligence Services to extend their focus from
elephant and rhino poaching to the poisoning of vultures.

According to Mbulawa between May and August around 156 vultures were
poisoned, with 103 of them in August alone.

He stated that there is a link between elephant poaching and the
vulture poisoning.

“Ngamiland will be worse off without these birds and the whole country
is counting on us to stop these problems,” he said.

The council chairpersonj said poaching was on the rise in the
district, with 11 elephant carcasses discovered recently without tusks
and no arrests made. On the cases of human and wildlife conflict, he
revealed that elephants killed two people while a hippo in the Seronga
area attacked another.