Lake Kariba drought damages tilapia farms
THE worst drought to hit southern Africa in 40 years in causing suffering for tilapia farmers on Lake Kariba.
The dwindling water levels mean that access to electricity is becoming more sporadic and sites for operations are becoming scarcer.
Low rainfall over the October 2018 to March 2019 wet season had already caused the lake to drop to 30 per cent of its maximum capacity by August of last year.
By December, the level had dropped to just 10 per cent, the lowest total recorded since 1996.
Speaking to The Fish Site, a spokeswoman for Lake Harvest Aquaculture, Tariro Chari, said that the reducing lake levels were a cause for concern on many fronts.
‘For all our land operations, water is pumped from the shoreline. This shoreline was 500 metres from our farm at the end of August 2018.
Sixteen months later, the shoreline is now more than two kilometres away.
‘With the rainy season only just beginning and any inflows into the lake only expected in April 2020, this shoreline will continue to recede.
‘As the water recedes, the pump station must be moved at great cost. It also means that the oxygen, pH and water temperature levels start to deteriorate from the ideal conditions for fish breeding, growing and handling.
‘To mitigate this, booster pumps have to be installed, the ponds have to be aerated and water quality checks have to increase.’
She added: ‘Less water increases the likelihood of predators like crocodiles and hippos accessing the cages.
‘It also increases the disease pressure on the entire water body and reduces the oxygen available to all animals that make use of the water body.’
ONE man died and two others were injured following an incident at a Cermaq fish farm on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island.
Cermaq Canada has confirmed the death and said it notified the Canadian Coast Guard immediately.
‘We are extending our heartfelt condolences and support to the family and friends of our employee,’ said the company in a statement.
‘We are providing resources and support for our employees and families as they work through this tragic and difficult time.’