Lake Kariba drought dam­ages tilapia farms

Fish Farmer - - News World -

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.’

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