Friday, February 28, 2014

Official Launch of the Bwabwata-Kavango RAMSAR Site: 14 February 2014

Honourable Uaherukua Herunga, Minister of MET at the launch of the new Ramsar Site accompanied by Mr. Barry Primm (USAID: SAREP), Hon. Dr. Mbambo, Governor Kavango East Region and Mr. Abraham Nehemia (MAWF: OKACOM)
Namibia is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands since 1995. The Ramsar Convention promotes the conservation and wise use of wetlands and associated resources. As part of its commitment to promote wise use of wetlands and associated resources, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism designated the section of the Kavango River  in the Bwabwata National Park (including the floodplains and associated woodlands of the Mahango and Buffalo Core Areas) as a wetland of international importance in December 2013. The designation of this new Ramsar Site coincided with the celebration of World Wetlands Day.
Members of the audience, well represented by all stakeholders, the public and the media.
The gathering was well attended by officials from different ministries, community members from Kamutjonga village, general public, the media and stakeholders (SAREP, OKACOM, Lodge owners). Honourable Dr. Mbambo, Governor of Kavango East and West Regions delivered the welcoming remarks, followed by remarks from the SAREP representative, Mr. Barry Primm, Chief of Mission, USAID.  Mr. Abraham Nehemia, Under Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MAWF)  also shared his remarks as the OKACOM Commissioner for Namibia. This was followed with the Key Note address by Honourable Uaherukua Herunga, Minister for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET). Honourable Uaherukua Herunga then initiated the launch of the new Ramsar Site with the unveiling of the memorial accompanied by the OKACOM, MAWF and USAID representatives

A group from Kavango East Region contributing to the entertainment with a cultural dance
Guest were entertained with a delightful meal after the proceedings.

Black Mamba snake surprise KIFI staff in Aquarium

A small Black Mamba snake hiding under one of the display tanks in the KIFI Aquarium

Staff members at KIFI were pleasantly surprised one morning during February 2014 when they were very lucky to spot this over one meter Black Mamba snake hiding under one of the display fish tanks in the aquarium at KIFI in striking distance ( about 20 cm) of personnel feeding the fish in the tanks. The venom of this juvenile Black Mamba has the same potency as that of an adult snake and can cause certain death if striking a human being. The snake was successfully removed and killed as it pose a threat to staff members.

The over 1 meter juvenile Black Mamba after it was killed outside the KIFI Aquarium.



Editors: E. Simasiku& S.G. Sitengu
January 2014


The Zambezi (formerly known as Caprivi Region) and Kavango Regions have considerable surface water resources in the form of several large perennial rivers including the Kavango, Kwando and Zambezi Rivers. Up to 75 per cent of households in the Zambezi Region are involved in subsistence fishing. As local population grow, improved infrastructure and communication, increased pressure is placed on the fish resources resulting in the commercialisation of the fishery leading to the over-exploitation of fish stocks coupled with the use of illegal and destructive fishing gears.

Experimental gillnets in the Zambezi/Chobe, Kwando and Lake Liambezi was dominated by non-cichlidsfamily species such as Mormyridae, Characidae and Schilbeidae. These species are ecologically important and presents a good source of protein to the community. The large cichlids only appeared among the top 10 most important species in the Kwando system whereas none of the large cichlids appeared in the Zambezi/Chobe system and Lake Liambezi. Research has also demonstrated a sharp decline in Catch per unit effort (CPUE) in the Zambezi and Lake Liambezi over time while the Kwando was more pristine indicating a stable and healthy river system.The decline in CPUE is of great concern as this maybe an indication of high fishing pressure in the Zambezi River and Lake Liambezi.

Market surveys were also explored by means of daily wet weight statistics at the Katima Mulilo fish market. Based on a total estimate production of 2040 tons of fresh fish traded wholesale from May 2011 to April 2012, and an average value of N$8.00 per kilo, the value of the Katima Mulilo fish market was approximately N$15.8 million per annum. Most of the fish in the market (Destined for export) originated from Lake Liambezi with less fish recorded from the Chobe and Zambezi river system.

Recommendations were made to manage the fishery in the Zambezi Region by imposing restrictions on effort (number of fishing boats), gear type, mesh sizes and access. Proper fisheries management and monitoring should incorporate the establishment of Fish Protected Areas(FPAs) to ensure sustainable utilization of the fish stock in the region.

The full 27 page report is available on request at: