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File photo / Celso Correia, Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development
The Mozambican government announced yesterday in Maputo that it intends to relaunch sport hunting, as part of an initiative aimed at building a sustainable and international-class tourism industry.
The decision was announced by the Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, during the Annual Sport Hunting Meeting. Sport hunting is one of the country’s major conservation vectors, Correia said.
“Today, game hunting represents the largest source of income for conservation areas in Mozambique. If we look into it, we see that in areas where there is sport hunting there is a better conservation of the animals and they register an increase in the number of species, as is the case of Marromeu,” the minister said.
Occupying an area of 1,500 square kilometres, Marromeu is a Special Protection Reserve for Buffaloes located in the district of the same name in the central province of Sofala.
Correia said he was aware of the problems surrounding the re-launch of sport hunting as well as tourism in general, and listed difficulties resulting from lack of protection from organised crime, particularly poaching and illegal mining.
There were also difficulties importing weapons and ammunition for hunting, the degradation of wildlife habitats due to bush fires and agricultural activity and the increasing number of settlements in hunting areas.
Tourism operators called for urgent measures to be taken to address problems, arguing that the lack of a favourable business environment was a major obstacle to a substantial increase in the number of tourists in Mozambique.
Correia said that work was under way to overcome these obstacles, but warned of the need for all stakeholders to do their part to raise Mozambican tourism to the desired levels.
Protected areas, including parks and national reserves and forests, make up about 11 percent of the national territory, and in the last 10 years, the country has recorded an average of 427 hunters per year.
In terms of revenue, Mozambique raised about US$622,000 last year from issuing hunting licenses, providing hunter-guides, trophy fees, farm fees and issuing International Trade Convention of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) certificates.Source: AIM Moçambique