Chiefs in the Eastern Region should be in the forefront in protecting the lakes within their jurisdiction in order to increase overall fish stocks, deputy director of Fisheries in the Department of Fisheries, Steve Donda has said.
He said this during a meeting with chiefs facilitated by Fisheries Integration of Society and Habitats (Fish) Project held in Liwonde this week.
Donda said chiefs are custodians of culture, as such, they play a key role in educating the masses on the importance of preserving lakes for the benefit of future generations.
“The chiefs that are here have been drawn from the districts of Mangochi, Zomba and Machinga. Overall, we are explaining to them the benefits of lake conservation. They are very aware that fish stocks are decreasing and they have always been interested in becoming part of the solution for the future,” said Donda.
On his part, Dick Kachilonda, who is governance and capacity development specialist for Fish Project, said the project is aimed at intensifying capacity building among communities on how to manage the lakes considering that they play a crucial role in the lives of many people.
“Our meeting with chiefs is just one component of the project in trying to create a network for collaboration and integration, encouraging sharing of skills and expertise across similar geographic locations throughout our catchment area,” he said.
In his remarks, Paramount Chief Kawinga of Machinga said in partnership with other chiefs, he has developed by-laws to protect the lakes by enforcing a three-month closed season to allow fish time to breed.
Fish is a USAid Malawi-funded project and will run for five years.