The Department of Fisheries has decried the impact of climate change which is putting fish production under threat, thwarting prospects of further increasing fish consumption per person per year.
In a written response to a questionnaire on Friday, Department of Fisheries assistant director Friday Njaya said with the drying up of some of the country’s water bodies, the country needs to focus on aquaculture to increase fish production to meet the growing demand for fish.
Figures contained in the 2018 Malawi Government Annual Economic Report show that per capita fish consumption is at 12.47 kilogrammes (kg) which is two kg shy of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended per capita consumption of between 13 and 15 kg.
Said Njaya: “So far, climate change impact has adversely affected Lake Chilwa and to some extent Lake Chiuta. Lake Chilwa dried up three to four years ago and till now, fishing has not gone back to normal level. In fact, the fishing communities around the lake have agreed to continue closing the lake.
“What we need to focus on is aquaculture to ensure that we harvest more fish to meet the growing demand.”
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development chief director Yanira Ntupanyama earlier said the country’s over-reliance on Lake Malawi and Lake Chirwa for fishing instead of investing in fish farming is leading to overfishing with most species depreciating in numbers.
The annual report indicates that in 2017, Malawi earned K173 billion from 199 453.85 metric tonnes (MT) of fish from K129.74 billion realised from 157 268 MT of fish sold.