Government has said it is reviewing the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy of 2001 and the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1997 to ensure conservation and utilisation of fish resources.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza said this on Friday in Mangochi during the celebration of World Fisheries Day, which is commemorated on November 21.
“This is due to a number of factors that include overfishing in shore shallow areas, use of illegal gears and inappropriate boats, among others,” said Chiyembekeza.
He said as a consequence, fish catches have been declining drastically in water bodies, adding that the failure of fisheries management tools in arresting the declining fish production trends has been attributed to various factors, including the top-down approach where by central government has been in the lead.
The minister said legal and policy instruments being reviewed have made provision for enhanced stakeholder participation in the management of fisheries resources.
Available figures show that in 2012/2013 fiscal year, the fisheries sector directly employed about 58 525 fishers and indirectly over 500 000 people who were involved in fish processing, marketing, boat building and engine repair.
Also, nearly 1.6 million people in lakeshore districts continue to derive their livelihood from the fishing industry, according to the Malawi Government latest annual economic report.
“With a fish landing of 124 million kilogrammes from the lakes, rivers and from aquaculture last year, fisheries proved right the frequently quoted statement that it provides over 70 percent of the dietary animal protein intake of Malawians and 40 percent of the total protein supply,” said Chiyembekeza.