Mangochi District Fisheries Office has effected a two-month closure of active artisanal fishing season on Lake Malawi’s Mangochi side.
Officials said the move is aimed at allowing undisturbed fish breeding for a sustainable fish industry.
The closing ceremony was held on Monday at Liweta Beach in Traditional Authority Makanjira and was graced by Mangochi District Council director of agriculture Enford Kanyimbo.
Kanyimbo, who was handed a lock and key to symbolise the suspension of the fishing season, said this annual event takes place from November 1 to December 31.
He said there is a possibility that it can be extended to March 31 next year.
Kanyimbo also said this is the best way to sustain fish species in Lake Malawi.
“Communities should have control and ownership of resources,” he said, urging fishers to concentrate on other livelihood activities such as farming during the period.
Makanjira Beach Village Committee chairperson Malufu Shaibu commended the council for closing the fishing season, saying that there is need to enforce the law to enable the fish to breed.
He said many things such as creation of uncharted fishing ports, hostilities between fishers and authorities and some chiefs accepting bribes from fishers happen during the closed season
“We are going to work together with chiefs and the Fisheries Department. We will play our roles to ensure the success of this initiative by patrolling on water and on land,” said Shaibu.
During the period, the use of seine nets and other unauthorised gear for fishing is suspended. What are permitted are long lines and fish traps of three-quarter inches mesh.
Any fisher found breaching the law is prosecuted and fined K1 million.