Department of Fisheries says it will leave no stone unturned to ensure this year’s fishing closed season on Lake Malawi is a success.
The department has barred fishing activities on Lake Malawi from November 1 through January 31 2021.
The annual ban allows fish to breed and grow in the lake. Normally, the ban targets seine nets used by artisanal fishers, but this year it also applies to large scale commercial trawler operators.
So far, district fisheries officers in the lakeshore districts of Nkhata Bay, Salima and Mangochi have said they are well prepared to enforce the ban.
Salima district fisheries officer Chris Nyasa said they will intensify publicity and patrols for fishing communities to uphold the regulations.
“We have lined up a number of activities to completely restrict any fishing activities on the lake.
“With financial support from Pact, Ripple Africa and African Development Bank [AfDB], we will engage community radios to inform communities of the development, and conduct land and water patrols to enforce fishing regulations. Doing these activities is key to a successful closed season,” he said.
Nkhata Bay district fisheries officer Dellings Kamenya said they will popularise the importance of observing the season on fishers’ livelihoods.
“We are strengthening participatory fisheries management with community-based structures. They have to know that the season increases stocks for their sustainable fishing activities. We will civic educate them vigorously that in addition to enforcing the regulations with possible support from development partners,” he said.
On his part, Neverson Msusa, Mangochi district fisheries officer, said they will achieve desired goals as fishers have been engaged in effective fisheries management.
“Apart from us imposing guidelines, we have empowered local governance structures to manage the resources.
He said fishing communities have formulated by-laws to extend the closed season from November 1 2020 to March 31 2021.
“This year, it will be a successful season because we have Restoring Fisheries for Sustainable Livelihoods [Refresh] and Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Development [SFAD] projects complementing our efforts,” he said.