Minister of Natural Resources Eisenhower Mkaka has said the aquaculture sub-sector provides direct employment opportunities to over 70,000 people involved in fishing, mainly for commercial purposes, in the country.
He said this during the opening of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum in Lilongwe.
Mkaka said, small-scale fishery contributes 95 percent to the total fish produced annually in the country, which is estimated at around 170,000 tonnes.
“This sector contributes significantly to the socio-economic development of the country with an estimate of 4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In terms of nutrition, fish contributes 70 percent of the animal protein to the national diet of Malawians” Mkaka said
He also said the aquaculture sub-sector consists of 16,000 fish farmers who produce about 9,000 tonnes of fish.
On his part, Assistant Food and Agriculture Organisation representative responsible for programmes George Phiri said major challenges affecting the fish industry in the country is climate change and land degradation.
He said there is a need for more women to be empowered so that the country should make significant contributions to food security, livelihoods and household incomes.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Natural Resources has disclosed that they have closed the fishing season for lakes and rivers in the country with immediate effect.
This means Lake Malawi is now off season for fishers.