Declining fish catch irks government


By Taonga Sabola:

The government has said it is worried with declining fish production in the country.

Director of Animal Health and Livestock Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, Patrick Chikungwa, was speaking in Lilongwe on Wednesday at the start of a two-day forum on the ‘Role of Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management (EBFM): Maintaining Biodiversity, Production and Protecting the Future’.


Chikungwa said Malawi was experiencing declining catch levels, especially for Chambo and other fish species.

“For example, in the 1970s and 1980s, annual production of Chambo was over 15,000 metric tonnes but now we are talking about less than 4,000 metric tonnes. This is a worrisome situation.

“Although we have had several projects, we still have issues like overfishing, non-compliance fishing laws, poor fish handling and habitat degradation while climate change issues are just exacerbating the situation. Subsequently, the current per capita fish consumption has been reduced by half from 14 kilogrammes recorded in the 1980s,” Chikungwa said.


He said the government was pursuing interventions and reforms within the fisheries sector including the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, the National Agriculture Policy, the National Agriculture Investment Plan and the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III.

United States Aid for International Development Director of Sustainable and Economic Growth, Cullen Hughes, underscored the need for Malawi to scale up efforts in enlightening Malawians on the importance of respecting closed seasons in water bodies, especially Lake Malawi.

He said some fishing methods such as the use of mosquito nets should be discouraged as they are destructive.

Fisheries Integration of Society and Habitats (Fish) Project Chief of Party, Alan Brooks, said EBFM is an approach that considers the whole environment and all of the different uses and needs of the resources therein.

He said the forum was designed to understand potential contributions and solutions to a better future for managing the interdependencies between ecosystems and aquatic and terrestrial resources for agriculture and fisheries.

“The forum brings together a broad array of stakeholders from the Government of Malawi, NGOs, academic institutions, the private sector, community members, and the donor community who will share experiences, disseminate lessons learned and best practices and share knowledge products,” Brooks said.

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