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Fish dying on Lake Malawi

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Fish have for the recent months been dying on Lake Malawi in what authorities suspect is due to change in water temperature.

Our visit in some spots along the lake in Nkhotakota observed dead species such as Utaka, and bagrid catfish known locally as Kampango floating on the lake with others swept to the shore.

Some fishermen interviewed said it has been almost three months since they noticed this trend.

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Nkhotakota District Fisheries Officer, Rodgers Makwinja, said the deaths are because of change in water temperature.

“The change in water temperature causes circulation of water so, fish that survive on low temperature are affected due to rise in temperature and also because oxygen concentration is low hence the mass mortality of the fishes,” Makwinja said

While advising people not to eat the dead fish, Makwinja said the fish do not pose any threats if consumed.

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“Normally it is not good to eat something that dies on its own but the fish pose no danger if consumed because we don’t suspect anything rather than the change in temperature. This is normal and it happens after some years.

“And you can notice that small fish like Usipa that adapt to low or high temperature are not dying,” Makwinja said.

He further said the water temperature change lasts for few weeks and takes almost five years to occur but due to climatic change being experienced in the region, it is becoming unpredictable.

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