The Department of Fisheries has intensified efforts to reduce cases of illegal fishing while protecting Chambo fish, which is facing extinction.
The department this week confiscated over 58 kilogrammes of Oreochromis species of fish, commonly known as Kasawala or baby Chambo, from Nkhotakota Market.
Nkhotakota District Fisheries Officer, Rodgers Makwinja, said his office confiscated illegal Kasawala from the market following a patrol conducted by the fisheries enforcement section.
He said Chambo, also known as maternal mouth brooding cichlids— a subgenus Nyasalapia of the genius Oreochromis species— is experiencing a serious threat of extinction from Lake Malawi due to illegal fishing.
“Chambo fish is on the verge of extinction due to massive destruction of breeding and nursery sites. Not only that, but water quality degradation due to heavy siltation caused by poor cultivation methods which is experienced in the upland is also posing a serious threat to Chambo’s life in Lake Malawi,” Makwinja said.
Makwinja said it was a pity that Chambo, which used to contribute 70 percent of the total catch from the lake, is contributing less than five percent.
“Statistics show that, in 1970, Chambo contributed 70 percent of the total landings. But the catches have declined to less than five percent,” he said.
He, however, said the Department of Fisheries has partnered Ripple Africa to control poor fish farming practices, thereby regulating the bleeding and flow of fish in the country.
“Following this negative trend, Nkhotakota is implementing a fish conservation project with Ripple Africa, with the aim of protecting baby Chambo; hence, restoring the health biodiversity of the species,” he said.
Makwinja said the confiscated fish was donated to Nkhotakota District Hospital.
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