Lake Malawi turns green


By Patience Lunda:

After over a fortnight of heavy winds on Lake Malawi, parts of the calendar lake have turned green, the Department of Fisheries has said.

Research which fisheries experts conducted shows that the greening is toxic and can, when swallowed in large volumes, be dangerous to fish and humans.


The greening is caused by a phytoplankton bloom of cyan bacteria. This also happened in 1999 and 2013, experts indicate. In the two incidents, fish died but fisheries officials say this is yet to happen this time around.

Director of Fisheries Friday Njaya said the department had started sensitising communities in lakeshore to the issue.

“Persistent south easterly winds coupled with low water temperatures during this time of the year induce mixing of nutrient-rich bottom waters, especially in the southern part of the lake,” he said.


Njaya advised people not to consume dead fish seen floating on the lake.

Meanwhile, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has, in a statement it issued on Sunday, indicated that Chiperoni and Mwera winds would continue blowing over Lake Malawi till today.

Natural Resources Minister Nancy Tembo, writing on her Facebook page, corroborated reports of the greening incident, adding: “The greening of the water should fade away within a week or two.”

Salima, Mangochi and Likoma are some of the districts that have experienced the phenomenon.

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