Fishing Ban on Lake Malawi Sparks Misunderstanding on Likoma Island
Fishermen in Likoma Island have disagreed with government’s fresh sanction for a complete ban of the use of prohibited fishing nets on Lake Malawi.
These are a kind of fishing gear made of a monofilament called wailing which according to experts it is non-selective of fish type resulting into depression of some important species.
Government has set 1st February 2020 as deadline for use of the fishing gear.
According to Likoma district fisheries officer (DFO), Richard Banda, the ban came out some months ago for the entire Lake Malawi fishermen but Likoma was exempted on economic purposes as most of their economic livelihood depend on fishing activities.
“We have indeed taken too long to affect the ban as you people that economic life of Likoma people depend on fishing activities,” he said.
Banda further added: “on the other hand we were preparing them to migrate to recommended fishing nets which we believe that by this time they have replaced already.”
The fisheries department in Likoma has since advised Likoma Police to enforce the law if anyone attempts to defy it saying the fishing gear is dangerous weapon and has potential to impacting depreciation of various fish species in the Lake.
Fishermen and business operators are against the move claiming they were saddened with the new arrangement.
”We have been saddened; we should have loved if they gave us three months. We are looking at the process of bringing the recommended gear, it is costly and cannot finish today,” said Petros Salaka, chairperson for Chiwoko Beach Village Committee (BVC).
Salaka is also claiming that the new arrangement “is impinging social economic livelihood of us the poor.”
But government has sustained the ban saying it is in line with the fishing regulations guiding protection of fish species in the Africa’s number one lake.
The ban has not also gone well with business operators who sell the prohibited fishing nets saying they are losing millions such that fishermen are no longer interested to buy from them for fear of the law.
“I am just surprised that it has come to this. Honestly speaking this is killing a live human being because our businesses are no longer the same,” explained one of the business operators a Kazembe.
Kazembe also pleads like fishermen to government for extension of about 3 months so that he sells out the remaining stoke while expressing fear of losing about K1.8 million invested into the business.
Both fishermen and business operators also share a similar concern that paying school fees for their children will now be compromised following the ban.
The ban comes after fishermen across the country are importing and have adopted the use of this type of fishing gear which has overridden the recommended fishing nets made of twine.
Many Malawian fishermen today recommend using imported fishing gears and accuse the Malawi’s netting company for failure to supply the nation with enogh and durable stoke of fishing net