Communities in Nkhata Bay narrate benefits of sustainable fishing

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Communities in Nkhata Bay say they have managed to deal with human activities that were leading to reduction of fish in Lake Malawi and have now noticed changes in availability of fish in the lake.

Speaking in interview , Chairperson for Tukombo Beach Village commitee Medson Phiri said in the past people were just fishing using restricted nets which had led to the shortfall of Mlamba, Usipa Nsanjika and Chambo.

He explained that a project called Restoring Fisheries for Sustainable livelihoods in Lake Malawi (REFRESH) project has brought various interventions like trainings, village saving loans and formation of by-laws which have really changed and boosted the availability of fish at the lake Malawi.

“Through the training we have had been equipped, we are not only depending on fishing throughout the year, when the department of fisheries closes the lake, we switch to other business like farming and groceries using the savings that we usually had during fishing season,” he explained.

Nkhatabay Refresh project technician Limbikani Chilima asserted that he is delighted that fishermen are now following what the project has been instructing them and now they are able to recognize the significance of preserving fish.

“When we were installing our project here we found that overexploitation of fishery resources and the human activities that led to the reduction of fish stocks include rapid population growth, increased number of fishermen, overfishing, increased use of illegal fishing gears and lack of ownership by fishing communities among others. So we were working in controlling these malpractices thats why people are delighted today,” he explained.

The project which is in collaboration with Nkhata Bay district fisheries Office,Restoring Fisheries for Sustainable livelihoods in Lake Malawi (REFRESH) project aims at restoring lake biodiversity.

It is being implemented with support from USAID to help fishing communities understand the dangers of overfishing, illegal fishing and ways to restore fish.They are working with 78 Beach Village Committes and 6 Sub-Fisheries associations in the district.

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