Phalombe District Fisheries Office on Monday confiscated over 25 illegal fishing nets from different fishermen at the Lake Chilwa.
This comes barely a month after World Fish Malawi through the Lake Chilwa Basin Climate Change Adaptation Programme (LCBCCAP) confiscated 376 other illegal nets at the lake’s Mpoto Lagoon in the area of Senior Chief Chiwalo of the District.
Speaking in an interview after the confiscation, District Fisheries Officer for Phalombe Chimwemwe Tembo explained that the move was in line with the LCBCCAP objectives, and also the provisions in the Malawi Fisheries Act.
“We have an Act which among other things enshrines the protection of small fish from being caught by fishermen, and this Act clearly stipulates the recommended space size of fishing gear mesh which ensures that small fish are not caught,” said Tembo, adding that his office had noted that fishermen on the lake were neglecting these rules and regulations.
He further added that fishermen operating on the lake were not observing the closed season which runs from 1 December and 31 March which is deliberately put in place to enable the fish to breed.
Questioned whether they understand the laws governing fisheries in Malawi, one of the Fishermen Isaac Laudon said most of the fishermen that operate on the lake do so illegally as such they do not know that fishing is guided by the country’s laws.
“It’s like anyone can fish as long as they learn how to; so in such kind of a setup it is easy for some to be operating here without even knowing the laws,” he said.
During the exercise fishermen who do not pay tax for operating on the lake were also detained by police until they settled their debts with the Malawi Government.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA