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Sunday, 03 June 2018 20:31

Fishing in Lake Chilwa banned for a year

Written by  Evance Chisiano
NO MORE: A fisherman tries his luck on Lake Chilwa NO MORE: A fisherman tries his luck on Lake Chilwa

Zomba, June 2, 2018: The fishing communities around Lake Chilwa should brace for tough times as the duration for fish breeding season has been extended from three months to a year.

The decision was arrived at by Lake Chilwa’s three councils of Zomba, Machinga and Phalombe on Thursday.

During the meeting, the three local councils agreed that the lake be closed for a year from Feb 28, 2018 to February end 2019, to allow the remaining fish species such as chambo, commonly known as makumba, milamba and matemba to breed without interference by unauthorized fishing practices.

The meeting for the three councils was held in Zomba where council officials, members of Lake Chilwa Fisheries Association, traditional leaders, representatives of fishers and members of Beach Village Committees agreed on the enforcement of the bylaws which disallow use of fish traps, seine nets and other non-recommended nets that catch smallest fish.

Fisheries Officer for Zomba, Lapken Chikoko said as of now, fishermen will be allowed to use gillnets, long lines and hand lines.

To this effect, Senior Traditional Authority Chiwa asked for extension of the bylaws in Mpoto Lagoon in Phalombe which is an extension of Lake Chilwa.

On March 28 this year (2018), a meeting was held between fish stakeholders from Zomba and Machinga to discuss the enforcement of the bylaws on closure of Lake Chiwa after observing that the lake was drying from 2015.

Formulation of the bylaws is in line with the Fisheries Management Act which tresses on fish conservation and gives the local councils the mandate to formulate bylaws to ensure regulated fishing practices.

“We are looking forward to enforcement of the bylaws,” said Group Village Head Mphoka of Phalombe.

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