By: Ivy Tunkete Mwanyongo
The Department of Fisheries has acknowledged participatory fisheries management, as crucial in controlling illegal fishing activities along the country’s lake-shore areas.
Senior Director of Fisheries, Jacqueline Kazembe made the sentiments Wednesday in Nkhotakota during the handover ceremony of a patrol boat donated by Ripple Africa to the district’s council, worth Mk5 million.
Kazembe said the department is short of manpower, and the involvement of the community contributes to the proper management of fishing activities.
“On national level, we are doing well in terms of curbing illegal fishing, and this is because of partners that are assisting the government in strengthening the participatory fisheries management for instance, Ripple Africa”, said Kazembe.
“You can imagine, as a department we have few officers who cannot be at all places across the nation, and we depend on the community members to help us in enforcing the fishing regulations”, she added.
Kazembe has since marked the boat donated by Ripple Africa to the Nkhotakota district council as crucial in easing mobility challenges during water patrols.
Speaking separately, Ripple Africa Country Director, Force Ngwira said his organization is geared to contributing to fishing conservation in its targeted districts.
“As an organization that is implementing a fish conservation project here in Nkhotakota, having realized the decrease of fish in the district, we saw a gap of enforcement boats for the district to enforce legal fishing measures”, said Ngwira.
Ngwira added that the organization has identified 12 fishing grounds in the district, developed a district fisheries management plan, established by-laws, encouraged sustainable use and management of fish, among others.
In his remarks, Nkhotakota District Council Chairperson, Gaziel Chimzere expressed optimism that the fisheries department will now boost its revenue collection in the district.
“All the fishing gear are expected to pay a fee to the council and those who used to shun away will be easily caught as officials will now be able to patrol the fishing areas using this boat, ” said Chimzere.
Chimzere has since commended Ripple Africa for the donation, saying the fishing patrols will now be easily done.
Ripple Africa has been operating in the country in areas of education, health, and environment and currently, it is carrying out its activities in districts such as Nkhotakota, Salima, Mangochi, NkhataBay and Mzimba.