Diminishing fish stocks in Malawi waters: Aquaculture an answer

Nsanje fish farmers say promoting fish farming is crucial to countering diminishing fish stocks in Malawi waters.

Women taking care of their fish pond

Women taking care of their fish pond

GVH Masimo feeding his fish

GVH Masimo feeding his fish

Farmers in the area of Senior Chief Malemia are practicing fish farming under Ecosystem Based Adaptation on Food Security (EbAFoS) to address reduced availability of fish on the market.

The practicing farmers said after knowing that the fish stocks were declining in the Shire River, they thought of establishing their own fish ponds to improve the availability of fish and make money for their livelihood.

One of the farmers who owns three fish ponds Group Village Head Masimo said as the fish in the country’s lakes and rivers are declining due to over fishing, it is imperative that government and other stakeholders should devise measures of promoting fish farming in the country.

He said fishermen should as well be encouraged to start fish farming to protect the remaining fish in the country’s lakes and rivers.

“In the past, we used to have more fish species in our waters especially in Shire River, but nowadays things have changed for the worse. It was easy for us to eat any type of fish as it was abundant. We cannot leave the situation like that but we need to find an alternative that’s establishing fish ponds to address the situation.

“It is therefore imperative for the government and other stakeholders to start promoting the fish farming to bridge the gap of fish scarcity which has been created by overfishing as well as population growth.

“For instance, In the past fishing was more sustainable in the Shire River because fishermen could not access every location, but now, with the effects of climate change, things are not moving in the right direction hence the need for change and diversifying with fish farming,” said Masimo.

Group Village Head Masimo who is said to be a role model in the area of Chief Malemia regarding fish farming said time has come for people in the country particularly Nsanje district to prioritize fish farming as it provides vital nutritional components essential for a healthy, balanced diet, income and food security.

He commended Ecosystem Based Adaptation on Food Security – EbAFoS for opening up opportunities with the fish farming initiative.

“This initiative provided us with four goats so that the dung is used as fish feeds. It also taught us on how we can utilize the fishpond bank by planting vegetables to make full use of valuable fertile ground, transforming what had been considered a marginal source of income and nutrition into a core asset for family and community as a whole,” said GVH Masimo.

Martha Noria of Tiwomboke Fish Club in the area of Group Village Head Mchacha in the district said they have embarked on fish farming to show the nation that Nsanje district has a potential in fish farming.

“There are some people who have a negative attitude towards fish farming in the Lower Shire district. We want to show them that it is now real and will benefit from it. As mothers, we want to prosper with this farming by generating more income that will assist in paying fees for our children and fresh fish as relish.

“The department of fisheries through the Ecosystem Based Adaptation on Food Security (EbAFoS) should be appreciated for introducing the initiative to us rural farmers. Let me also ask the government and other stakeholders to promote mechanisms that can enhance fish farming in the district and country as a whole in order to prevent fish extinction in the natural water bodies,” said Noria.

According to Acting District Fisheries Officer Daniel Binga, Ecosystem Based Adaptation on Food Security (EbAFoS) is an initiative aimed building resilience to climate change impacts on livelihoods of the fishing and fish farming communities in the Lower Shire River and Zambezi basin.

Binga said the project focuses on three interventions namely; restoration of declined fish supply through governance reform, value addition, fish farming and policy development.

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