Dead fish scare: Lakeshore residents push Malawi gov’t for speedy investigations

People living along the shores of Lake Malawi are pushing authorities to speed up investigations into the cause of death of fish in the lake, a development which they say has greatly affected their daily meals.

Fish in the Africa’s third largest lake, have for the past three weeks been dying for what agriculture authorities suspect is due to persistent Mwela wind which is blowing over the lake.

Authorities at the department of fisheries in the northern lake shore district of Karonga told Nyasa Times that they first received reports of fish dying in June.

“It was on 10 June when we received the complaints from members of the general public that dead fish are found floating on the lake and we confirmed the development and reported the matter to the headquarters,” said Martson Bezayi, District’s Fisheries Officer.

A fisher man carrying Chambo
A fisher man carrying Chambo

Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Sara Tione told Nyasa Times that another cause could be water pollution caused by the exchange of top water and bottom water due the wind blow.

“As we are experiencing climate change in our country, it has happened that the top water which had high accumulation of polluted gases has gone down as a result the fish fail to survive. We are also experiencing Mwela wind which is being blown over the lake resulting into exchange of warm water and cold water that can lead to fish dying,” she said.

However Senior Chief Kalonga is urging the government to come clear and sensitize people on what is really happening saying people are having different interpretations to the incident.

“People here are scared to eat the fish in our lake because the department has not stated clearly on why the fish are dying which is our reliable relish here in Karonga. Some people are thinking this is due to uranium from Kayerekera while others say maybe it is from our neighboring country due to the lake dispute,” said Chief Kalonga

Meanwhile Karonga District Commissioner Emmanuel Bambe has asked communities not to eat fish until the fisheries department communicates to them on the way forward.

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