Malawi-Mozambique fish wars on Lake Chiuta refuse to die as Mozambican fishermen continue practicing illegal fishing in the lake assisted by armed soldiers.
This was revealed recently by the Lake Chiuta Fish Association during an interface meeting held with the Department of Fisheries staff, Fisheries Integration of Society and Habitats (Fish) Project officials and other stakeholders.
Chairperson of Lake Chiuta Fish Association, Matias Mainala said, so far, three people have survived gun shoots, a development he said is putting the lives of Malawi fishermen and other officials at risk.
“Lake Chiuta is our gold here but what is happening is that some fishermen from Mozambique are also fishing in the Lake on the other side where there is a boundary. This time around they are using Mozambique soldiers whom they corrupt only to protect them when fishing in the Lake,” said Mainala adding that discussions are currently underway between Malawi and Mozambique to reverse the trend.
Commenting on the matter, Machinga District Fisheries Officer (DFO), George Mwadzaangati confirmed that the disagreements between Malawi and Mozambique fishermen started way back but said progress is being made to sort out the differences.
Mwadzaangati said in 2016, a high powered Malawi delegation went to Mozambique on the same matter where a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on how to work together and end the differences.
“We meet twice every year with the Mozambique team to discuss this matter since it is serious in nature and considering how Mozambique fishermen are conducting their businesses in Lake Chiuta,” he said.
On his part, Deputy Director of Fisheries in the department of Fisheries, Dr Steve Donda said the fishing matter between Malawi and Mozambique only requires understanding on the part of Mozambique saying discussions between the two countries will continue until the disagreements are over.
Lake Chiuta plays a significant role in the lives of people that have surrounded the lake using it as their source of food and income.