Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka, has reminded the people along the lake shore on the need to proactively protect the fisheries resource in order to preserve fish species and fish stock.
Speaking in Nkhata Bay on Wednesday where he presided over a hand over ceremony of 23 motorcycles worth over K60 million to the fisheries sector which have been donated by Ripple Africa, the minister said fisheries contributes four percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Malawi and as such it calls for all stakeholders to intensify efforts on the preservation of fish and fish resources.
Mkaka said: “Fisheries sector play an important role in food and nutrition security, sustainable livelihoods, provision of employment and poverty reduction in Malawi.”
He added that capture fisheries sub-sector alone provides over 70,000 direct employment to people involved in commercial fishing and over one million people derive their livelihoods from fish processing, marketing, boat building, engine repair and fishing input supplies, creating about one million jobs in the process, 60 percent of whom are women involved in small scale businesses.
He expressed concern that gains made in fisheries sector are under threat because of use of illegal fishing gears and other environmentally unfriendly practices such as wanton cutting down of trees for firewood or charcoal.
Mkaka, therefore, commended Ripple Africa for assisting government in environment, including fish preservation, education and health for the last 10 years.
Country Director for Ripple Africa, Force Ngwira said his organisation had seen some gaps in fisheries extension services created by lack of mobility to reach Beach Village Committees (BVCs) on the part of the fisheries department hence procurement of the bicycles.
Ripple Africa has worked with 333 BVCs in Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Salima and Mangochi.
credits: Malawi government page