Mangochi district fisheries officer Nevarson Msusa has said they are failing to enforce the closed fishing season on Lake Malawi due to a breakdown of a patrol boat.
In an interview on Wednesday, he said enforcing regulations is effective when the boat is operational.
Msusa said Mangochi District Council resorted to using constitutional laws instead of the district’s by-laws which had expired after their formulation in 2017.
He said: “The participatory approach of regulating closed season as contained in the district’s by-laws was the best approach because it carried on board various partners, including beach village committees (BVCs) and sub-fisheries association.
“These stakeholders are close to the fishers and are, therefore, effective in monitoring and enforcing regulations.”
Msusa said they are disadvantaged with the constitutional laws as it is government departments which have to enforce regulations on the lake.
However, he said the closed season helps to protect parent fish as well as juveniles from fishers, as such, ensuring conservation of species.
A member of Msaka BVC at Cape Maclear in Mangochi, Chinyang’anya Mphande, urged the committee to do more to enforce the regulations.
“Previously, BVCs were mandated to confiscate unauthorised fishing gear and fine noncompliant fishers,” he said.
However, Mphande said things have changed this year, as they were advised to only monitor and inform the Fisheries Department of any breach in fishing regulations during the closed season.
Fishing on the lake is closed from November 1 to December 31 for small-scale fishers who use methods that disturb the fish breeding period.
The second phase starts from December to February, targeting commercial fishers.