Small-scale fishers in Karonga District have commended the Department of Fisheries for initiating the development of the National Plan of Action for the fistheries industry.
Speaking in an interview on Thursday, Chipamila Fishing Beach chairperson Abdul Phiri said through the plan, they expect fishers’ livelihoods to improve, thereby contributing to the country’s socio-economic development.
He said: “It is true that fishers lack investment practices and financial management skills coupled with a saving culture, which leads to alcohol abuse and promiscuity.
“We lack proper fish processing structures and capacity building on the importance of life-saving jackets and the need to comply with authorities on best practices of preserving fish.”
In an interview, Department of Fisheries deputy director responsible for community outreach services Sabstone Unyolo said the plan will enhance collaboration of government institutions at district level to tackle issues affecting the growth of the fish industry.
“Currently, key findings include gender in terms of low representation of women in the fishing value chain, weak collaboration between district fisheries officers and other government officials, how to deal with climate change and disasters, governance of tenure and post-harvest and trade so that we boost the industry,” he said.
Karonga district gender development officer Ireen Mwenelupembe said there is need for awareness to eliminate some cultural practices that prohibit women participation in the fish industry.
She said: “It is time to eradicate cultural beliefs and practices that restrict women’s participation in the value chain and economically empower them to have the financial muscle to participate in the industry.
“We will re-programme activities to mainstream gender in fisheries value chain and make the environment conducive for women participation.”
With financial support from Norad, Food and Agriculture Organisation is supporting the Department of Fisheries to develop the National Plan of Action on small-scale fishing.