The Department of Fisheries on Tuesday confiscated over 58 kilograms of Oreochromis species of fish commonly known as Kasawala or baby Chambo from Nkhotakota Market, saying the fishermen caught the fish illegally.
District Fisheries Officer (DFO,) Rodgers Makwinja confirmed with Malawi News Agency (Mana) that his office confiscated illegal Kasawala from the market following a patrol conducted by the fisheries enforcement section.
He said Chambo also known as maternal mouth brooding cichlids, a subgenus Nyasalapia of the genius Oreochromis species is experiencing a serious threat of extinction from Lake Malawi due to illegal fishing such as catching fish before they mature.
“Chambo fish is also at the verge of extinction due to massive destruction of breeding and nursery sites. Not only that, but water quality degradation due to heavy siltation caused by poor cultivation methods which is experienced in the upland is also causing a serious threat to Chambo’s life in Lake Malawi,” said the DFO.
Makwinja said that it was pity to note that Chambo which contributed 70 percent of the total catch from the lake is now at less than five percent.
“Statistics show that in 1970 Chambo contributed 70 percent of the total landings. But the catches have currently reduced to less than five percent,” he said.
He however, said the department of fisheries has partnered with Ripple Africa to control the poor fish farming practices thereby regulating the bleeding and flow of fish in the country.
“Following this negative trend, Nkhotakota is implementing a fish conservation project with Ripple Africa with the aim of protecting baby Chambo hence restoring the health biodiversity of the species,” he said.
Makwinja explained that the confiscated fish was later on donated to Nkhotakota District Hospital.