Collective effort needed if the country is to improve fish stocks-LUANAR

One of the key activities under the project is to prepare and deliver participatory ecosystem approaches to fisheries management trainings

The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) through the Aquaculture and Fisheries Science Department, together with its partners, is implementing a Capacity Building project on Ecosystem Approaches to Fisheries Management (EAFM) for Inland Fisheries (IF) in Malawi funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

One of the key activities under the project is to prepare and deliver participatory ecosystem approaches to fisheries management trainings for inland fisheries in the country and the first one was held in Lilongwe, at Ufulu Gardens from Monday to Friday this week.  

According to Head of Aquaculture and Fisheries Science Department at Luanar, Dr Austin Mtethiwa, the project is aimed at building capacity of inland fishery management authorities, fisheries stakeholders and decision makers at District and National levels in participatory planning at the ecosystem level saying that this is critical for building consensus on actions to sustain or improve inland fisheries. 

“The training was designed to equip participants with practical and effective means to manage fisheries more holistically through the ecosystem approach which represents a move away from traditional fisheries management which focuses on target species, to systems approach that balances environmental, human and social wellbeing within improved governance frameworks,” he said.

He added that the workshop comes as a follow up to the EAFm Inland fisheries training course that was piloted in Mangochi in March 2019 and was also supported by the FAO/GEF project “Building climate change resilience in the fisheries sector in Malawi”.  

Luanar’s Professor in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science and team leader for the FAO funded EAFM, Professor Emmanuel Kaunda, said management of fisheries requires building capacity of stakeholders to understand interrelatedness of activities in their fields.

 “For the country to improve on the fish stock in its water bodies, there is need for collective efforts by different stakeholders in the Fisheries and associated sectors in managing the fisheries ecosystems; especially those who deal with catchment processes, communities, gender issues, tourism etc to work together to improve the fish stocks which are already dwindling within our lake Malawi and other lakes,” said Kaunda.

In his opening remarks Director of Fisheries, Dr Friday Njaya, emphasized on the importance of EAFM  and informed participants that this was  complimentary to the Participatory Fisheries Management which has been implemented in the early 90s. 

One of the participants Jamila Daudi from African Parks commended Luanar and partners for the training saying she has acquired necessary skills and knowledge which she will apply in her work.

 “I will be able to deliver extension messages to the communities that I work with on the effective management of natural resources to benefit the present and future generations. I will be able to effectively do this through the various approaches and skills that I have learnt from this training,” she said.

Another participant from Malawi College of Forestry, Dan Ndalowa said the training was an eye opener as well as a refresher in ways of community engagement to sustainably manage resources.

LUANAR partnered with MRAG Ltd, Leadership for Environment and Development Southern and Eastern Africa (LEAD SEA) and Expert from South Africa (Professor Kevern Cochrane) in implementing this project.