By Chisomo Kambandanga
Nkhata Bay District Council, in partnership with Pact Malawi through Restoring Fisheries for Sustainable Livelihoods (REFRESH) Projectfinanced by USAID, is to embark on a boat registration and marking exercise.
Speaking Friday in an interview after a consultative meeting with traditional leaders drawn from lake shore areas in Nkhata Bay, District Fisheries Officer for the district, Trasicio Ngulube,said the exercise is a step taken in addressing some of the challenges being encountered in fish restoration and conservation in the district.
“The exercise, among other things, will include painting the boats with colour to represent the districts where they come from.
“Traditional leaders in Nkhata Bay have chosen green colour for the district. Another line of colour will be painted below the boats to indicate the Traditional Authority where the boat is based,” said Ngulube.
He therefore urged the fishing communities along the lake shore districts to fully participate in the exercise for the success of the initiative.
Deputy Chief of Party for REFRESH Project, Amakhosi Jere, said fishing activities are facilitated by the use of boats, henceonce the boats are marked, its will be easy to identify them in times of accidents.
“Theft and other criminal acts will be limited and compliance of fishing regulations by fishermen will easily be monitored andenforced,” Jere said.
Senior Assistant Surveyor of vessels from Marine Department, Chikosa Mkandawire, said the exercise is a requirement by law under Section 9 of Inland Waters Act, which stipulates that each boat shall be marked so that it is known by name and port of registry.
“Nkhata Bay District Council will find it easy to collect revenue from the fisheries sector if all the 2,000 boats that operate in Nkhata Bay are registered,” said.
In his remarks, Senior Chief Mkumbira commended government for the exercise, saying the initiative will go a long way in facilitating identification of perpetrators of illegal fishing practices.
“It will also simplify search and rescue exercises in case of accidents,” he said.