Fish resource management system in Malawi has undergone several changes for nearly a century. The
conventional centralised fisheries management system was introduced after the colonial rule through a mandated Fisheries
Department, taking over the whole responsibility of controlling exploitation of fisheries resources from the traditional
powers. The major focus at that time was on fisheries development whereby technologies on fishing methods, fishing gears
and craft were being introduced to exploit the fisheries resources. However, by late 1980s, fish catches of commercial
Oreochromis spp. in Lake Malombe began to decline. This was due to a number of factors such as the uncontrolled increase
in fishing effort, environmental degradation and limited capacity of the Fisheries Department to enforce regulations.
Consequently, the declining catch levels of Oreochromis spp. in Lake Malombe necessitated a refocus of the fisheries
management system in order to facilitate recovery of the collapsed fishery. A pilot participatory fisheries management
programme was therefore introduced in 1993. This is a co-management arrangement whereby local level representative
institutions called Beach Village Committees (BVCs) and the Department of Fisheries (DoF) are considered key partners
and jointly make decisions. This paper, therefore, highlights the challenges and potential of fisheries co-management
programmes in Malawi and proposes a way forward for improvement.
Njaya, F.J. The Challenges and Potential of the Fisheries Co-Management Programmes in Malawi: Case of Lake Malombe Participatory Fisheries Management Programme. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults:Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute ofFisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. InternationalInstitute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.