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.
Keywords: Co-management; Malawi; Fisheries; Participatory; Traditional System, Centralised System
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 of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.