Department of Fisheries in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry in Nkhata Bay have enhanced their efforts in enforcing the banning business of mono-filament nets and their use for fishing.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), after visiting some shops which sell the nets in the district, Enforcement Officer at the Fisheries Department, Evance Malata said that the team has set March 31, 2023, as a deadline date for all shops to finish their stalk.
He said that those who would be found continuing to sell the nets would face the law.
“These nets are non-biodegradable so much so that when they are lost whilst fishing or dumped into the water they pose serious threats to aquatic life. As such, from 1 April, with help from the police we will be arresting those found in possession of the mono-filaments,” Malata pointed out.
He added that culprits would serve jail terms as there was neither bail nor fine condition to all found on the wrong side of the law.
“To a larger extent, we would like to work with these vendors in identifying who supplies them the nets so that we get to the root of the problem,” the Officer said.
Acting Director of Trade and Industry for Nkhata Bay District Council, Thanira Gondwe, said his office does not provide business certificates for the selling of the nets in contention.
He said mono-filament nets are smuggled into or illegally produced within the country so everyone mostly the security service providers needs to be proactive if the vice is to be addressed.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the shop owners who accepted to be in possession of the nets said he was ready to abandon the trade for the good of the country as was ready to help in identifying the net suppliers.
The government in accordance with the Fisheries Conservation Act of 1997 Section 3, (1)(b) does not allow the use of mono-filament nets in all water bodies as they pose threats to aquatic life.