T/A Makanjira bemoans underfunding of fisheries departments

Traditional Authority Makanjira in Salima district has expressed worry over the inadequate money District Fisheries Offices (DFOs)  is getting saying this  is crippling implementation of fishing activities in the districts.

Makanjira made the remarks on Friday during the official launch of the Inter1 Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022) at Chikombe landing site in Salima.

He said DFOs are rendered useless because they fail to discharge their duties efficiently due to lack of funds.

"It is displeasing to note that when you want assistance from DFOs at the Lakeshore area, they always give an excuse of transportation and lack of fuel," he said.

Makanjira said some incidences that occur along the lake and among fisherman are urgent and should be treated as such, however that is not the case because fishermen are held off until DFOs source for transportation and fuel.

The T/A whose area has been successfully implementing a closed season of the Mbenji fishing Island said corruption is another aspect that is crippling the fishing sector.

He said his area has established bylaws that deter perpetrators who stealthily find their way to the lake to catch fish even during the closed season.

"We do not condone money exchanging hands when we are implementing a closed season because we want fish breed so that when we open the lake, everyone should benefit," he said.

Women in the fishing sector showcasing their produce

On this point he said DFOs need to be properly equipped with skills that will assist fishermen and chiefs on how to implement successful breeding seasons.

The IYAFA 2022 launch coincided with the opening of the Mbenji fishing Island in the area of T/A Makanjira.

In her remarks, Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Yanira Mtupanyama said IYAFA 2022 is a historic year in the fisheries sector globally.

She said despite the socio-economic importance of fisheries in the country, the sector is facing challenges including overexploitation, of fish stocks due to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

She agreed with T/A Makanjira on the aspect of underfunding of DFOs saying that adequate funding of the offices will improve capacity in monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing areas.

"As a ministry we recognise the importance of the fisheries department and we would be glad if the department can be receiving adequate funding for smooth implementation of activities," she said.

The IYAFA 2022 focuses on the role that small-scale fishers, fish farmers and fish workers play in food and nutrition security, the eradication of poverty and the sustainable use of natural resources