Title: Review of management measures for Lake Chilwa, Malawi

Author(s): Friday Jack Njaya
Final project
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This paper reviews management measures for Lake Chilwa, which is a highly variable ecosystem. The seasonal and periodic water level fluctuations of the lake pose some challenges in applying the conventional fisheries management models, with the aim of achieving sustainable yields. There is need to review the four-month closed season for the seine fishery through research to maximize utilization of the commercial Barbus paludinosus. The gill net fishery requires control through enforcement of mesh sizes set at a minimum of 69 mm to facilitate recovery of Oreochromis shiranus stocks which collapsed after the 1995 recession. As a shared ecosystem, any management plan needs to incorporate a common management strategy between Malawi and Mozambique. Conflicts on the use of water from the catchment areas for agricultural production and domestic use should also be considered in the plan. Issues on pollution and other environmental issues should be addressed through a proper enforceable legal framework. The on-going co-management arrangement should be consolidated and some of the local level institutions should be transformed into co-operative societies for equity of the benefits and efficiency of the management of the fisheries resources. An adaptive management strategy is recommended for the variable ecosystem.

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