This was the last webinar in the 2022 series of monthly events of the research platform V2V (Vulnerability to Viability) to which Mundus maris is a partner. Dr. Friday Njaya, Director of Fisheries in Malawi, presented the key lessons from the development of Transboundary Fisheries Management (TFM) on Lake Chiuta. The lake is shared between Malawi and Mozambique. Since the mid-1990s, fisheries co-management was introduced on the Malawian side of the lake by establishing Beach Village Committees (BVCs).so as to address any issues through greater participation.

The BVCs in Malawi banned the use of seines, because they are destructive to the habitat. However, some gears and practices were allowed in neighbouring Mozambique. The increasing number of seine fishers migrated from Lake Chilwa, which was drying up, and operated their seines (nkacha) in Lake Chiuta. The large numbers of nkachas deployed together with some mosquito nets exerted substantial pressure on the fisher resources in Lake Chiuta, which is important for local food security. The resulting conflicts between the fishing communities of the two countries could not be solved by the traditional chiefs alone.

So what to do? The logical step was to seek cooperation across borders to develop a roadmap towards a solution which would reduce the waste and conflict between communities which affected many people's lives negatively, not to mention the threats to the productivity of the four main harvestable species in the ecosystem. That made a great example of related governance theories.

Therefore, a Transboundary Fisheries Management mechanism was established by Malawian and Mozambican fisheries authorities in 2016. It took quite an effort in three phases to get all parties on board, make use of local indigenous knowledge and social organisation. Government and civil society support was important, but some patrolling was ensured by local communities to enforce the agreement found.

Thankfully, this has reduced the conflicts and made the fishery more viable again. This is not to say, all problems have gone away, especially in the light of climate change and changes in society, but it's a big step forward compared to the open conflicts earlier. Find out more and follow the entire webinar presentation and Q&A session here on YouTube.