Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Ruth Chamangwana
Yup! It’s official. I love fish. From the beautiful patterns embroidered on the skin of the cichlids to the deliciousness of Chambo and usipa (these are types of fish), not forgetting their natural habitat, Lake Malawi, and the wriggling of the tails when they swim in the lake! I am in awe of God’s creation. My community is the best place to learn about fishing. Here are a couple of things you need to have for you to go fishing:
1) The lake (of course). Chipoka has the best part of Lake Malawi so come through.
2) A boat. You can use a canoe, or the boats powered by fuel. Boat rides are phenomenal, and we have beautiful shores in Chipoka, so your guess is right, come to my site for a boat ride!
3) Fishing net. Now, do not use a mosquito net. It traps small fish that need to be given ample time to grow and breed so that our lake does not run out of these beautiful creatures.
4) Clay rocks. You will need rocks that are made from clay that are later burnt to make them firm and last long. The use of these rocks is quite fascinating and intriguing. The clay is mixed with water to mold round rocks that are later burnt. Then comes the interesting part. The size of the rock shows the type of fish that is to be caught. The smaller the rock, the smaller the size of fish. Fish such as Chambo and butter fish are caught using big rocks.
Fishermen use the rocks to support the fishing net once it has been suspended into the water. The outer ends of the fishing net are connected to the rocks and once the net has been thrown into the lake, the net is held to the ground so that it does not float back to the top of the lake. Brilliant!
My host mother is one of the pioneers of this business in my site. She has been molding these rocks for more than five years now. My host mother sells the rocks from K10 to K50.
She has been able to buy iron sheets for her house from this business and she is able to provide food for her family. Sometimes the fishermen exchange fish for the rocks so it is a win/win situation. Fishing is rampant in my area and I am glad that the fisheries department is doing all it takes to make sure that fishermen use the right fishing mechanisms so that our fish species do not become extinct in our lake. So, if you feel like fishing is a calling to you, let me know. I will dish out all the things I know about fishing, but you will have to come fish in my site, Chipoka.