Mangochi — The Ministry of Agriculture through the Department of Fisheries has acknowledged that child labour and HIV/Aids are affecting the fishing industry since most of the fishermen are dying of HIV/Aids pandemic.
Speaking with Malawi News Agency (Mana) assistant district fisheries officer in Mangochi, Francis Phiri, said most of the people who are fishing in Lake Malawi are children who are supposed to be in school and that they spend most of their time fishing thereby contracting HIV/Aids in the process.
Phiri alleged that the practice of fish for sex was fuelling the spread of HIV and Aids among local fishermen in traditional fishing areas of Malawi.
"It is quite evident that fishermen do make a lot of money and instead of using it productively they end up engaging in extra marital affairs which leads them to contracting the Aids causing virus, HIV," Phiri observed.
Phiri further said it was common to find people employing young children along Lake Malawi which is contrary to the laws of the Republic of Malawi.
He added the fisheries sector has since intensified awareness campaigns along shores of Lake Malawi in an attempt to educate fishermen on the dangers of employing young children and having extra marital status which lead to loss of life of fishermen who were important to the development process of the country.
Speaking at the same meeting, District Agriculture Development Officer for Mangochi, Nepier Kaliwo thanked the fisheries department for the initiative of the campaign along the lake so that people living along the shores could change their mindset and behaviour in the process.
"Fisheries is one of the key departments in agriculture which is very much taken care of and government is trying to improve the fishing industry in Malawi," Kaliwo said.
Mangochi is one of the districts in Malawi which lie along Shire River, Lakes Malawi and Malombe respectively. Maldeco Fisheries Company is also located in the district doing most of the marketing of fish in Malawi.