Salima, May 28, 2020.The Department of Fisheries through Nsomba Nchuma Project on Wednesday donated protective equipment to fishermen at Chipoka fishing village in Traditional Authority (TA) Ndindi in Salima.
The project is being implemented in conjunction with Chancellor College.
Speaking during the handover ceremony Director of Fisheries, Friday Njaya, said the equipment is meant to protect fishermen from COVID-19 pandemic.
"When it comes to the fisheries sector, all its activities involve fishermen and where fish is sold there is a lot of interaction between buyers and fishermen. That is why we thought we should protect them from the pandemic," said Njaya.
Njaya said fishermen are at risk of contracting the disease as there is a lot of migration in the industry because they move from one place to another and that they interact a lot.
"We have fishermen themselves and fish processors that are involved. But when it comes to threat it is where selling takes place.
"So, we looked at the whole value chain from fishing, the processors as well as those who go to the market with the fish to ensure that they are all protected," said Njaya.
Speaking after receiving the donation on behalf of the fishermen, TA Ndindi thanked the Department of Fisheries for considering the fishermen whom he said are at high risk.
"They mix with different people every day which puts them at high risk of contracting the disease. We thank you for giving them the protective equipment so that the risk is reduced," said the TA.
The chief then asked the fishermen to put the equipment to good use.
The department will donate such equipment to fishing communities from ten beaches from Salima, Mangochi and Nkhotakota where about 500,000 fishermen are expected to benefit.
The equipment donated included buckets, soap and masks which were donated by IDRC Canada through the Nsomba Nchuma Project.