It was really exciting to pilot the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFm) for Inland Fisheries in Mangochi, Malawi in March. Together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), IMA International was involved in modifying the standard EAFM marine-focused course to address the diversity of inland fisheries contexts. For this workshop we focused on the southern arm of Lake Malawi and neighbouring Lake Malombe, where the livelihoods of fisher communities are affected by inappropriate fishing and farming practices, often with poor governance, and exacerbated by climate change. The workshop was hosted FAO FiRM Project which will be using the EAFM approach to build climate change resilience in the fisheries sector in Malawi.
The workshop was facilitated by Rick Gregory and Silvia Capezzuoli of IMA, together with FAO senior fisheries resource officers. 27 participants from Department of Fisheries, universities, INGOs, representatives from small scale fisher sub-associations and the FiRM project team worked collaboratively for five days, developing draft fisheries management plans.
From a learning and sharing perspective, they all valued the rare opportunity to share experiences, and learn from and with colleagues from diverse institutions.
From a content perspective, participants really appreciated the holistic approach of EAFm, which considers the management of fisheries from the broad lens of i) ecological well-being (both the fisheries resources and the wider habitat/ environment; ii) human wellbeing (health, socio-economic, social) and iii) governance.
The practical, hands-on nature of this course means that those participants who are involved in facilitating the development of plans; those who co-develop plans, and regularly engage with fishers, traditional authorities and other key stakeholders, acquire and practise the skills and tools they need.