The artisanal fishery of Metangula, Lake Malawi/Niassa, East Africa

  • José S Halafo IIP–Fisheries Research Institute, 389 Mao-TsE9-Tung Avenue, PO Box 4603, Maputo, Mozambique
  • Robert E Hecky Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo ON N2L 3G1, Canada
  • William D Taylor Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo ON N2L 3G1, Canada
Keywords: artisanal fisheries, Lake Malawi, Lake Niassa, Lake Nyasa


The artisanal fishery of Metangula, on the remote Mozambique coast of Lake Malawi/Niassa, was studied for four months during the rainy season from December 1998 to March 1999. Catch, catch composition and fishing effort were determined for the most important gear types. The different gears exploited different stocks of fish. Copadichromis spp. were caught mostly in deep-water seine (chirimila) nets and accounted for >50% of the total catch. Oreochromis spp. were the major catch in the beach seine fishery. Labeo mesops and Opsaridium microcephalus were the most important catches in gill nets. The catfishes Bathyclarias spp. and Bagrus meridionalis dominated the long line fishery. Since 1983 there has been a considerable increase in fishing effort. The number of beach seines, chirimila nets and long lines increased 2.8 times, 2.9 times and 2.5 times, respectively, and there was a four-fold increase in the number of gear owners and fishing assistants. Comparison with data for Chembe Village in Malawi indicates that the fish populations at Metangula are not yet as impacted as they are on the populous and accessible Malawi coast. Some constraints on the fishery include the lack of management and financial support, poor gear and infrastructure, and the lack of access to markets.

African Journal of Aquatic Science 2004, 29(1): 83–90

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9364
print ISSN: 1608-5914