Fishermen braving the choppy waters in search of their daily bounty


For countless generations, Lake Malawi has been their lifeblood – providing sustenance and a means to make a living.

But fishing communities like this are under threat along the lake shore as overfishing and climate change takes its toll. And now they are facing a new challenge – oil.

The largely dormant dispute resurfaced in 2011, when Malawi awarded a British company, Surestream Petroleum, a licence to drill for oil and gas in the contested territory.

Cassius Chiwambo

Head of Oil and Gas, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining

I know governments of Malawi and Tanzania are actually engaging each other in order to make sure that the impasse is actually closed.

Local fishermen fear the worst. They are worried that oil exploration will pollute the lake, kill the fish and their way of life.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. The government is keen to capitalise on oil. But a local think tank doesn’t seem to harbour much optimism in the current state of the economy.

Dalitso Kubalasa

Executive Director, Malawi Economic Justice Network

We’ve been in the doldrums, I think, for some time. We seem kind of stuck. So we are locked in these political cycles.

The next generation’s fate hinges on the decisions taken by politicians today. So, the concern remains that fishing villages like these may not survive once the oil drilling begins.

Did you get it?

What threatens the fishermen’s way of life apart from oil drilling?

Apart from oil drilling, overfishing and climate change threaten the fishermen’s way of life.

Did you know?

Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique all claim parts of Lake Malawi, which is the third largest in Africa and among the 10 largest lakes in the world.

Need-to-know language

lifeblood: sumber hidup

sustenance: makanan

in the doldrums: perekonomian lesu

make a living: mencari nafkah

way of life: jalan hidup

in the doldrums: perekonomian lesu

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