Protecting Malawi cichlidsby Ad Konings / continued part 5—
In 2006 a group of concerned Malawians were awarded a concession to “develop” the Maleri islands by establishing a camp on Nankoma Island, a lodge on Maleri Island, and a single cottage on Nakantenga Island. They had to build everything in agreement to the natural settings and where possible restore the original flora and fauna. There were also given “control” over the enforcement of the no-fishing zone around the islands and had to expel the illegal squatters. This group, called Waterlands, was initially funded by the Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust (MEET) as they understood that local control of the over-fishing situation would be more effective. Two main performers of this group, Nigel Cheal and Alan Pitman, set to develop and employ Anti Netting Devices (ANDs) that would hinder the illegal fishermen from pulling a net at any point in the no-fishing zone around the three islands.
The first were set at the end of 2006 and after a few months had to be removed because too many bits of netting had accumulated around the device that it became ineffective catching additional nets. October 2007 more than 150 of these devices were protecting the cichlids around the Maleri islands. Most of these net-traps are suspended in the water by a thick steel cable attached to a very large anchor. The anchor either consists of a large boulder or, in sandy areas, of a large drum-size cylinder (made up of old tobacco thresher baskets welded together to form a cylinder) that will be filled underwater with rocks and to which the floating trap is attached (see photo).