Ali Selimane, Omuive CBNRM
Fishing with a mosquito net seems to be the cheaper alternative for fishermen in the Angoche estuary. After all, these are given to pregnant women for free in the local hospitals with the intention of guarding them against Malaria. Real fishing nets are expensive and there’s a market for the small, dry fish that can only be caught with mosquito nets. But fishermen are also noticing that they now have to go farther and farther to catch fish. There aren’t any big fish in the estuary, which is closest to them, and now they have to go to the open ocean more often just to get enough food to eat at home. Ali Selimane lives in Omuive. He was one of the fishermen using mosquito nets to fish.
“I used mosquito nets to fish because they allowed me to get the smaller fish, I had no knowledge that what I was doing was wrong,” Ali said. The goal for fishermen like Ali is to get big fish because, according to him, people feel good when they eat big fish. Smaller fish simply do not provide enough nutritional value to the always numerous families living in the estuary, and it is really a shame for fishermen who live surrounded by the ocean not to be able to provide enough fish to, at the very least, sustain their families.
Ali knew that the fishing practices he was using were harming the environment. When he heard of the Community Based Natural Resource Management Committee (CBNRM) in his community, he decided to join in order to make a difference, changing his harmful fishing techniques and making sure to switch to more sustainable practices.
Omuive is one of the most populous communities in the Koty Island. 1,463 families live there and all of them depend exclusively on fishing because there’s no farming land. Getting enough food is proving increasingly challenging because of climate change and fish scarcity in the estuary. The CBNRMs established throughout the communities in the Angoche estuary, aim to alleviate fish scarcity by promoting the use of fishing nets instead of mosquito nets, mangrove replanting, and providing strategies to help the population in case of natural disasters.
Now that Ali has joined the committee, he no longer uses mosquito nets to fish. It is not every day that he gets fish, but now he knows that taking the small fish and the eggs means that these won’t develop into the big fish that he likes to eat. The bigger fish is not only more nutritious, but it also has a better market value. Before, he would get only 5 MTCs for a handful of little fish, but now he can get 100 MTCs (almost 3 dollars) for a big fish.
When he catches other fishermen using mosquito nets to fish, he knows exactly what to tell them. He likes that he is now an example to follow in his community.
“I inform them that the practices they are using aren’t good ones. I burnt my mosquito net and now I am getting big fish. My family really likes it too,” Ali said.