Fisheries Conservation and Management Act
- Commenced on 1 October 1998
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2014.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"aquaculture establishment" means any area, enclosure, impoundment, premise or structure set up or used on or in land or water for the cultivation of freshwater fish and includes any cage or raft or other structure used for the cultivation of fish;"Board" means the Fisheries Advisory Board established under section 5;"commercial fisherman" means—(a)in the case of an individual, a person who is engaged or intends to engage in fishing for sale throughout, the year or a specified season or part of a season each year and who relies on his fishing activities for part of his income; or(b)in the case of a corporate body or association of persons, one that has an appreciable investment in the fishing industry or intends to make one;"commercial fishing" means, taking fish for sale;"convention" includes a treaty, agreement or other arrangement;"convention area" means, in relation to any bilateral or multilateral convention, the area to which the convention relates;"convention fisheries officer" means a person appointed by the government of another country to enforce, or having power under the laws of another country to enforce, a convention that provides for the safeguarding or conduct of fishing operations or operations ancillary thereto to which Malawi is a party;"convention fishing vessel" means a fishing vessel registered in a country which is a party to a convention to which Malawi is also a party;"Director" means the Director of Fisheries appointed pursuant to section 3;"fish" means any vertebrate fish or any aquatic crustacean, mollusc or other shellfish or other coldblooded aquatic animal, whether alive or dead, and their young, fry, eggs or spawn and shells and parts thereof but does not include any reptile;"fisheries protection officer" means the Director and any of the fisheries protection officers referred to in section 3 (7);"fishing" means—(a)the catching or taking of fish;(b)any other activity which can reasonably be expected to result in the catching or taking of fish; or(c)any operation on water in support of or in preparation for any activity described in paragraphs (a) and (b);"fisheries management authority" means any local community organization established for the purposes of promoting local participation in the conservation and management of fisheries in Malawi;"fishing licence" includes a fishing permit issued under this Act;"fishing vessel" means any vessel, of whatever size and in whatever way propelled, used in fishing operations or for the processing, storage or carriage of fish or any operation (including transhipment of fish) ancillary thereto, but does not include any vessel used for the transport of fish or fish products as part of a general cargo;"fishing waters" means—(a)all waters within the land borders of Malawi capable of supporting fish; and(b)those parts of Lake Malawi over which Malawi exercises sovereignty;"foreign fishing vessel" means any fishing vessel other than a local fishing vessel or a convention fishing vessel;"forest officer" has the same meaning as in the Forest Act;[Cap. 63:01]"Fund" means the Fisheries Fund established under section 22;"large scale commercial fisherman" means a commercial fisherman prescribed as such;"local fishing vessel" means any fishing vessel—(a)wholly owned by one or more persons ordinarily resident in Malawi; or(b)wholly owned by a company society or association of persons incorporated in or established under the laws of Malawi and controlled by one or more persons ordinarily resident in Malawi;"master", in relation to a fishing vessel, includes the person in command or in charge of the fishing operations on board the vessel;"processing", in relation to fish, includes cleaning, filleting, icing, freezing, canning, salting, smoking, cooking, pickling, drying or otherwise preserving or preparing fish by any method;"processing establishment" means any premises or vessel on or in which any fish is processed or stored but does not include any restaurant, hotel or eating house or any premises where fish is prepared and stored for sale by retail to the public;"registrable vessel" means a vessel prescribed as being subject to registration under this Act;"small scale commercial fisherman" means a commercial fisherman other than a large scale commercial fisherman;"transhipment of fish" includes the passing of fish from one fishing vessel to another, whether or not the fish has first been taken on board the vessel from which the fish is passed;"vessel" means a steamer, motor vessel, launch, boat, canoe, hovercraft, submersible or floating craft of any description;"wildlife officer" has the same meaning as in the National Parks and Wildlife Act.[Cap. 66:07]
Part II – Administration
3. The Director of Fisheries and Fisheries protection officers
4. Honorary fisheries officers
5. Fisheries Advisory Board
6. Functions of the BoardThe Board shall advise the Minister generally on the development, administration, conservation and management of the fisheries of Malawi and shall in particular—
Part III – Local community participation
7. Purposes of this PartThe purpose of this Part is to provide for local community participation in conservation and management of fisheries in Malawi; and
8. Fisheries management agreement
9. Minister may make rules
Part IV – Registration of local registrable fishing vessels
10. Registration of local registrable fishing vessels
11. Control of fishing by registrable local fishing vessels
Part V – Foreign fishing vessels
12. Fishing by foreign fishing vessels prohibited without a licence
13. Notification of fish on board by foreign fishing vessels entering fishing waters
Part VI – Fishing licences, conditions and other controls
14. Prohibition of commercial fishing without a licence
15. Grant of fishing licences and conditions relating thereto
16. Illegal holding of fish
17. Stowage of gear
18. Transhipment and export of fish
Part VII – Special arrangements
19. Fisheries research permits, etc
Part VIII – Aquaculture
20. Establishment and operation of aquaculture
21. Aquaculture permits
Part IX – Fisheries Fund
22. Establishment of Fisheries Fund
23. Fund to vest in MinisterThe Fund shall be vested in the Minister and, subject to this Act, shall be administered in accordance with his directions subject to the provisions of the Finance and Audit Act.[Cap. 37:01]
24. Advances to the FundIf in any financial year the income of the Fund together with any surplus income brought forward from a previous year is insufficient to meet the actual or estimated liabilities of the Fund, the Minister responsible for finance may make advances to the Fund in order to meet the deficiency or any part thereof.
25. Objects of the FundThe objects for which the Fund is established shall be the conservation, development, promotion, management and administration of fisheries and fish habitats and to start, operate and expand projects relating to management or conservation of fisheries and fish habitats.
26. Application of the Fund
27. Books and other records of account, audited reports of the Fund
28. Holdings of the Fund
29. Financial yearThe Financial year of the Fund shall be the period of twelve months ending on 31st March in each year:Provided that the first financial year of the Fund may be a period shorter or longer than twelve months as the Minister shall determine, but in any case not longer than eighteen months.
Part X – Enforcement
30. General powers of fisheries protection officers relating to fishing vessels
31. Powers of inspection
32. Powers of search, seizure, demolition and arrest
33. Warrant to enter a dwelling place
34. Fisheries protection officer to give receiptA fisheries protection officer who seizes any fish or other thing under section 30 or 32 shall, where feasible, give a written receipt therefor.
35. Control of weirs
36. Powers of fisheries protection officers and convention fisheries officers to enforce conventions
37. IndemnityNo civil or criminal action shall lie against the Director, a public officer, a fisheries protection officer, an honorary fisheries officer, a convention fisheries officer or any other person acting under the authority of the Director in respect of any act done or omitted to be done by him in good faith in the purported exercise of his powers under this Act if there shall have been reasonable cause for such act or omission.
38. Security for release of a fishing vessel
39. Disposal of seized fish and other perishables
40. Persons arrested, etc., be brought before Court
Part XI – Prohibitions and offences
41. Prohibition of transfer, etc., of fish
42. Prohibited fishing methods
43. Pollution, etc., of rivers, streams, lakes or other parts of the fishing waters
44. Obstruction, etc., of fisheries protection officers
45. Offences, penalties and proceedings
Part XII – Court proceedings, administrative proceedings and penalties
46. Jurisdiction of magistrate’s courts
47. Convention offences
48. Liability of members of companies, etc.Where any offence under this Act is committed by a company or by any member of a partnership, firm or business, society or association of persons, every director or officer of that company or any other member of the partnership or other person concerned with the management of such partnership, firm or business, society or association of persons shall be liable for the offence unless he proves to the satisfaction of the Court that—
49. Forfeiture of licence, permit or registrationUpon the conviction of any person of an offence under this Act, the court shall, in addition to any other penalty provided for in this Act, forfeit any licence, permit or registration granted or made under this Act and any fees paid for that licence, permit or registration, and the convicted person shall be ineligible, for a period of three years from the day of the conviction, to holding any such licence or permit or of being so registered under this Act.
50. Administrative penalties
51. Detention or forfeiture of fishing vessel on failure to pay fine
Part XIII – International co-operation in fisheries
52. Fisheries access agreements
53. Cross-border managementFor the proper management of cross-border fisheries, the Director may produce management plans which lead to the realization of common fisheries goals in shared bodies of water.
54. Regional foraImplementation of common plans may be reviewed in bilateral or regional fora, such as Joint Permanent Commissions of Cooperation and the Southern Africa Development Community.
55. Implementation of agreementsThe Minister may, on the recommendation of the Board, specify by an order published in the Gazette, the measures for the proper implementation of relevant provisions of any agreement on fisheries to which Malawi is a party.
Part XIV – Miscellaneous
56. Applications, fees and charges
57. Suspension or cancellation of registration, licences or permits
58. Appeals against suspension, cancellation or variation of registrations, licences or permits
59. Fishing districts and district fees
60. Statistical information
62. Repeal and savings
History of this document
01 October 1998