Soft Mkolongo is a fisherman in Malawi. He started fishing in 1995 but by 2001 noticed that he was catching fewer fish and smaller ones too.
Since the introduction of the local bylaws, fishermen like Soft have to follow the closed season which is between October and December. This means no fishing with nets but they can use lines to catch fish.
During the fishing season, we have encouraged fishing communities to set up village banks and for fishermen like Soft to save their earnings.
He said, “By following the bylaws it means I am now catching more and bigger fish outside of the close season. This means I can save money in the village bank during February to October saving on average 13,000MK (£12/$17) a week. This sustains me and my family during the closed season. With my savings I have been able to build a house and a boat, and pay school fees. I am also farming during the closed season so this brings me food too.”