The study focused at mapping of informal fish routes used by fish traders in cross border fish trade between Malawi and neighboring countries. A route labelling method using questionnaire survey and observation as described by Ramming (2002) was adopted and used for the study where GPS coordinates for boundary entry and exit points were captured and uploaded in ArcGIS as a shape file. GoogleEarth ® was used to get points for sources and destinations of fish products away from the data collection sites through marking of placements on all interacting points. The results indicate that fish traders involved in informal cross border trade leave the formal routes when approaching the border sites and use routes that bypass the border sites and rejoin the main route after crossing the official border sites. Fish traders use informal routes because of excessive government protocols for formal cross border fish trade, availability of unmonitored exit and entry points, lack of required travel documents for importing and exporting fish products, and tax avoidance. The study recommends that the Fishery Authorities and NonGovernmental Organizations’ (NGOs) in the fisheries sector should facilitate review and amendment of cross border trade related policies that are perceived to be restrictive by fish traders, deploy vehicles to border posts for regular patrols along informal fish trade routes and encourage informal fish traders to form clubs or associations to reduce the cost of licensing with department of fisheries as resources will be poured together.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Working document series