Congolese fishermen expressed alarm on Saturday at the consequences of fishing with insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets for fish and the fishing environment.
This practice is widespread among a poor population in search of means of subsistence.
Millions of mosquito nets have been distributed to people in many African countries, where malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes, kills several hundred thousand people every year.
In some fishing regions, these mosquito nets have been diverted from their original purpose and used as nets. This is the case, for example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the Congo River and, above all, its tributaries.
“Those who use mosquito nets are exterminating the fish in the rivers”, lamented Dawuda Mawete Tawaba, president of the fishermen of Kwilu province in the west of the DRC.
As well as capturing the fry with their very fine mesh, the product they are impregnated with is toxic to the ecosystem of the rivers, in particular the Kasai, Kwilu and Kwango, which flow through the region, continued Mr Tawaba.
In addition to the mosquito nets, the professional fishermen’s organisations deplore the fact that, although banned, some are using hooks that are too small.