Lake Malawi, between Malawi and Tanzania, has long been home to an extraordinary variety of fish. But the most important species in Africa's third largest lake is almost extinct, a result of unscrupulous over-fishing and population growth.
The "chambo", a cichlid fish native to Lake Malawi, has long been the locals’ main source of protein. But for some years now, fishing on the western shore of the lake has been a struggle because of depleted stocks. German scientists are helping devise solutions to the problem while preventing desperate locals from overfishing other species in the lake. One option is to focus on the country’s traditional, small fish ponds and ensure they are managed efficiently and sustainably. Marine biologist Bernd Ueberschär and molecular biologist Marina Gebert have developed a project called "I love fish" which is currently being implemented in cooperation with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture. The researchers want to find better ways of breeding the "chambo" sustainably. They’re also developing so-called aquaponics systems, where farmers can grow vegetables in the same water as the fish. And even use fish excrement as fertilizer! Solutions that will help tackle Malawi’s malnutrition - its "hidden hunger".