TANZANIA – Major players in the Tanzanian fishing sector are calling for a heightened focus on quality assurance throughout the fisheries value chain, spanning from harvesting stocks to transportation, trade, and value addition, especially for the local market.

The push for quality comes after an 8-year intervention in the fisheries value chain, led by the German government through GIZ, involving both public and private actors.

The Responsible Fisheries Business Chains Project, part of the intervention, specifically targeted artisanal fishers, processors, traders, and small to medium enterprises in the fishery sector.

The aim was to improve fish stocks, trade, and value addition around Lake Victoria and Kyoga, potentially stabilizing employment in the sector if best practices are consistently upheld.

Moses Tenywa, a Business Development Service trainer for Fish Value Addition, emphasized the significance of the fish sector as a major employer, urging the streamlining of practices to avoid rendering many jobless.

Over the past four years, GIZ, in collaboration with the Directorate of Fisheries, actively promoted business development services, leading to the active participation of more communities and associations in the sector’s value chains.

Adolf Gerstl, Project Leader of the Responsible Fisheries Business Chains Project, revealed that over 2,800 people have been trained under these services, with more than 30,000 boats registered, contributing to eliminating illegal practices and improving fish stocks.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, through the Directorate of Fisheries, stated that a foundation has been laid for enhanced coordination among sector players, potentially boosting the overall performance of the fisheries industry.

The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation expressed optimism that sustained compliance with quality standards would lead to an expansion of earnings from the fisheries sector.

Meanwhile, Zanzibar President Dr. Hussein Mwinyi highlighted the need for collaborative efforts to combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Tanzania during the commemoration of World Fisheries Day.

The president, represented by Zanzibar Second Vice-President Hemed Suleiman Abdalla, stressed the ongoing efforts to empower fishers through skill development, capital provision, modern equipment, and market access.

Dr. Mwinyi outlined plans to invest more funds in the fishing industry, citing the purchase of fishing boats and carrier vessels as part of recovery efforts.

“After practicing environmentally friendly fishing, we embark on the value chain of the fisheries and marine products resources,” he said.

Minister for Livestock and Fisheries in the Union government, Abdallah Khamis Ulega, affirmed commitment to empowering small fishers and seaweed farmers, highlighting the licensing of over 179,000 fishers in the mainland to boost their income.

The World Food Programme (WFP) Resident Country Director, Sara Golden Gipson, acknowledged WFP’s contribution to Zanzibar’s economic development in the fisheries sector, particularly in empowering women through capacity building and other projects.