TANZANIA – Deputy Prime Minister Dr Doto Biteko has issued a directive to the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and its associated institutions, emphasizing the pivotal role of the fisheries sector in eradicating poverty in Tanzania.

This directive came during an event marking the 40th Anniversary of the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) held in Dar es Salaam on Friday.

Dr. Biteko stressed the need for collaboration between the ministry and its affiliated institutions, including TAFIRI, to make the fisheries sector a crucial driver in alleviating poverty.

“The ministry and all institutions including TAFIRI should collaborate to ensure the fisheries sector becomes a critical factor for doing away with poverty,” Dr Biteko said.

“You need to boost our exports by expanding the scope of fisheries products to generate foreign direct investments (FDIs) which have lately posed a big challenge to the economies of the country and across the globe.”

In his address, Dr Biteko added the significance of conserving the environment and maintaining sustainable water sources since the fisheries sector heavily relies on the availability of such resources.

He warned that ecological and environmental damage could undermine the country’s poverty alleviation efforts.

“The fisheries sector has a great potential and fast-growing, indicating that in the previous financial year fish exports accumulated US$168 million and in the current year the country has already exported fish amounting to US$249 million,” he noted.

“Although the contribution is huge but more needs to be done…all fish products obtained in the country; 85% comes from the cold waters generate only 6% of the entire country and a large section is being occupied by the ocean, but its contribution is very minimal.”

In this context, he stressed the important role that TAFIRI can play in helping the government and fisheries stakeholders expand fishing in the sea, thus increasing its contribution to the country’s economy.

Currently, the fisheries sector contributes 1.7% to the country’s GDP, intending to reach 10% by 2030.

In terms of fish production, the country aims to increase output to 600,000 tons by the financial year 2025/2026, up from the current 500,000 tons. This increase will also raise the protein supply from fish to 35% of the country’s protein consumption.

The Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Abdallah Ulega, highlighted the importance of the fisheries sector in the country’s economy noting that over 200,000 jobs have been created through fishing licenses, and over 4.5 million people are involved in fish processing and the roasted fish industry.

Additionally, during the event, the Electronic Cath Assessment System (eCAST) was also launched in Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ), and the Strategy for Reduction of Loss and Waste in the Dagaa Fishery of Mainland (2023-2033) was introduced.

Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced an expansion of its Heshimu Bahari Activity to cover more seascapes in the mainland and Zanzibar, increasing its financing from US$13 million to US$25 million.