TANZANIA – Tanzanian government has warned against the use of dynamites by fishermen as it constitutes a major threat to small-scale fisheries through the degradation of reefs and other critical habitats for fish.
According to the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega, farmers caught in the illegal fishing methods could be sentenced to five years in prison and a further 12 months for possession of explosives.
“If you are in the business of dynamite fishing and you see it lucrative, kindly, know you are in an illegal activity and we are coming for you,” he said during a ceremony when receiving 50 tonnes of by-catch fish from Albacora Group, a commercial company in the tuna fish industry.
“This often illegal practice is extremely destructive to the surrounding ecosystem, as the explosion often destroys the underlying habitat such as coral reef that supports the fish.”
Mr Ulega further said that since the government was keen on improving the lives of Tanzanians and encouraging local investments, it directed the company to sell the fish to women fishmongers at affordable prices.
The ceremony was conducted after Prolife Africa Limited won the tender to sell the by-catch on behalf of the government.
In the arrangement, Albacora Group Company whose ship is Tanzania registered, was licensed to target and catch only tuna fish, but since, they travel with others, these by-catches must be returned to the government.
Receiving the catch, Prolife Africa Limited Chief Executive Officer, Michael Nachipyangu thanked the government for making sure that most of the companies including theirs are run by the nationals.
He said it was time the government also considered helping them financially to own ships for large commercial fishing.
In addition, Tanzania has also partnered with the United States to continue with the same agenda and eliminate blast fishing in the country’s marine habitats.
The new partnership comes at a time when the two nations hatch initiatives to address the effects of global warming and climate change, in sync with environmental conservation.
The initiative is one of the issues discussed between Vice President, Philip Mpango and the Global Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power during their bilateral talks held at the Gran Melia Hotel in Arusha.
Tanzania is a global hotspot of marine biodiversity that supports fishery and tourism livelihoods and is critical to the well-being of coastal communities throughout Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania.