TANZANIA – In a gathering marking the First Africa Small-Scale Fishers Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, Dr. Doto Biteko, has rallied stakeholders across the continent to ramp up efforts in safeguarding fisheries resources.

Highlighting the pressing concerns outlined in a recent exposé, which shed light on the plight of fishermen and business owners teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, Dr. Biteko emphasized the urgent need to prioritize the welfare of small-scale fishers.

These individuals constitute a staggering 95 percent of all fishing activities within Tanzania.

Official data unveils Tanzania’s annual fish production, averaging 475,579 tons, with approximately 429,168 tons sourced from natural waters.

Despite this significant output, the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) stands at a modest 1.9 percent, amounting to about 3.4 trillion Tanzanian shillings (US$1.3B).

Dr. Biteko articulated the multifaceted challenges confronting the fisheries sector, ranging from the adverse effects of climate change to the underrepresentation of stakeholders, particularly women and youth, in fisheries management.

Additionally, the scourge of post-harvest losses further exacerbates these hurdles.

Echoing Dr. Biteko’s sentiments, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega, expressed pride in Tanzania’s role as the host of the inaugural Africa Small-Scale Fisheries Conference.

The event commemorates a decade of progress since the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries, stemming from the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) observed in Rome, Italy, in March 2023.

Themed “A Decade of Progress: Envisioning the Future of Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries,” the conference serves as a platform to reflect on past achievements and chart a course towards a more sustainable and equitable future for small-scale fishers across Africa.

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