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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Illegal fishing must be tamed
The term illegal fishing has almost become a household name in Tanzania. Despite deliberate efforts all these years to check illegal fishing activity in the countrys waters, including rampant use of illegal fishing gear, the malpractice seems far from being tamed.
Although there have been renewed attempts to discourage illegal fishing time and time again with commendable results, it seems the whole issue has taken form of some hide and seek game, necessitating a better and more effective strategy to fight the malpractice.
And there are unpalatable statistics to show the extent of such activity in Tanzania. In Dodoma on Saturday, Livestock Development and Fisheries Minister John Magufuli told reporters that in a one month operation, a total of 18,797 illegal fishing gears were netted.
It is good to note that the government has embarked on a special countrywide operation against use of illegal fishing gears and illegal export of fish products. This includes establishing more patrol and management centres in various districts. Fine, this is how it should be.
But the educational campaign aimed at sensitizing the public on the hazards of using illegal fishing gear should continue hand in hand. It might turn out that people use illegal fishing gear out of sheer ignorance of the adverse after-effects. Illegal fishing activity and illegal export of fish products put fish stocks at risk and cause big loss of revenue.
It is everyone's hope that there would be more push this time to make the operation a success. For a country endowed with thousands of miles of Indian Ocean coast, numerous lakes and rivers, the fact that the fishing industry contributes only 1.6 per cent to the national income is very appalling indeed.
In comparison, Namibia's fishing activities contribute 23 per cent. It is also good that the minister has pointed to corruption as a possible factor that abets use of illegal fishing gear. There is thus need for the ministry to clean its house by checking the vice among its ranks and take to task all those who will be proven to be involved.
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Issues/Corruption / mismanagement
Issues/Monitoring, control and surveillance