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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Magufuli lands Sh200bn deepen fishing contract
The minister is spearheading effort to boost national income from marine resources.
The government yesterday signed a major fishing contract with Japan that is expected to earn the country over Sh200 billion in licence fees and tax revenues annually.
The contract is the first one of its kind for the since the establishment in 2007 of the Deep Sea Fishing Authority to enhance management of the fisheries sector.
It is also a significant victory for Livestock and Fisheries minister John Magufuli, who is spearheading government efforts against corruption and piracy to boost national income from the country's marine resources.
Rampant corruption among public officials and fish exporting companies and international piracy in Tanzania's Exclusive Economic Zone in the Indian Ocean have been denying the State tens of billions of shillings each year.
Yesterday, Dr Magufuli said the agreement signed with Japan's Tuna Co-operative Association (JTCA) had opened a new chapter in the country's efforts to fully exploit the fishing industry's potential.
The agreement was signed at the ministry's headquarters in Dar es Salaam by permanent secretary Charles Nyamrunda and the JTCA president, Mr Masahiro Ishikawa.
The contract provides for 30 fishing vessels from Japan to harvest tuna from the country's Exclusive Economic Zone. It was not immediately known how many tonnes of fish would be harvested according to provisions in the contract.
But Dr Magufuli noted that the Japanese vessels would strictly conduct its activities in compliance with the Fishing Authority Act and its regulations of approved last year.
He said by signing the agreement, Tanzania was sending a strong signal in its commitment to sustainable resources use and development. He said the contract would also promote mutual economic relations between the two countries.
"Japan Tuna Co-operation Association has opened the way on conditions which should be followed by foreign countries' fishing vessels in our Exclusive Economic Zone," Dr Magufuli said.
The minister said for many years international pirates have combed the deepsea waters for illegal fishing and trawling that cost billions of shillings in income flight.
More than 200 vessels were engaged in the business unabated for nearly half a century, he noted.
He said governments in East Africa and member countries of the South Africa Development Corporation (SADC) have declared war on piracy to end illegal and unmonitored fishing in their waters. The countries have mounted joint patrols in the past.
Dr Magufuli said the contract with the Japanese provided for electronic security surveillance to aid the local deepsea authority and the foreign vessels during their enforcement.
Apart from the electronic monitoring device, Dr Magufuli said that to avoid any swindling they have established some terms in the agreement that in all the fishing vessels that requires the inclusion of some representatives from the Tanzania government.
He added that they have instructed the Japanese company to work together with the Tanzania defensive forces in order to eliminate illegal fishing.
"The level of security at the see would automatically be raised as the JTCA being the lone legal operator would not allow any country to conduct illegal activities at the zone," he said.
Dr Magufuli told reporters that the government was expected to sign a similar agreement on January 18 with a country he declined to name, saying negotiations were still going on.
For his part, the Japanese ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Hiroshi Nakagawa, who was also present at the signing, said Japan was committed to complying with Tanzania's fisheries management regulations.
He said the agreement would also benefit the country technologically as Tanzania would be exposed to high fishing technology.
The huge contract is likely to appease politicians and good governance and anti-corruption campaign groups that have protested at the unchecked exploitation of the fisheries resources.
The leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament, Mr Hamad Rashid Mohammed, has said in the past that the government could raise Sh100 billion more every year in income from the deep sea alone if well managed.
The magnitude of the loss was recently revealed when a joint security exercise with South Africa netted a foreign vessel with hundreds of illegally harvested Tuna.
The vessel's captain and over 30 crewmembers from different nations declared 70 tonnes of fish harvested, but inspections revealed over 200 tonnes.
The suspects are currently in remand prison facing charges of fishing illegally in the Tanzanian waters.
During the last budget, Dr Magufuli said the country was harvesting 342,821.1 tons of fish which were valued at Sh371.4 billion.
He said 281,690 tons which is 97 per cent was harvested in cold water with only 43,130.2 tons harvested from the salt waters.
Meanwhile, the remaining 100 tones of illegally harvested fish which were supposed to be distributed in the Zanzibar would be distributed in the Tanzania Mainland starting from tomorrow.
Dr Magufuli told the reporters that the decision was made after the Isles government asked him to do so due to the power problems in Zanzibar.
He said however the priority during the distribution exercise would be put to Zanzibar based institution which would request for the fish.
Impacts/Development, communities and livelihoods
Issues/Monitoring, control and surveillance
Political processes/Southern African Development Community (SADC)