Fish production goes up in Tanzania

Tanzania has increased fish production in the last three years, supported by improved enforcement of targeted fisheries and aquaculture regulations and tougher measures to curb illegal fishing.

Other reasons that have led to the increase include the country’s efforts to address challenges caused by poor quality fish seed and aqua feeds.

The East African country’s fish production grew by nearly 16 per cent to 448,467 metric tonnes by the first quarter of 2020 as the government achieved in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, including improvement in the management of the fisheries resources.

“The fisheries sector achievements include increase in the number of Nile Perch from 417,936 tonnes in 2015 to 816,964 tonnes in 2020,” said Philip Mpango, Finance and Planning Minister.

According to Mpango, the value of Tanzania’s fish exports went up by nearly 83 per cent to Tsh692 billion ($298 million) in 2019 as the government launched the revamping of the Tanzania Fisheries Corporation, a State firm promoting the fish trade in and out of the country.

He noted that the government has continued to promote investment in aquaculture and has increased the fish farmers from 18,843 to 26,474 in 2020.

Contribution of fisheries industry to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose to Tsh1.85 trillion in the 2019/20 financial year from Tsh1.63 trillion in the 2018/19 fiscal year.

Latest figureS from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries show that in the financial year 2019/20, a total of 202,053 fishermen on board 58,930 vessels caught 392,933 metric tonnes of fish worth Tsh1.85 trillion.

Tabling his 2020/21 budget, Livestock and Fisheries Minister Luhaga Mpina said the quantity of fish in the country’s water bodies increased from 2,803,000 tonnes in 2018/19 to 3,274,165 tonnes in 2019/20, which was an increase of about 16.8 per cent.

In 2019, the sector thus contributed 1.71 per cent of GDP compared to 1.5 per cent in the preceding year.

It is estimated that the sector provides direct employment of about 183,800 fishers and more than 4 million people such as boat builders, fish processors, net and engine repairers are indirectly employed.

The report indicates that fishing activities are dominated by small-scale fishermen who account for more than 95 per cent of the total fish produced in the country while commercial fishing contributes 5 per cent.

Mpina acknowledged that the fish industry continues to face many challenges such as insufficient fishing boats in terms of catching delicacy in the country’s exclusive economic zone in the Indian Ocean.

To address the snags, the government has revived the ailing Tanzania Fishing Corporation (TAFICO) to manage fishing activities in the country, embarking on the plan to construct fisheries harbour and purchasing two big fishing vessels in order to facilitate growth of fish processing industries in the country.

In the 2019/20 fiscal year, the ministry was targeting to collect Tsh32.30 billion revenue and that by April 2020; the ministry had collected Tsh24.48 billion, equivalent to 75.80 per cent of the target.