Tanzania makes strides in implementing 2014 Maputo declaration on fisheries
The Maputo Declaration signed on 29th August 2014, in Maputo (Mozambique), aims to bring a harmonized approach for Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique in their engagement with Distant Water Fishing Nations, through an agreed set of Minimum Terms and Conditions (MTC) for fisheries access arrangements, including private licenses.
Tanzania has effected the declaration signed in Maputo by amending Tanzania Deep Sea Fishing Authority Regulations. The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development through Government Notice No. 282, published on 30th June 2015, and entered into operation on 1st of July 2015, harmonises access fees for private licenses and charges for supporting vessels bringing to coherence the issue of how fees are addressed. The notice also secures sustainability through the strengthening of offshore fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance in order to combat rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the waters of Tanzania and the region at large.
Director General of Tanzania Deep Sea Fishing Authority, Zahor El Kharousy notes that Tanzania has been working collaboratively with other countries to achieve the adoption of the Maputo Declaration into law.
“Like the different organs of an individual are important for adequate functioning of its body, including its life, the only way for us, as coastal states sharing the same fish stocks is to continually work closely together to be able to ensure sustainable exploitation of these resources, in a coherent and more cost effective way, and also maximize benefits for our economies and populations. Maputo Declaration is a clear signal of our joint and long walk towards better defending our common interests for the current and future generations,” notes Mr. Zahor.
Kenya and Mozambique are also addressing several aspects from the Maputo Declaration, including obligatory pre-fishing season inspections, charging supporting vessels, to control fishing effort, and ensuring an agreed technical protocol, addressing equity and sustainability, for negotiation purposes by Mozambique; and charging the private license fees, to the adopted level, by Kenya.
Director of Fisheries Division Tanzania Mr. Hosea Gonza notes that these achievements will further encourage the three countries to proceed with actions towards full implementation of the Declaration to transform their fisheries sectors, in a collective approach, in order to promote coherence in the management of their shared fish stocks, especially tuna and tuna-like species.
“It is an important action for Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique to work closely together in fisheries management because the resources in question are either trans boundary and/or highly migratory, and hence if any country in the region mismanages their stock, the after effect or impacts will be felt in all the member countries of this region,” said Mr. Gonza
Regional Minimum Terms and Conditions, which are part of a larger process involving all South West Indian Ocean (SWIO) states, are promoted under the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) and based on national, regional and international legislation which calls for all the coastal states from the region to take up their responsibilities in managing fisheries resources under their jurisdiction.
These responsibilities include sustainably managing shared fish stocks under their jurisdiction, bringing more equity in benefit sharing and fighting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. Currently, illegal unregulated and unreported fishing in the South West Indian Ocean is estimated to result in losses of 300 to 400 million USD per year.
Taking in account the high dependency of the three developing states on exploitation of natural resources, including fisheries, these aspects are of critical importance in their economic and social development. Today, more than 20 million people live along the Coastal East Africa shoreline and this number is expected to double before 2030 hence the need to embrace sustainability in the management and development of marine fisheries resources.
WWF Coastal East Africa Initiative Head of Marine Programme Mr. Domingos Gove notes that Regional Minimum Terms and Conditions would go a long way towards ensuring collaborative and sustainable management of fisheries in the region.
“The adoption of Regional Minimum Terms and Conditions by the SWIO range states will ensure the better management of shared fish stocks, more equitable distribution of benefits, and effective fisheries governance, eventually contributing to human and ecosystem well-being. The conditions will contribute among others to promoting transparency in fishing activity, encouraging sustainable fishing practices, and improving accountability of foreign fishing fleets,” said Mr. Gove
WWF Coastal East Africa Initiative, the IOC/EU Smartfish Project and the World Bank SWIOFish Project within the general framework of the SWIOFC support the development and adoption of Minimum Terms and Conditions.
By John Kabubu, Domingos Gove and Peter Scheren