Tanzania tuna fisheries worth millions but underexploitedThe fisheries sector plays an important role in the national economy of Tanzania. The sector contributes to about 1.4 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector employs a considerable number of people directly and indirectly, working as fishers, traders, processors, suppliers and merchants of fishing accessories and employees and their dependants. In 2010, an average of 1,021.6 Metric tones (Mt) was landed from the Tanzania Exclusive economic Zone (EEZ); while some 7,834.8 Mt was landed from the Mainland Tanzania artisanal fishery.
Speaking during the just ended 3rd National dialogue on sustainable tuna fisheries management in Tanzania in Bagamoyo, Coast Region, Fisheries Programme Officer with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Edward Kimakwa said that the potential of marine fisheries resources in Tanzania is least exploited.
“Tanzania Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) lies within the richest tuna belt of the South West Indian ocean (SWIO).” He said there was limited data on how much of this stock is exploited by distant water fishing nations (DWFN) due to weak monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS).
Tuna therefore presents the richest single-species fishery potential in the country. The challenge to Tanzania is how to take advantage of the opportunities of the globalised world fisheries and trade and bring about significant flow of benefits to their national economies and improve the living standards of the local communities who depend on the coastal and marine fisheries for proper management and exploitation of the resources to reap maximum benefits for Tanzania at biologically, ecologically and socio-economically sustainable levels.
By Daniel Semberya