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BMUs necessitate police support in fighting illegal fishing
BEACH Management Units (BMUs) along the coastal lines of Tanzania are demanding for greater cooperation from marine police to help mitigate increased innovation by dynamite fishermen who sometimes use fertilizers and silent bombs.
BMU representative for Kigamboni, Somangila Ward, Mr. Abdallah Rashid when receiving a 25m/- fiber glass boat from WWF recently said that experience has shown that some marine police force don’t take seriously the information BMUs provide.
“Thanks to the formation of BMUs, dynamite use in fishing has for some time reduced but this is bouncing back because raw materials are readily available, innovation has increased and they are now using explosives that don’t make noise and what worries more is that authorities are not doing enough to shut down the markets,” he said.
Beach Management Unit is a system whereby all stakeholders are fully engaged in conservation and management of all useful aquatic resources. Currently, there are 723 BMUs in Tanzania, with respect to water bodies.
A former Tourism and Natural Resources Minister, Professor Jumanne Maghembe, was once quoted saying that if zero tolerance was implemented, the country will make a leap from its tourism collection from the current revenue of 840 million US dollars to 2 billion dollars in ten years time and that was back in 2007.
Mr Rashid said that the boat they received will go a long way to ensure apprehension of culprits because prior to having the boat, they were unable to chase culprits effectively as they relied on canoes to do their job.
He said that the mere presence of people roaming their waters and eroding feeding grounds for fish means that they are always at war but with the boat, they are now ready for the battle.
The WWF Tanzania Country Director, Dr Amani Ngusaru, thanked government efforts and legislation that has helped empowerment of people, BMUs were established, a milestone that many neighboring countries had not attained.
Dr. Ngusaru said that the support they provided to Kigamboni BMU was part of the operationalization of the units that is also being done by the European Union, DFID and the government.
“It goes without saying that dynamite fishing is a huge challenge that needs concerted efforts to get rid of; we as WWF are only chipping in and will continue to do so,” he said.
The Commander of Marine Police, Mboje Kanga, confirmed that dynamite fishing was indeed a huge challenge that they were facing and that they are ready to work closer with the BMUs to curb the vice.
“What we ask for from the members of the units is to share with us the intelligence early, but also to be patient and not expect us to simply fall down from the sky, these activities are surely done further away from the coastal line and it takes time to reach there,” he said.
A fisheries stakeholder, who preferred anonymity, said that the only way dynamite fishing can be curbed is when the government institutions impose heavy penalties and security officials act ethically as well as for citizens to stop the continued levels of lawlessness.
The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development Zonal Officer in charge for Dar es Salaam and Coastal Region, Mr Farah Bulongo, said that the Ministry will soon be getting support from the World Bank to support the development and implementation of the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project to be known as SWIOFish Project.
The Project development objective is to improve management effectiveness of selected priority fisheries at regional, national and community level.
The project will continue to support regional integration around fisheries management and have a component on combating dynamite fishing with over 1 million US dollars allocated.
WWF Tanzania Country Office
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