Lobster Populations coming back after a decade of scarcity | WWF
Lobster Populations coming back after a decade of scarcity

Posted on 17 November 2018

After more than a decade of scarcity due to illegal fishing and over fishing finally the Lobster, Mackerel and Tilapia are blossoming again and their populations boosting following a programme to close fishing sites for some time to give the fish time to reproduce and grow
After more than a decade of scarcity due to illegal fishing and over fishing finally the Lobster, Mackerel and Tilapia are blossoming again and their populations boosting following a programme to close fishing sites for some time to give the fish time to reproduce and grow
Fishermen could not believe the amount and sizes of the fish when it was time for opening the fishing sites at Kigamboni recently. This followed a trial closure of six months. For the first time in seven years a catch of tilapia and lobster has increased from one kilogramme to seven kilogrammes per day.
The Fisheries co-management programme by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in collaboration with Muongozo Beach Management Unit supported the closure of the fishing site from April this year.
Probably the biggest question is what do the fishermen do when their fishing site is closed? Because afterall life has to go on. WWF Tanzania supported the fishermen by starting other economic activities which pulled their attention from the ocean and gave them a source of income for the six months. These activities included small scale farming and other businesses through loans that they received from the Village Community Banks (VICOBA)
 During the closure period, stiff patrol operations were conducted by community members to ensure no one goes against their agreement. Intruders were apprehended several times during the closure but finally it was time to reap the fruits of their patience.
 According to Jummane Mohamed the programme coordinator for Kigamboni and Kibiti the closing of the fishing sites has been carried out for the past five years and the result s have always been over whelming showing massive increase in octopus and other species.
 “The programme has led to a sharp decrease in blast fishing whereby we used to hear blasts at- least ten times a day but now we can reach up to a year without a sound of a blast, the amount of Lobster catch today is a sign that before the closure the lobsters were caught before reaching their reproductive prime which led to their scarcity,” he said.
Mussa Fundi, the chairman for Muongozo BMU said they are working hard to communicate the benefits of giving the fish time to grow and multiply.
“We want to reach a point where fishing will be beneficial to fishermen, this is the way to go, for example a fully grown up Lobster of above 500grams costs about 80,000/- to 100,000/- and this is what we call commercial fishing,” he said.
The Fish Co Management programme is part of the wider approach by WWF to mitigate growing threats such as overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution, as well as acidification due to climate change. It was implemented in collaboration with other stakeholders Kigamboni, Kilwa, Kibiti, and Mtwara rural districts
 
Fishermen enjoying their catch at Kigamboni
© Liberia Kaole