Dodoma — Tanzania territorial waters are safe and illegal fishing in the country's deep sea area has successfully been contained, the National Assembly was told here on Thursday.
The Deputy Minister for Livestock Development and Fishing, Mr Benedict Ole Nangoro told the House that Tanzanian police in close coordination with community policing have strengthen patrol in the Coast of the Indian Ocean. He said that during 2011/12, surveillance was strengthened and not a single foreign vessel was seen fishing in the country's territorial waters.
Ole Nangoro said further that the government was using a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to monitor fishing activities and ensure that it is conducted legally in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations. He also said that the government would continue fighting dynamite and coral reef fishing, which is being conducted by local small-scale fishermen.
"We'll continue to educate fishermen on how to conduct safe and legal fishing. We've already reached at least 703 groups of fishermen, some of which were established only recently," he said. The deputy minister said that out of the 703 groups, 179 are on the Indian Ocean coast. Mr Ole Nangoro was responding to a question from Rukia Kassim Ahmed (Special Seats-CUF), who said foreign fishing vessels had the temerity to go deep into Tanzania waters to conduct illegal fishing.
She also said that the foreign fishermen have been taking coral reefs from the country's waters and demanded to know measures that the government was taking to curb the problem. In her supplementary question Ms Ahmed said vessels that are involved in oil searching in deep waters have caused environment degradation at Indian Ocean.
She wanted to know if the government was ready to compensate fishers, whose activities have adversely been affected by the problem. Responding, Ole Nangoro said it was true that to some extent the vessels are destroying the environment, saying the government had already issued guidelines to the vessels owners to ensure that their projects conduct environmental impact assessment in order to protect environment. "What is required is for them to adhere to the guidelines," he said.