THE government through the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) has intensified security in Tanzanian waters to curb illegal fishing by foreigners and locals, the House heard .
The Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Development, Mr Benedict Ole Nangoro, said the government has strengthened sea patrols through which illegal vessels, fishing tools and illegal fishermen were nabbed for legal action.
The deputy minister was responding to Khatib Said Haji (Konde-CUF) who demanded to know what the government was doing to address illegal fishing in the country, he claimed to be on the increase.
Mr Ole Nangoro said that Tanzania in collaboration with other neighbours and regional blocs like the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC) was in the position of tracing various foreign illegal vessels in its water bodies.
"Other commissions like Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) were assisting Tanzania to get various information on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, thus it currently were in a position to control such invasion on our waters," Mr Nangoro noted.
He said that such efforts have greatly helped to cut down illegal fishing cases as the number of vessels seeking for fishing licences has also gone up.Mr Nangoro said that in the year 2011/2012, the country offered licences to 113 vessels to conduct fishing activities in the Tanzania economic zone, thus it was sending signals that efforts to deal with illegal fishing were becoming successful.
Meanwhile, Mr Ole Nangoro said that the government through Marine and Coastal Environment Management Project (MACEMP) and Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) has economically empowered local fishermen through capacity building amongst them to acquire good fishing gears and engage in other economic activities.Under the project, according to Mr Nangoro, some 157 projects amounting to 2.2bn/- in Lindi and Mtwara were financed.
"In Lindi and Mtwara 3,121 wananchi benefited from the projects out of which 1,318 were women and other 1,803 were men," he added. Mr Ole Nangoro also said that under the projects, 12 speed boats were purchased and distributed to Lindi and Mtwara regions to help in marine patrols in the Southern zone.