THE fishing industry's contribution to the national economy has slumped nearly ten times in the last sixteen years and the government has been advised to work out comprehensive strategies to ensure effective utilization of the marine resources.
The need for effective contribution of the industry was brought up in the House in Dodoma yesterday by Ms Halima Mdee (Kawe- CHADEMA) who demanded clarification from the government on deliberate measures taken to make sure that the potential sector contributes more to the national coffers.
The Deputy Minister for Livestock Development and Fisheries, Benedict Ole Nangoro, said efforts to improve production were underway such that the government under the World Bank supported Marine And Coastal Environment Management Project (MACEMP) assisted in the establishment of 470 projects of which 240 are fishing projects while the rest are income generating projects in 16 different district councils.
"The projects are located in Dar es Salaam (33), Tanga (93), Coast region (187), Lindi (100) and Mtwara 57. A total of 8,082 people benefited from the financial support, 4,900 being male and 3,182 women. He said twenty fishing groups benefited under the initiative in Dar es Salaam with a total number of 269 members, 35 being women and 356.4m/- was spent in support of the projects.
However, the government is clear on sustainability of the projects insisting that experts should reach out group members in their production localities and share with them the entrepreneurial skills to fight poverty. MPs challenged the government and other stakeholders to change the equation in fisheries which 16 years ago was said to contribute 10 per cent of the national income but today it is hardly 1.3 per cent.