THE MOBILE courts have a great role to play in ending illegal fishing in the country, President John Magufuli has said.
Dr Magufuli made the remarks on Tuesday at the climax of Law Day celebrations alongside the official launch of a mobile court in an event that was held at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam.
During the event, the head of state shared his experience on how mobile court was used in hearing cases on illegal fishing when he was the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Development.
"It was very active, I remember the court went into the interior of Mwanga District in Kilimanjaro to hear cases related to illegal fishing, where one of the councillors from the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) was sentenced to six months in jail after he was found guilty of illegal fishing.
"He was sentenced on the spot, this helped the ministry and the government at large on its fight against the unlawful fishing, so this is among the roles that the court should take" explained the president.
He added that due to the restrictions at that time, illegal fishermen attempted to bury prohibited fishing nets in cemeteries as a way of avoiding being arrested by law enforcers.
"But the same nets were being used at night, so all of them were arrested and charged at the mobile courts," he explained.
On his part, Chief Justice Prof Ibrahim Juma said the just launched mobile courts will operate in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regions.
"The vehicle will provide judicial services especially in fishing zone where illegal fishing is alarming," he said.
For more than one year now, the ministry has been conducting crackdown operations against illegal fishing by arresting those engaged in the prohibited practices.
The operation has been carried out in the Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Mtwara Dam as well as Nyumba ya Mungu dam, where different suspects were arrested including 11 councillors.