Tanzania: Let's All Say No to Illegal Fishing to Protect Fish Species, Habitats

On Friday, while in Iringa Rural District, President John Magufuli reiterated that the fifth phase government would intensify the war on illegal fishing and protect fish species and habitats.

Illegal fishing is a perennial problem not only in our big water bodies like inland lakes and the Indian Ocean, but also in rivers, streams and dams.

It is a perennial problem because its effects are not only limited to present, but extend even to future generations. On top of that, illegal fishing is detrimental to national economy.

A fledgling economy like ours needs sources of revenue from various sectors of the economy. In light of this, illegal fishing affects the fisheries sector and hinders it from contributing to the national economy.

We cannot continue consuming contaminated fish species and other aquatic species, while we can prevent illegal fishing altogether if we all cooperate.

Illegal fishing is a shortcut for quick money, but to the detriment of human health, fish species and habitats and other aquatic organisms.

It is aggravated by the manufacturing of illegal fishing gear, which is still produced by some factories inside or outside of the country.

This means that illegal fishing gear could either be produced in the country or smuggled into the country by dishonest traders.

So, if we want to curb it we have to use a holistic approach - that is prevent both illegal fishing gear and the production of it for this is the only way to deal with illegal fishing.

Although there have been regular operations to curb illegal fishing, the problem is still there and that is why the President stressed that his government would still deal with it for he knows it has farreaching effects on consumers and the environment.

If we want to improve the quality of life we have to ensure we eat only recommended healthy foodstuffs, including fish species that do not contain chemical contaminants.

Records show that the government has mounted regular operations against illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, other lakes, Mtwara Dam and Nyumba ya Mungu Dam, where some people involved in illegal fishing were arrested, including 11 councillors.

Tanzania without illegal fishing is possible if we all say no to illegal fishing because it has far-reaching consequences for our health and the environment.

As the government has shown commitment to environmental protection, we are sure if we all collaborate with the responsible authorities we will be able to eradicate illegal fishing, including the production or smuggling of illegal fishing gear into the country.

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