Tanzania: Illegal Fishing Top Agenda for Lake Tanganyika Beneficiaries

THE government has been advised to incorporate three neighbouring countries bordering Lake Tanganyika in enacting the same law in a bid to combat illegal fishing activities and make fishing activities sustainable.

Lake Tanganyika is the second-oldest freshwater lake in the world, the second-largest by volume, and the second-deepest, in all cases after Lake Baikal in Siberia.

It is the world's longest freshwater lake shared between four countries - Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi and Zambia, with Tanzania (46 per cent ) and DRC (40 per cent) possessing the majority of the lake.

The advice was issued at the fishermen's conference which attracted fishery stakeholders from three regions of Katavi, Rukwa and Kigoma, of which the draft of fishing law which was endorsed recently by the government was comprehensively discussed.

Discussing the confusion of the available fishing law, Fishermen Union members from three regions of Katavi, Rukwa and Kigoma noted that fishing laws in the country are meant to protect marine resources on Lake Tanganyika, contrary to the other three countries which do not have such law.

Contributing, fishery stakeholder, Kabwe Ward Councillor in Nkasi District, Mr Asante Lubisha said the time has come for the four countries to enact the same fishing law aiming to combat illegal fishing activities which are rampant on Lake Tanganyika.

Another stakeholder, Ms Regina Kamande said fishing activities to be sustainable on Lake Tanganyika would be possible only if illegal fishing and using of illegal fishing gears is permanently addressed by all four countries bordering the longest freshwater lake.

A fisherman, Boaz Suma advised the relevant authorities to see the importance of reviewing the fishery law, because a fine of between 5m/- and 50m/- for an offender is too harsh to afford, particularly for small scale fishermen.

On his part, the Member of Parliament for Sumbawanga Urban Constituency, Mr Aeish Hilaly said some fisheries law enacted by the four countries is important in order to craft policy guidelines that maximize sustainability and legal enforcement.

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