STAKEHOLDERS in the fishing industry have met in Dodoma to approve a draft of the voluntary guidelines for the development of small-scale fishing, an initiative aimed at ensuring the key economic activity becomes sustainable.
Director of the Department of Fisheries Development in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Mr Emmanuel Bulayi noted that the fishing sector creates 202,053 direct jobs. Mr Bulayi, who was representing the ministry's Permanent Secretary, also said about 4.5 million people depend on the sector for processing and trading fish and its other products.
Equally, a large number of people are involved in the activity but are still poor, something unacceptable and against the requirement of the National Fisheries Policy of 2015.
Mr Bulayi said the government has been taking various initiatives to tackle problems facing fishermen, which include preparing voluntary guidelines for small-scale fishing to become sustainable. He explained that the guidelines have helped reveal ways that can be employed to effectively transform the socio-economic lives of fishermen.
"Proper supervision of the guidelines will help boost the incomes, employment, food accessibility as well as nutrition, which would in turn uplift fishermen from abject poverty," said Mr Bulayi.
The government is committed to improve the socio-economic conditions of the fishermen and other people engaged in the fishery sector.issioner Gelasius Byakanwa said yesterday that the pledge to improve fishing industry in the next five years will lead to increased economic gains from the sector.
"Our government is fully committed to improve the economic condition of our fishermen and other people engaged in the fishery sector. This will be done in the next five years by ensuring that we create a conducive climate for fishing," he said. Mr Byakanwa made the remarks when officiating at celebrations to mark World Fisheries Day organised in Mtwara at the national level.
The event was organised by Tanzania Tuna Fishery National Alliance to create awareness on sustainable fishing in the country. The Regional Commissioner's statement comes just a week after Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Prof Palamagamba Kabudi underlined his ministry's priorities of which, the blue economy tops the agenda.
In a speech read on his behalf by Mtwara District Commissioner Dastan Kyobya, Mr Byakanwa said the sector will improve through the transfer of technology use, providing support services as well as training of the small-scale fish farmers and fishermen.
The improvement plan once implemented will lead to an increase of fish production and in turn help increase government's revenue in exporting fish and fish products.
Mr Byakanwa also mentioned the creation of employment opportunities for youth and improving the socio-economic conditions of coastal fishing communities, mostly in Mtwara. He appealed to the private sector -- including TUNA Alliance -- to team up with the government regarding the planning, construction and management of the fishing harbour set to be built in Mtwara.
He said the private organisations stand a better chance to link with the government in creating and implementing projects that will attract foreign and local investors into investing in the fishery sector.
Mr Byakanwa also asked TUNA Alliance to encourage fishermen to use modern fishing tools, improve fishing infrastructure and technology transfer in breeding of fish, nursing and feeding, and harvesting of fish products.
"TUNA Alliance should also encourage their members to be involved in organising groups for income-generating activities with the aim of providing them with fishing knowledge and modern fishing tools," he said.
He also noted that the government has developed suitable infrastructure such as roads, electricity and others for improvement of the fishing environment. Mtwara District Commissioner Danstan Kyobya directed the district fisheries officer to issue licences to fishermen to enable them undertake fishing activities.
The issuance of the licences fishing communities should be conducted in line with inspection of the fishing tools in the area. Speaking at the event, a representative of fishermen, Mr Abbas Salum, said artisanal fishermen face challenges such as lack of technical knowledge, lack of modern fishing equipment and lack of skills in management.
He appealed to the government to provide technical training to fishing communities as well supporting them with modern fishing tools. A week ago, Minister Kabudi said at the Chamwino State House in Dodoma after taking oath that his ministry will ensure that the country's economy brings the desired socioeconomic changes, touching on employment generation, uplifting the business environment and guaranteed supply of raw materials for local industries.
He said the government will also cooperate with such associations as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), and Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.
The government, Prof Kabudi said, would adhere to the 2020-2025 CCM Election Manifesto, and President John Magufuli's 12th Parliament inaugural speech of November 13, 2020, which laid emphasis on the revitalisation of the national economy in the next five years.
In his speech, President Magufuli said that by improving this strategic sector of fishing, the majority Tanzanians will be able to engage in various activities and thus build both individual and national economies.
The Head of State said the government has already laid strategies for improving the fishing industry in deep sea, and that eight fishing vessels will be bought for that purpose.