Unregulated and illegal fishing practices in the South West Indian Ocean region is bad news for Tanzania, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Salehe Pamba has said.
Opening South West Indian Ocean scientific conference, Pamba said unregulated and illegal fishing activities in the region were a threat to the balanced survival of the Ocean ecology.
Calling for charismatic fisheries management, he said fisheries are a very challenging sector throughout the world.
He told the conference whose aim was to promote sustainable management of resources, that fisheries management requires dedicated personnel with relevant expertise.
He said in the region’s shoreline over-fishing was a major problem as it was increasing steadily.
’’High catch levels, environmental degradation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices have been booming in the region,’’ he said.
As time goes, the gravity of these vices is intensely threatening the sustainability of the fishery resources and the marine life, he said.
He said the meeting would put in place management mechanisms that would result into a well-managed ecosystem that will harbour fisheries resources for the benefit of the member states and the entire world.
For a sustainable management of any resource, reliable data and information is pre-requisite and sharing information will link the member and non-member states to share knowledge, he said.
For fish resources, one needs to be able to determine the optimum level of effort that produces the maximum yield that can be sustainable without affecting the long-term production, he said.
He said to achieve this, fisheries experts need to have all the necessary inputs to enable them collect data, process them and above all be able to timely disseminate the information to consumers.
He further said the south West Indian Ocean is faced with various problems resulting from human activities, which include dumping of untreated wastewater and oil spillage.
’’The meeting has come at the right time when the countries are taking measures to increase food production to curb malnutrition and poverty and also at the same time insisting on sustainable utilization, he said.
The Director of Fisheries in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Geoffrey Nanyalo, said currently Tanzania harvest only 50,000 tonnes of fish annually.
’’The amount is small compared to what Tanzanian waters can offer.
In 2004/2005, about 20 illegal fishing vessels were captured in Tanzania’s waters at the Indian Ocean, he said.