DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) --
A Tanzanian senior government official said on
Friday the country’s Indian Ocean fish stocks were running dry
caused by overfishing and dynamite fishing.
Abdallah Ulega, the
Deputy Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, said sea pirates
were also wreaking havoc in the east African nation’s Indian
As a result of the
depleted fish, Tanzania was currently importing at least 2,000
tonnes of mackerel fish from China monthly, said Ulega.
Speaking on a visit
to Mafia Island, Ulega said fish catches in the country has
declined to at least 360,000 tonnes in 2016 compared to 390,000
tonnes of fish in 2012.
“The declining fish
catches could even be worse as the number of fishermen getting
the licenses has risen to over 66,000 in 2016 from 56,000 in
2012,” said Ulega.
The minister said 60
percent of the population of Mafia district in Coast region
depended on fishing but the declining fish catches was wreaking
havoc to residents in the district.
“Illegal fishing and
sea pirate is not only a threat to the economy of Mafia
district, but a problem that also destroys marine resources,
including coral reefs, which are breeding grounds for fish,” he
Ulega said the
government has deployed 2,000 sea patrol army officers to be
stationed on Mafia Island to protect and control illegal fishing
and pirates from operating in the country’s Indian Ocean
“Pirates have no
place in Mafia and our ocean territories. We will hunt them down
wherever they will be,” the minister said declining to give
further details for security reasons.
He added that the
government was in the process of amending some fisheries laws to
enable Tanzanians benefit more from their resources.
A 2017 report by the
UN Food and Agriculture Organization said illegal fishing was
still rampant in the western Indian Ocean coast, occasioning
Tanzania 400 million U.S. dollars loss annually in landings or
nearly 1 billion U.S. dollars in processed products.