Tanzania is among African countries yet to benefit from the Chinese investment in the fisheries industry under China-Africa fishery cooperation plan.
The cooperation programme is worth around $6 billion annually, from an annual harvest of about 500,000 metric tons. Tanzania’s annual output is 350,000 tons of fish.
According to Tanzania’s fisheries statistics on average of the last five years, fish and fishery products exports from Tanzania earned the country an average of about USD 195.17 million.
The Agritrade which serves as a resource tool for ACP-EU agriculture and fisheries trade issues quoted Zhang Huoli, chairman of LianjiangFarsea Fishery Co Ltd in Fujian province, saying his company is planning to send dozens of fishing vessels to Africa this year.
“In 2013 we will be sending dozens of our fishing vessels in the African fishery industry as it has huge potential and can also help Tanzanian people, especially fishermen to overcome poverty," he said.
For his part, the Tanzanian envoy to China Philip Marmo welcomed investment into the sector, saying it would help improve the skills level.
“The cooperation will definitely be a promising one as China has advanced fishing technology, vessels and experience in research and production management of which we will be beneficial as far as technological transfer is concerned.”
The envoy noted that the sector contributed about 1.4 percent to the GDP and 10 percent to the national foreign aexchange earnings.
It employs more than 177,527 full time fishermen and about four million people earn their livelihood from the sector.
Speaking at the 2012 China-Africa Fishery Forum, Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the China Centre for International Economic Exchange, said fishery cooperation held great potential, against the backdrop of booming Chinese investment in Africa.
China has been the world's largest exporter of fish and fish products since 2002, and 2011 saw its exports, mainly to Japan, the US and South Korea, reach USD 8.0 billion.
In addition to creating jobs, Chinese fishery companies also hope to train around local workers in the high seas as well as the inland fishing techniques.
According to Wei, Africa expects to replace European Union as China's biggest trade partner in the next three to five years, noting that cooperation has entered a new era of closer bilateral ties.
"Both sides realise the necessity of shifting to fish farming in Africa rather than exhausting natural resources. In addition, we need to expand the scope of cooperation through investment in refrigeration plants, processing factories and shipyards," Wei said.
Tanzania is one of the greatest fisheries nations in Africa, according to FAO. It is ranked in the top 10 countries in terms of total fisheries production.
The main investment opportunities existing in the fisheries industry are fishing, fish processing, value addition in fish and other fisheries products; cold chain, boat building, construction of a fish harbour, construction of dry docking facility, ecotourism, manufacturing of fishing gear and accessories.
Other areas include; prawn/shrimp farming, mud-crab farming, pearl culture, finfish culture, seaweed farming, hatchery for fingerlings production, fishing and culture of ornamental fish, fish feeds production and live food production.