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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Back fight to halt dynamite fishing

6th November 2012
Editorial Cartoon

After a misleading lull, an alarm has been sounded about resurgence of dynamite fishing, this time unleashing more destruction on the marine environment and threatening major sources of food and income for the people living along the coast.

We also learn that in reality the destructive activity never stopped, only that those supposedly on watch might either have gone to sleep or might have been overwhelmed by the situation.

A government report on dynamite fishing says the activity claims about 100 casualties every year, many hit by the explosives used to kill the fish, in the process destroying their breeding grounds.

What should be borne in mind and prompt a more robust campaign against dynamite fishing is that the method is unsustainable as it kills the fish, breeding grounds and sources of food for the fish.

What is more, most of the dynamited fish is lost in the sea denying communities this abundant food, rich in protein.

Last year, we published a report speaking of the destruction caused by the illegal activity and warning that the pipeline transporting natural gas from Songosongo, in Lindi Region to power electricity generation plants in Dar es Salaam was also in danger of being hit by dynamites.

Crusaders against dynamite fishing said then that illegal fishermen and women were conducting their activities around the gas pipeline, putting the vital economic installation at risk.

But what was even more worrying were the allegations by the crusaders that their efforts to stop dynamite fishing have hit major snags, accusing local government authorities of being reluctant to cooperate with the campaigners.

Indeed they went further to allege that some of the local leaders colluded with the criminals after being given bribes.

They blamed the situation on poor enforcement of illegal fishing regulations and laws on the part of local government authorities, and lack of cooperation between and amongst the organs involved in controlling illegal fishing in the areas.

The dire situation has moved a young schoolboy who is a junior member of the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club and a keen diving enthusiast, Ryan Ogg, to organise a sponsored walk to publicise the issue of dynamite fishing along the coast of Tanzania.

He wants to donate the money raised to Sea Sense, an organization actively working at preventing dynamite fishing in Tanzania and provide advice to fishermen on more environmentally friendly fishing methods.

We are sure that all people and institutions concerned at the deteriorating situation, will give unstinted support to the young schoolboy. We owe it to our future to support this boy with a bold vision.

There is also the need to carry out a more intense surveillance of the areas identified as notorious in dynamite fishing. Reports have named Msasani, Fungu Yasini, Kimbiji, Yaleyale, Kisiju, Amani Govu and Jibondo in Dar and Coast regions; Moa, Kichelikani, Kigombe, Mwambani, Mwarongo in Tanga and Matapatapa, Njianne, Somanga, Pombwe and Jaja in Lindi region as among such regions.

The government must revisit the campaign against dynamite fishing, with a view to making it more sustainable in a bid to rid our coastline of the vice once and for all.

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