Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) has said that illegal fishing in the country has contributed to a sharp drop in fishing catch to 400kilos per hour today, from the 1,700 kilos in 2000.
The situation has led to shortage of fish in the country’s natural water bodies, forcing traders in the country to import the item.
Researcher from TAFIRI Dr Kuguru Baraka pointed out that the shortage has mainly been caused by illegal fishing by local fishermen who cannot go out in the deep sea at a time when fish near the shores are greatly reduced.
Other reasons include lack of modern equipment and climate change.
Baraka revealed this to journalists who toured fish ponds at Pugu Kinyamwezi in Dar es Salaam yesterday during a tour organised by the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Dr Mohammed Bahari said fishing in Lake Victoria of recent has dwindled sharply whereby the Nile perch in the lake has dwindled from over 383,276,730 tonnes in 2006 to 161, 678,000 in 2011.
“This has also decreased fishing capacity to eight kilos per person per year while according to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) a person is supposed to consume 16.8 kgs per year, “he said.
He said that the government was struggling to ensure that it curbs illegal fishing in the country by conducting frequent operations in Lakes and Seas in order to eliminate the vice.
Dr Bahari said that in the last five years, they have managed to conduct around 31,420 operations along the Indian Ocean as a move to reduce the illegal fishing.
Dr Baraka said some unscrupulous traders have taken advantage of the situation to import consignments of fish which are not fit for human consumption.
He said that most of the fish are found in deep sea where local fishermen cannot afford to go, due to lack of modern fishing equipment.
He mentioned other reasons as the increasing of pressure on the resource caused by the growing population.
The Researcher stressed that though illegal fishing has recently increased, however, the shortage has also been contributed by unsustainable fishing and climate change.