According to fresh data from Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, during 2019/20, a total of 202,053 fishermen aboard 58,930 vessels caught 392,933 metric tons of fish worth 1.85trillion/-.
Last year, the fisheries sector thus contributed 1.71 percent of GDP compared to 1.5 percent in the previous year. It is estimated that over 4.5 million people depend on fishing related activities in the country.
The report said fishing activities are dominated by small-scale fishermen who account for more than 95 percent of the total fish produced in the country while commercial fishing contributes a paltry five percent.
“Fish contributes approximately 30 percent of animal-derived protein and its intake per person per year has increased from 8.2kg in 1999/2000 to 8.5kg in 2015/20,” a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report dated 2018 said adding that fish uptake average per person is 20.3kg a year.
“According to research reports, the quantity of fish in the country’s water bodies increased from 2,803,000 tons in 2018/19 to 3,274,165 tons in 2019/20 being an increase of about 16.8 percent,” said Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Luhaga Mpina in his 2020/21 budget speech.
Mpinda said despite of the gains achieved, the industry continues to face many challenges such as not having enough fishing boats especially to catch the delicacy in the country’s exclusive economic zone in the Indian Ocean.
“To address the challenges, the government has implemented a number of initiatives such as reviving Tanzania Fishing Company (TAFICO) in 2018,” he stated adding that his ministry has also embarked on a plan to increase the number of fisheries extension officers through training of manpower.
He further pointed out that in the 2019/20 season, the ministry was targeting to collect 32.30bn/- revenue and that by April this year, the ministry had collected 24.48bn/-, an equivalent of 75.80 percent of the target.
The revenues is a combination of money collected from export and import licenses, import and export royalty which contributed 84 percent of all revenues. The ministry in the 2020/21 fiscal year projects to collect 33bn/- of revenue, Mpina told lawmakers last month.