Livestock and Fisheries Minister Luhaga Mpina said when speaking during the meeting to collect stakeholders’ views and opinions on the proposed law.
He acknowledged that the existing law faces a wide range of criticisms from fishermen and other stakeholders thus needing some amendments to bolster commercial fishing.
According to him, the new law will provide conducive environment for the fishermen to conduct their activities. It will set proper arrangement for commercial fishing thus making it beneficial for those trading in the industry.
“Putting strong security for fisheries resources, increase production while also setting reliable market of the produce and fight against smuggling of fisheries resources,” he said.
Mpina added that government was also on the final stages to review and amend the Marine Parks and Reserve Act No 29, of 1994 and Deep Sea Fishing Authority Act (1998) with amendments in 2007. He said that illegal fishing has impeded the country to benefit from the important resources despite the fact that 346,337 square kilometres, about 37 per cent of the entire Tanzania comprises water.
The minister urged the stakeholders and the public to provide constructive opinions and not those which favour one side or of their own interests.
“As we are going to have a new law, we should all ask ourselves how we are going to increase production, protect our resources.
We should also ask ourselves why allow more fish imports while we have enough resources in our sea, rivers, lakes and dams?” he noted.
He said that the law is going to enable fishermen have modern fishing tools as well as good knowledge to help them harvest more fish than it is with the old fishing methods.
Contributing on the draft, some of stakeholders raised concerns over the existing legal gaps saying that it bans the use of solar lamps and generators something which affect fishing activities and development.
Chairman of the Standing Committee on Parliament, Agriculture, Livestock and Water, Mahmoud Mgimwa commended the ministry for coming up with the amendments proposal to spur up the fisheries sector.
For his part, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr Rashid Tamatama said that he will supervise well to ensure that the whole exercise of collecting opinions succeeds by making sure that all stakeholders are reached wherever they are.
“The exercise was launched on January 28 this year and it will continue all long to February 28. So my appeal is to see all stakeholders participating . They are welcome to send their views through [email protected],” he added.