TAFIRI will conduct the vital exercise in collaboration with neighbouring countries that share the water body, namely the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia and Burundi.
The last fish stock assessment in Lake Tanganyika was conducted in 1998 where there were an estimated 295,000 tonnes, the Deputy Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega told the National Assembly yesterday.
He was responding to a question posed by Kigoma Urban MP, Zitto Kabwe (ACT-Wazalendo) who was concerned why the government was restricting Tanzanian fishermen from conducting purse-seine fishing while their counterparts in Burundi, Zambia and DRC practice it.
Kabwe wanted the government to speed up the fish stock assessment to allow big investors to establish factories. He also called for review of export levies as well as the number of licenses that fishers pay annually.
“Completion of the assessment will give us a clear picture of the stock of fish in the lake. Research findings will help us make decisions on whether to allow large scale commercial fishing in our waters,” said Ulega, noting that the current measures taken by the government are meant to protect national resources.
Wrong fishing methods and usage of unauthorized fishing kits by the fish mongers results in a dwindling stock of fish in the lake, he pointed out.
He said the license requirements for fish mongers is meant to help the government to know correct numbers of small and large scale fishers in Kigoma region.
The ministry will soon meet with stakeholders to discuss the various challenges facing the fishing industry in Tanzania. “We are also going to look into how we can review export levies,” the deputy minister intoned.
Of all Lake Tanganyika’s water volume of 18, 900m cubic liters, covering a stretch of 673 kilomters, DRC has the largest share of 45 percent, Tanzania has 41 percent, while Burundi and Zambia account for eight and six percent share of the lake, respectively.
Earlier, when responding to the main question from Musoma Urban MP, Vedastus Manyinyi (CCM) he said the government plans to remove Value Added Tax (VAT) on certain types of fishing gears as well as nuisance taxes and charges.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Luhaga Mpina informed the legislature that the government intends to issue revised national fishing guidelines on July 1st. The guidelines will help in efforts to combat illegal fishing in all lakes across the country, he stated.
The relevant authorities however must allow fishers to continue using generators and solar powered lights until that time, he added.