MPs approve UN global accord on EEZ control

15Nov 2019
Felister Peter
The Guardian
MPs approve UN global accord on EEZ control

THE government’s war against illegal fishing got a new boost as the National Assembly passed the international Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) to protect marine resources in the Tanzanian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Indian Ocean.

Livestock and Fisheries Minister Luhaga Mpina

The international agreement is crafted to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It approved by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in November 2009 in its Rome headquarters.

Livestock and Fisheries Minister Luhaga Mpina told the House that endorsement of the agreement will bolster deep sea fishing and the country’s fishing sector which contributed 2.2 percent to national income in 2017. The sub-sector grew by 2.7 percent in that year, in tandem with overall population growth and showing scant investment.

Minister Mpina noted that since the agreement requires every country to designate and publicize the ports to which vessels may request entry, in Tanzania, shipping vessels will use four ports namely, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Mtwara and Zanzibar.

“The Deep Sea Fishing Authority—DSFA Act 1998 - requires fishing vessels to process permits before and after fishing in the Tanzania EEZ,” the minister stated.

Tanzania’s EEZ over the deep sea covers 223,000 square kilometers while the country’s coastal area from Tanga to Mtwara is 1,424 kilometers.

As part of efforts to improve the fishing sector, Tanzania and South Korea will next month sign an agreement for construction of an international fishing port, he said.

The feasibility study is complete and the government will soon decide on where to construct the port, while proposed areas are Lindi, Kilwa Masoko and Bagamoyo.

Presenting views of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Water, Vice Chairperson Dr Christine Ishengoma (Special Seats, CCM) said it is high time Tanzania signed the agreement due to its importance as well as meeting the ratification deadline.

The committee suggested that livestock and fisheries ministries of both parts of the Union allocate adequate budget funds and human resources for the fight against illegal fishing in the country’s EEZ.

Dr Ishengoma urged the government to further develop the Tanzania Fisheries Corporation (TAFICO) and the Zanzibar Fishing Corporation (ZAFICO) and establish fish processing factories along the coastal line.

“The government should purchase fishing vessels to enable commercial fishing in our waters,” she emphasized.

Opposition views presented by Dr Semesi Sware (Chadema),  urged the government to fast-track plans for an international fishing port to control illegal fishing activities along the coastal area.

“We should also invest more in patrol boats to protect the country’s EEZ and enhance our presence in international markets,” she specified.

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