Cage fish farmers highlight need to fight aquatic weeds

TANZANIA: CAGE fish farmers have asked the government to set up strategies to fight aquatic weeds on Lake Victoria to smoothen the path towards the blue economy.

They made the call this week during the Blue Economy Photos Exhibition which was organised by the Tanzania Media for Maritime and Fisheries Development (TMFD), to promote available opportunities in the lake and how best to grab them.

Strong winds normally push the weeds and disturb the cages, affecting fish in the water, said the Director of My Fish Company, Mr Elpidius Mpanju, adding that: “Sometimes the weeds destroy the cages completely making the fish move out, which is a serious loss to us. When the cages experience even a slight shake, the fish get stressed, developing stunting,” said Mr Mpanju.

According to him, the farmers also face a shortage of fish feeds due to lack of local manufacturers, urging large-scale investors to capitalise on this opportunity to establish a factory in Mwanza.

“We are thankful that the government has put tax exemption on some fish farming items, but it should also see how best to overcome this challenge. “The government has already shown the way towards the blue economy through distribution of cages and supporting materials to Lake Zone fish farmers early this year. We now need to show up the outcomes,” reiterated the Director.

Similarly, Mr Mpanju commended the fishing policy review, a move that led to the recognition of fish farm activities that were formally regarded as illegal fishing, following the type or size of fishing nets used for cage moulding.

The TMFD Director who also doubles as Mwanza Regional Press Club Chairman, Mr Edwin Soko, said the presence of competent blue economy reporters is a priority to attract more investors in the industry.

Gracing the event, Mwanza Regional Commissioner, Said Mtanda assured full support to the journalists, as a joint endeavour to boost blue economy in the region.

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