MWANZA Region has outlined various strategies for the year 2018. Fighting illegal fishing and narcotic drugs come on top of the list with reports indicating that the two vices are recurring in some areas.
The Regional Consultative Council (RCC) that met last week under the chairmanship of the Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr John Mongela, was told of massive incidents of illegal fishing that are going on despite control measures by security organs.
Reporting the incidences of rampant illegal fishing, the Sengerema District Commissioner (DC), Mr Emmanuel Kipole, called for a stiffer regional coordination in fighting the culprits who appear to be influential and well equipped.
He said that he had official reports that almost half of the fish bought by the fish processing plants in Mwanza are substandard and fished illegally using illegal fishing gear - a situation that is dangerous to health. The DC said he had implemented several actions against the practice, but tricky culprits easily sneak to other parts of the region.
Mr Kipole suggested tougher fines and legislative action against the malpractices, proposing also that illegal fishing be included in the list of economic sabotage offences. Showing how serious the matter was, the DC said that some of the culprits under the umbrella of the Regional Fishers Association have threatened to send him to court for his tireless efforts to block their evil activities.
“I have received a notice that the Association intend to drag me to court, but I am ready to face them wherever they go. We will continue impounding their gear and arresting them despite their tricks,” he said.
Despite the attempts to block him, the DC said he was now set to institute more measures including carrying out strict inspections of the fish consignments destined for the fish factories to check the quality of the products.
Another problem leading to the escalation of the matter was lack of harmonisation of standards of fishnets manufactured by the East African member states. For years, he said, there are concerns on the standardisation of fishnets between Tanzania and Uganda, with illegal fishers utilising that weakness by smuggling the inferior nets to Tanzania.