Kalambo support suspension of fishing activities

RUKWA: RESIDENTS of Kalambo have expressed their support for the government’s decision to suspend fishing activities on Lake Tanganyika starting next month in order to boost the fish population.

Last November, Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Mr Alexander Mnyeti announced the suspension of fishing activities in Lake Tanganyika during a public rally held at Kasanga Ward along the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika in Kalambo District, Rukwa Region.

The suspension will last for three months starting on May 15th of this year, with the aim of addressing the declining fish population.

Mr Mnyeti, who was on a working tour of Kigoma, Katavi, and Rukwa regions to raise awareness about the importance of suspending fishing activities in Lake Tanganyika, said; “The fundamental reason is that the fish stocks in the water body have been dwindling for decades.”

He added that the suspension was a joint decision made by Tanzania and its neighbouring countries Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

Following the decision, citizens and fishery stakeholders in Rukwa Region have shown their support, believing that the move will help increase the fish population which has been declining.

During a meeting held yesterday in Kalambo District to raise awareness about the importance of suspending fishing activities on the lake, councillors from Kalambo District Council expressed their positive reception of the government’s decision by fishermen and fishery stakeholders.

The meeting, attended by councillors, ward executive officers, and political party leaders, saw councillors Peter Simuyemba, Juma Kibongwe, and Leopard Mbita from Sundu, Samazi and Kasanga wards affirming that citizens have already begun using alternative methods to preserve fish for consumption during the suspension period.

Mr Mbita explained, “Also, fishermen are prepared to continue fishing activities in rivers, dams and satellite lakes.”

Kalambo District Commissioner Mr Lazaro Komba urged leaders to continue educating the community on the significance of suspending fishing activities in Lake Tanganyika.

Lake Tanganyika, known as the African Great Lake and the deepest lake in Africa, holds the title of the world’s longest freshwater lake.

In 2017, the Global Nature Fund identified Lake Tanganyika as the “most threatened” lake of the year, attributing overfishing, pollution, and climate change as factors affecting the fish population.

Chief Fisheries Officer from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Ambakisye Simtoe shared that a survey conducted by Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) in 2022 estimated the population of ‘migebuka’ and sardines in Lake Tanganyika on the Tanzanian side to be 144,690 tonnes, showing an 8 per cent decline from the 1995 population of 157,493 tonnes.

Lake Tanganyika, the second oldest freshwater lake and second-largest by volume, is also the second-deepest lake globally, after Lake Baikal in Siberia.

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