New era for Tanzania fisheries sector

…New Fishing Port promises 30,000 jobs in Kilwa Masoko

LINDI : IN a bold move highlighting Tanzania’s commitment to development, the sixth phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan has embarked on a massive investment project in the fisheries sector.

“Tomorrow, is the day when President Samia, will write a new chapter in the fisheries sector by launching the construction of the Kilwa Masoko Fishing Port,” Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Abdalla Ulega said.

He said the initiative aims to significantly boost the fishing sector and reshape the landscape of Tanzanian fisheries.

“The construction of the fishing port will create employment for over 30,000 Tanzanians and introduce new technology, knowledge and expertise,” said Ulega. Additionally, it’s estimated that the fishing industry in Tanzania employs over five (5) million people, including fishermen, boat repairers, net sewers and small-scale fish traders, further emphasising the importance of such an initiative.

Minister Ulega noted: “We are creating a new chapter in our nation’s development.”

He said the government’s vision for the fisheries sector is comprehensive; aimed to increase its contribution to the national GDP from the current 1.8 per cent to 10 per cent by 2036.

This ambitious vision is evident in the budget allocation. “For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, the ministry has been granted a total of 295bn/-, a remarkable increase from the previous year’s 176bn/- budget,” Ulega shared. This level of investment reveals the unwavering commitment of President Samia’s administration to ensure sustainable growth in sectors like fisheries and livestock.

He said another feather in the cap is the introduction of modern fishing boats, equipped with advanced GPS and Fish finder technology, which will be instrumental in guiding fishermen to abundant fishing zones. These boats, which range from five (5) to 14 metres in size, will have a storage capacity of up to 1.5 tonnes, depending on the size.

In a commendable effort to promote gender inclusivity, special provisions have been made for women, particularly seaweed farmers. They will be provided with five-metre boats to ease their farming operations.

Ulega emphasised the transparency of the initiative. “A public announcement will detail the criteria for fishermen and stakeholders involved in the fisheries value chain to benefit from these resources,” he said. The beneficiaries will be verified at the village and council levels to ensure that genuine stakeholders reap the benefits.

The Minister said President Samia is not just focused on investment in the infrastructure, but wants to see socio-economic development for all Tanzanians.

The minister said that the fisheries sector is one of the most important sectors in the Tanzanian economy, providing food security, employment and income for millions of people.

The minister said the president was aware that the fisheries sector is even more important to coastal communities in Tanzania. “For many of these communities, fishing is the primary source of income and food. Harnessing the boundless potential of capture fisheries and aquaculture is our pledge, promising jobs, wealth and food security for our people. Our goal is clear: To elevate these subsectors as pillars of our nation’s economic growth.” Minister Ulega said.

“The Fisheries Sector Master Plan (2021/22–2036/37) is more than just a document; it’s our roadmap. Using the treasures of our waters, we’re aiming for job creation, food security and an economic renaissance powered by capture fisheries and aquaculture,” he pointed out.

Tanzania’s Fisheries Sector Master Plan (2021/22–2036/37) is an ambitious blueprint that aims to reshape and invigorate the country’s fisheries landscape. Central to its vision is a significant increase in total fish production, with a goal to escalate figures from the current 479,311 tonnes to a staggering 1 million tonnes by 2037. In parallel, the plan seeks to amplify the role of aquaculture in the sector, aiming to expand its contribution from the present 4 per cent of total fish production to an impressive 20 per cent.

Recognising the pitfalls in the existing supply chain, efforts are directed to curtail post-harvest losses from a concerning 25 per cent to a more manageable 15 per cent.

Furthermore, with an eye on global markets, there is a strategic move to quintuple the value of fish exports from 100 million US dollars to a robust 500 million US dollars. Beyond the economic implications, the master plan also carries the promise of socio-economic upliftment, aiming to create a substantial 1 million new job opportunities within the sector.

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