New policy to spur Z’bar blue economy

THE Zanzibar government has initiated a process to formulate a new fisheries policy which is expected to boost production, exports, and job creation in fishery resources.

This was revealed by the Zanzibar’s Chief Secretary Eng Zena Ahmed Said, who pointed out that the policy will be a milestone in implementation of the Blue Economy agenda in the Isles.

Eng Said made the remarks at the opening of the forum for Zanzibar’s Permanent/Principal Secretaries and their deputies to discuss the fisheries draft policy.

“Be free to discuss and give views to the proposed new policy. You can continue giving opinions at any planned stakeholders’ forum, because we aim at having a comprehensive policy,” she said.

Eng Said asserted that the new fisheries policy would potentially transform the sector as stipulated in the Blue Economy agenda.

The agenda focuses on promoting sustainable fisheries and observing the regional, continental and international agreements like the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs.14).

“The new policy is aimed at boosting government revenues from the fisheries sector. The government moves to regulate fisheries in a belief that it will increase the ability to meet social and economic needs,” she said.

This will be the first time ever for Zanzibar to have an ‘independent’ Fisheries Policy.

Currently, matters related to fish development are contained in the Agricultural policy.

The Chief Secretary welcomed comments from stakeholders so as to have a participatory and comprehensive policy document for the large and diverse fisheries sector of the Islands.

She also thanked development partners led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for offering technical and financial support that will enable Zanzibar to have the policy.

Researchers say that the fisheries sector plays an important role in building a strong national economy by increasing household food security, income and employment opportunities while nurturing the fisheries resources.

But, despite its importance, the fisheries sector faces several challenges including sustainable fisheries resource management and utilisation; processing and marketing; aquaculture development and quality control.

Mr Godfrey Nyamrunda, Deputy UNDP representative in Zanzibar, promised to maintain good relations with Zanzibar government at this time of implementing the blue economy agenda which aims at attaining food security, poverty reduction, increased national income and hence increased contribution to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Blue Economy and Fisheries Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Aboud Jumbe said the ongoing initiatives by President Hussein Ali Mwinyi to develop the fisheries sector necessitate the formulation of new fisheries policy.

He mentioned some achievements recorded within two years of Dr Mwinyi’s presidency as purchasing of fishing vessels with support from IFAD, a new project for fisheries and marine resources development supported by the World bank, and the ‘Blue economy program’ by the UNDP.

He said using the IMF Covid-19 relief Fund, Zanzibar allocated 36.5bn/- to improve fisheries including purchasing of fishing boats, and equipment for seaweed farmers and fish farmers.

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