DAYS are numbered for crooks who conduct illegal maritime activities, including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, trafficking and smuggling through the country’s waters.
The government says it’s determined to enhance maritime security and safety for the country’s social and economic interests.
Under the auspices of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the government through the planned Tackling Illegal Maritime Activities project will establish inter-agency coordination mechanism to address illegal maritime activities.
Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office for Policy and Coordination Dorothy Mwaluko noted here over the weekend that the government was currently seeking an ideal approach to execute the UNDP-funded project, which will be launched soon.
“Permanent secretaries from the ministries, which will take part in the project will soon meet to deliberate on the best approach to execute the envisaged project,” Ms Mwaluko said at a joint meeting with UNDP delegation.
Chaired by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the 900,000 US dollar (over 2bn/-) project will involve the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government; Vice-President Office, the Second Vice-President Office of Zanzibar, Finance and Planning Ministry and Home Affairs Ministry.
Other ministries which will participate in the project include livestock and fisheries development, works, transport and communication as well as ministry for tourism and natural resources.
Presenting the proposed project before the joint meeting, UNDP’s Pillar Lead Inclusive Growth, Mr Ernest Salla, said the project which will also involve a number of authorities and enhance maritime surveillance through provision of training and speedboats.
Among the authorities, which will participate in the project are Tanzania Revenue Authority, Tanzania Port Authority, Tanzania Fisheries Corporation, Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau, Drug Control and Enforcement Authority and Tanzania National Parks Authority.
Mr Salla informed that the major aim of the project is to support the government in establishing an overarching and comprehensive coordinating mechanism to oversee national maritime safety and security activities, leading to enhanced response to increasing IUU fishing, maritime pollution and trafficking.
“The project will also contribute to the economic security of coastal communities through empowerment on sustainable resource users in artisanal fishery through use of improved technologies and practices,” he said.
Mr Salla observed that threats from maritime crimes like IUU fishing, trafficking and smuggling have existed in the country and there has been, over the past year, an unexpected rapid increase in illegal activities at both the Ocean and lakes.
“This has led to severe fish stock depletion, resulting from undermined management plans to recover overexploited stocks and subsequently threatening food security,” he said.
Global losses to IUU fishing have been estimated at between 10 and 23.5 billion US dollars annually, equivalent to 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish per year.
Mr Salla said with ongoing depletion of fish stock in Tanzanian seas, importation of fish has increased, saying Tanzania produces about 336,821 tonnes of fish per year, against the demand of 731,000 tonnes. “Tanzania imports about 24,000 tonnes of fish worth.