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Authorities in Muleba impound illegal fishing gear worth 1.25bn/-

Authorities in Muleba impound illegal fishing gear worth 1.25bn/-

AUTHORITIES in Muleba District of Kagera region have impounded various illegal fishing gears worth 1.25bn/-, while 34 suspects were helping police in the investigations, it has been disclosed.

Muleba District Commissioner (DC),  MrToba Nguvila explained that the illegal fishing gears were impounded during an operation mounted along Lake Victoria and Lake Burigi.

“People have been sensitised to understand that the Lake Victoria resources belong to them. Residents in villages surrounding the Lake Victoria have mounted surveillance, leading to the arrest of the fishing gears including undersized nets and the 34 suspects,” he said.

A few weeks ago, authorities in Muleba District impounded a consignment of Nile Perch fish that was being smuggled. Several suspects were helping in police investigations and they will be arraigned in court when investigations are completed,” he said.

He explained that surveillance teams were on the alert to ensure that the government does not lose any revenue due to smuggling.

Meanwhile, Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Professor Faustin Kamuzora explained that revenue collections from fisheries resources increased from 1,042,486,115/- during 2015/2016, to 3,139,722,518/- during 2020/2021.

He cited concerted efforts taken to include surveillance on Lake Victoria and discouraging the use of banned gears.

“During the same period, different banned gears including undersized nets were confiscated and destroyed, while immature fish weighing 2,289 kilogrammes worth 175.5m/- were impounded.

Nile perch, which is the most commercially viable, should not be harvested until it is 50cm long or weighing 2kgs,” he said.

The Deputy Minister for Works and Transport, Mwita Waitara, recently toured Kagera Region, where he announced that the government is in the process to legalise a total of 693 unofficial ports in the country in a bid to improve marine transport, curb narcotic drugs and unlicensed firearms.

He explained that the strategy is also meant to facilitate movement of goods and services besides increasing revenue collections.

It is said at least 348 of the 693 unofficial ports, almost 50 per cent, are on Lake Victoria which is surrounded by Kagera, Mwanza, Simiyu, Geita and Mara regions.

He revealed that at least 24 unofficial ports will be formalised during this financial year. He directed the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), to revisit all levies charged at various ports, to enable the government to come up with realistic charges.

The East African Community has designated the Lake Victoria basin as an ‘economic growth zone’, with the potential to develop into a major economic region.

The fisheries are vital in creating employment opportunities, mostly rural-based, thereby helping to reduce rural-urban migration. Fish is also a rich source of animal protein for human consumption and provides raw material (fishmeal) for processing animal feeds.

The fish industry contributes to GDP and has continued to be an important source of foreign exchange earned from fish exports. Besides, the fish industry contributes to the national and local government revenues through levying of various taxes, levies and licence fees.

The sector has also contributed directly and indirectly to the improvement of physical infrastructure and social facilities, such as roads, schools and hospitals, particularly in remote fishing communities.

Based on current stock estimates, the lake has the potential to yield fish valued at over US$ 800 million annually on a sustainable basis. Further processing and marketing the fish in the local and export markets could provide opportunity to generate additional earnings.

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Author: MEDDY MULISA in Bukoba

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