RPCs join forces to fight illegal fishing

POLICE commanders from Western Zone Regions have together and jointly called on fishermen to refrain from illegal fishing activities on Lake Tanganyika and Lake Rukwa.

They emphasized that such activities have huge impact on the economy, natural resources and environment, such as decline in fish production.

The three RPCs are Mr Shadrack Masija (Rukwa) Mr Philemon Makungu (Kigoma) and Mr Alli Makame (Katavi).

They insisted that fishermen should support the government’s efforts in protecting water bodies for the three regions to enable the country benefit more from the blue economy.

The RPCs met recently in Mpanda municipality with various fishery stakeholders and institutions to evaluate and set strategies on curbing illegal fishing activities on Lake Tanganyika.

The meeting was under the chairmanship of Katavi Regional Commissioner (RC), Ms Mwanamvua Mrindoko.

Equally, RC Ms Mridoko directed government executives and other stakeholders to ensure that they contain illegal fishing practices in their respective precincts.

“Ending illegal fishing is a must in efforts to scale up the economic growth,” she said.

She further emphasized that the task of curbing illegal fishing must be overseen by leaders from the region to village levels, stressing that illegal fishing can be contained if all people engaged in the sector adhere to the laws, policies and regulations.

Ms Mrindoko underscored that regular meetings to remind fishermen on sustainable fishing, the use of authorized fishing equipment, regular patrols by marine officers and environmental conservation are crucial in containing illegal fishing.

“Illegal fishing such as the use of monofilament nets, 90 watts’ battery and solar powered bulbs which emit intense heat radiation and harvesting fish below six inches affect the fishery sector,” noted the RC.

Latest statistics show that currently the fisheries sector contributes 18 percent of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with five million people employed in the sector,

Initially, Commissioner of Police Operation and Training, Mr Juma Haji briefed the RC that such meetings which are convened after six months have helped to make illegal fishing to decline considerably on Lakes Tanganyika and Rukwa and other water bodies in the country.

CP, Mr Haji mentioned challenges including some of the officers being involved in soliciting and receiving bribes from perpetrators as well as leaking strategies set by the force in containing illegal fishing activities and failing to deal effectively with cases related to illegal fishing activities.

In the same vein, CP Haji warned all those who are engaging in criminal activities, including stealing of fishing nets, canoes and illegal fishing to refrain with immediate effect, short of which they will face the wrath of the law.

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