USAID increases funding for Heshimu Bahari project

DAR ES SALAAM: THE US Agency for International Development (USAID) has increased funding for the Heshimu Bahari project from 13 million US dollars (about 32.5bn/-) to 25 million US dollars (62.5bn/-) in further strengthening conservation efforts around areas important for marine biodiversity and climate adaptation across Tanzania.

Such expansion follows the discussion between the US Embassy in Tanzania and ministries responsible for Blue Economy and Fisheries in Zanzibar and Mainland early this year on the 5-year US supported project.

USAID Mission Director in Tanzania, Mr Craig Hart disclosed this during a press conference held on the sidelines of an event to mark the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) 40th year anniversary held in Dar es Salaam, on Thursday.

Mr Hart noted that the expansion funding will extend the activity’s geographic coverage extending south Coast of the mainland from Dar es Salaam, through Lindi to Mtwara covering the marine management areas network of Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve System, Mafia Kilwa Seascape and Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park.

“This geographical and funding expansion means extension of the number of fisheries replenishment zones to be established, area of biologically significant area conserved, more enhanced livelihoods to communities with special emphasis on gender and youth and capacity building,” said Mr Hart.

Besides, the funding expansion will support addressing the pressing community climate resilience and support the government efforts in addressing overfishing and illegal, unintended, and unregulated fishing.

Being implemented in collaboration with the government through the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries, he noted among other parties featured in the project including local communities, academia, private sector and among other interests.

According to him, the tourists that come to Tanzania are very interested and impressed with the wonderful oceans and blue water of Tanzania, therefore the project seeks to see how the private sector can be incorporated in making sure there is good management of biodiversity.

On the other hand, the fishers will be taken through on different priorities both in terms of fresh and salt waters that is why the best ways to manage those fisheries is crucial.

“USAID is helping to inform and have a good conversation about what exactly is needed in terms of the technical assistance to ensure that fish that exist today can be expanded tomorrow,” noted Mr Hart.

During a visit to Zanzibar, He got here from the fishers’ struggle with the number of fish that they were catching, realising the importance of these zones whereby the management of fisheries can improve and give them the type of information needed to ensure there is good management of tomorrow’s catch.

Also, the issue of blast fishing which has horrible repercussions across the board, thus the goal is to ensure they are turning away from the practices by working with the government to make sure the information flow is available. The goal is to ensure blast fishing is being put to an end.

“We want to ensure that issues of climate change, gender are taken into account for many women and youth rely on fisheries activities including sea weed…to be able to dedicate specific areas where fish can replenish themselves,” he said.

For his part, the Director General of the Zanzibar Fisheries and Marine Resource Research Institute, Dr Zakaria Khamis observed that the goal is to ensure marine resources benefit the people of Zanzibar.

“The increase in financing will in increasing the coverage of the project for Zanzibar possess a lot of marine conservation areas, therefore the goal being to ensure fish are not lost due to good management of the ocean,” stated Dr Khamis.

He noted that with the previous financing they envisioned expanding to Pemba. The increased funding can lead to an extension of the project in East Unguja by improving the ecology.

Such will see to it that the fisheries replenishment zones are further improved to better fish breeds and further improve the fisheries sector. The foundation of the blue economy overly relies on conservation in boosting tourism and other linked sectors.

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