Tanzania, The Gambia boost fight against IUU fishing
Tanzania is reviewing its fishing laws with the goal of strengthening them and making them more accessible to stakeholders in the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Tanzanian Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Mashimba Ndaki said the new government of Tanzania President Suluhu Hassan is determined to tighten current fishing industry regulations to avert revenue losses caused by illegal fishing.
"Unfortunately, there are still dishonest and greedy fishermen in the country who are helping aliens to smuggle fish and other products outside the country, as well as engaging in fishing using prohibited fishing gear," Ndaki said, the Daily News reported.
Ndaki said local seafood stakeholders colluding with foreigners to perpetrate IUU fishing “will face the full wrath of laws, because government machinery is capable of tracking them."
The country also plans on translating its fisheries laws from English to the country’s national language of Swahili to make them more accessible.
Tanzania, which currently produces an estimated 390,000 metric tons (MT) of fish from both marine and inland fishing. The government hopes to increase fish production to at least 714,000 MT to make it possible for the country to achieve its per-capita fish consumption target of 10.5 kilograms, up from its current consumption level of 8.5 kilograms per capita.
Ndaki said the review will seek to seal loopholes that enable IUU fishers to collude with foreign actors in the smuggling of fishery products. Tanzania has reported the presence of foreign fishing vessels could also be linked to the transportation of migrants.
Meanwhile, The Gambia’s fight against IUU has received a major boost after the European Union, under its sectoral support program, launched a formal training program for its fishery observers.
In July 2019, The Gambia signed a six-year sustainable fisheries partnership agreement with the European Union setting out fishing opportunities for E.U. vessels in exchange for financial compensation, along with support to the fishing sector of The Gambia. The E.U. said the fisheries agreement allows its vessels from Spain, Greece, and France to fish in Gambian waters, and is part of the tuna network fisheries agreements in West Africa.
Under the agreement, which expires in July 2025, The Gambia will receive a financial contribution of EUR 550,000 (USD 644,224) from the E.U. annually for each of the six years. A portion of the contribution, EUR 275,000 (USD 322,112), will be channeled to support the Gambia’s fisheries policy. That support is likely to include building capacity for the country’s fisheries’ monitoring, control, and surveillance as part of the wider efforts to eradicate IUU fishing across the West African coast.
Photo courtesy of Friends of Rural Tanzanians