Illegal fishing still rampant in Zanzibar

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A fisherman off the coast of Zanzibar [File photo by Chen Boyuan /]
A fisherman off the coast of Zanzibar [File photo by Chen Boyuan /]

The unabated destructive practice of dynamite, the use of gun and spear fishing are still widely practiced by unscrupulous fishermen in the Tanzania's semi autonomous Zanzibar archipelago, a senior official said Sunday.

Reports say that fish stock has been declining in Zanzibar sea waters due to the use of unfriendly fishing gears.

Hamad Rashid Mohamed, Zanzibar Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Natural Resources said: "I am aware of the new challenge and we've launched investigation on the matter and the report will be available as soon as possible."

"Illegal fishing is threatening the fisheries sector in Zanzibar, which employs a large number of Zanzibaris," the minister said.

He noted that his ministry has launched investigation over the claims that illegal fishing is rampant in Zanzibar waters.

"We have also received complaints from Tanzania Mainland over the rampant use of illegal fishing gears in our waters," he said.

In total, the number of fishermen is currently estimated at 34,500.

Ali Waali, one of the small-scale fishermen in isles, said that the situation has led to the decline of fish stock on the Indian Ocean coastline of Zanzibar.

Waali blamed some of the foreign fisheries companies for fueling illegal fishing in Zanzibar waters.

He also said that some of the fishermen have been using guns and spears for the last three years something which is contrary to Zanzibar Fisheries Act, 2010.

"Fish in shallow water have been moving into deep sea due to environmental degradation caused by unfriendly fishing gears, which kill breeding sites," he said.

He added that the situation has been affecting small-scale fishermen who are unable to fish in deep sea because of poor fishing vessels.

"In the past, we used to get three to four buckets of fish but now less than a bucket," said Ali, noting that guns and spears are applied openly and no actions are taken to address the vice.

Ali called upon Zanzibar government to address the situation facing the fisheries sector in the spices islands of Zanzibar.

"If left unattended the situation will turn worse as small-scale fishermen will start fighting with foreign investors," he said.


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