Tanzania plans to conduct an assessment of fish stocks in Lake Tanganyika, the second oldest freshwater lake in the world, an official told the country’s National Assembly on Friday.
Abdallah Ulega, the East African nation’s Deputy Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, said the assessment will be done by state-owned Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) in collaboration with neighbouring countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia and Burundi.
The last fish stock assessment in Lake Tanganyika was conducted in 1998 where there were only 295,000 tonnes of fish stocks, Ulega told the House in the capital Dodoma.
He was responding to a question posed by Kigoma Urban Member of Parliament, Zitto Kabwe, who had wanted to know why the government was restricting Tanzanian fishermen from conducting purse-seine fishing while their counterparts in Burundi, Zambia and DR Congo practiced it.
Kabwe wanted the government to speed up the fish stock assessment to allow big investors to establish fish processing factories.
The legislator also called for review of export levies as well as the number of licenses that fishers paid annually.
“Completion of the assessment will give us a clear picture of the stock of fish in the lake. Research findings will help us make decisions on whether to allow large scale commercial fishing in our waters,” said Ulega.
Ulega said his ministry will soon meet with stakeholders to discuss the various challenges facing the fishing industry in Tanzania.
Luhaga Mpina, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, said the government will issue the national fishing guidelines on July 1 this year aimed at helping to fight illegal fishing in all the lakes across the country.