Na Jacquiline Mrisho – MAELEZO Wizara ya Ardhi, Nyumba na Maendeleo ya Makazi kwa mwaka…
Adela Madyane- Kigoma
More than 10 million people living along of lake Tanganyika shore in four countries of Burundi, Congo DRC, Zambia and Tanzania whose source of income depends on fisheries are on threat of losing their income due to expected prohibition of fishing activities within for three months from May 15th to August 15th 2023
Kigoma region has more than 200,000 fishermen in the fish and seafood value chain that will significantly undergo seasonal unemployment, and currently there are 11963 vessels in the lake
Speaking with journalist Juma Makongoro Zonal Officer In charge of Fishing Resources in Lake Tanganyika (ZOI) said the lake was expected to be suspended in order to preserve the ecosystem of the lake and its growth because of multiple challenges resulting from human activities and growth in population like illegal fishing.
He said if the four countries will manage to implement and manage the use of illegal fishing tools, it will reduce or completely end the problem of illegal fishing in Lake Tanganyika, which has been a problem for years and it is a main cause of fish destruction which goes against government laws and the fishing act of 2009 and the regulated fishing act of 2020 which forbids the use gill net
According to Global Nature Fund Lake Tanganyika was mentioned as the threatened lake of the year in 2017, the lake is home to over 1500 animal species
Speaking on the affects of the prohibition of fishing activities some fish exporters from Kibirizi fish market said if the government of Tanzania is also going to prohibit fishing activities many youth and women will remain unemployed which may result into an increase robbery and oother unethical income generating activities.
Asha Kamagaza is a manager from Lambati fish export LTD in Kibirizi, Kigoma, she said more than 150 youth will lose employment as well as more than 20 export companies will undergo bankrupt because they don’t have enough stock to fulfill the market demand
She elaborated that fishes are depended by many people both inside and outside the country which will affect them financially and lead to acts of robbery.
Adding on Jamilu Halfan from Mkuyu fish export said they got the information on closure of at the end of 2022 where were required to voice out our views and provide best solution for the closure without harming the community and that the government would educate them on how to sustain living without fish from January 2023, unfortunately they are now hearing the rumor of its closure without any prior information from the government.
He added that due to insufficient information they couldn’t prepare to save the stock and that if it happens the government agrees to the closure they will lose much income which might not be ease to overcome in the future.
On his side Joseph Kalibate fisherman for 35 years said if the government decides to prohibit the lake it will affect their total living in his family for he has got nothing else do apart from fishing and thus he asks the government to look for alternative means of protecting the lake rather than closing.
Shaban Mohhamed said the government should burn the use gillnet because their the main source of destruction of juvenile fish
Not only that, Abou Amos a motorcycle driver suggest that as Kigoma region has no industries and the lake is the only dependable source of income the government should look for the means that people would work on to fulfill on their basic needs and they should concentrate on the burning illegal fishing methods that affects the fishing while leaving the people to keep fish using vessels.
Again a Beatrice Oswad fish seller said what cost the government is the adoption new fishing nets, and ask the government to abolish the new fishing technologies but not closing the lake because their life depend on the lake and when the government insists on it there will emerge thieves and street children who will become beggars.
Ezenia Ntankwa fish seller said, she has been doing fishing business that have helped many women for ages in raising their children following the nature of Kigoma region which women are main household providers and that when they will lose their economy may result into prostitution and asks the government to provide other skills they would depend on to earn income.
Only Rehema Chanandi had a different opinion that if the government decision is to close the lake will be okay because what the fishermen currently get shows how destructed the lake is, for there are currently low fish turn-up, no good income and that if the closure will bring impact of fish increase it would better opt for that for telling that that it is better to suffer for few moment rather than a lifetime.
On his side Francis John, national vice chairperson of fisheries said the government should eliminate the use of ring net and gill nets for their mostly used in illegal fishing and source of destroying lake products and that only closing the lake without proper measures to combat the effects of illegal fishing is like wastage of time
Nevertheless Mzee Ally a chairperson of fisheries in Kigoma municipal said if the government decides to close the lake it will means suffering to people because as fishermen they depend on the lake for fulfilling family basic needs both meals, shelter, education, housing and clothing and asks the government to first put alternative ways like pond fishing so as they would proceed with fishing activities as usual.
Giving an example Athuman Ramadhan said once in 1980’s during the era of Late Julius Kambarage Nyerere the lake was closed for two months due to cholera eruption and that it caused horrible life to people and that he cant imagine how people will endure without fosh for three months and advice the government that before closing they have to discuss on the side effects
Currently the government of the government of Tanzania is awaited for a call to prohibit the lake as it was done by some of riparian countries like Burundi who announced the closure according to Burundi Times of February 23, 2023.
The closure of the lake Tanganyika is the result of an agreement made by expert of Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA) meeting of 2022 which was participated with all four countries who agreed that to preserve lake Tanganyika the fishing activities have to be suspended for consecutive three months
The Minister for Livestock and fisheries ministry of Tanzania Hon Abdallah Ulega yesterday announced that the government of Tanzania have taken all Member of Parliament and their voters apnion into consideration and they are not going to close the Lake until further notes
Ulega said in the Parliament that the ministry will use its experts to work on the MPs recommendations and comeup with the best way of Lake Tanganyika conservation for sustainable use