Monday, 28 March 2011

Lake Victoria fishermen loaned modern boats

From IPPMedia/The Guardian, Dar es Salaam
By Cosmas Mlekani

Fishermen in Lake Victoria have been advised to undertake good fishing practices in order to make fishing activities in the lake sustainable.

This was said recently by Mwanza regional fisheries officer Angelus Mahatane at the launch of modern fishing boats that will be given to fishermen on a loan basis.

He warned that statistics had shown that the Nile Perch was disappearing at an alarming rate from the lake, whereby by the year 2000, there was a total of 1.3 tonnes of them but by February 2010 only 366,000 tonnes remained.

He said Lake Victoria was very important for the Tanzanian economy because of the numerous activities that go on in and around the lake.

He said the decline in fish stocks caused some unfaithful fishermen to use illegal fishing gear in conducting their activities, thus rendering the fishing industry unsustainable.

He said the boats loaned out to small fishermen would help them change from the use of locally made fishing gear to modern ones and therefore, improve their efficiency.

Mahatane said that out of 26,983 fishing boats only 8,081 were using engines in Mwanza, Kagera and Mara regions, equivalent to only 30 per cent. Mara region has a total of 1,209 fishing boats with engines; Mwanza has 4,691 out of 14,166 and Kagera has 2,181 out of 6,683.

For his part, Quality Motors manager Theshadri Madhusodha, whose company supplied the boats, said the purpose was to give the boats to small fishermen as loans so that the latter would improve their efficiency and let their businesses grow.

He said his company decided to venture into competition after realizing that if small fishermen were empowered, they could perform better.

For her part, assistant regional administrative officer Isabella Mariki said the boats would boost the fishermen’s businesses and therefore, the economy of the Lake Zone.

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